Steven McMyler murder trial: Fatal kick rendered victim unconscious 'immediately', court hears

A Wigan dad who was fatally kicked in the head in a churchyard would have been rendered unconscious immediately, a murder trial has heard.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:02 pm

Steven McMyler died on the evening of August 6 in the gardens of Wigan Parish Church. It is alleged that he was the victim of a plot to rob him of his expensive gold watch.

Today (April 26) at Manchester Crown Square, jurors in Mr McMyler’s murder trial heard evidence that the 34-year-old was kicked with a “substantial level of force” which would have knocked him unconscious quickly and caused his death within minutes.

Professor Philip Lumb, a forensic pathologist who carried out Mr McMyler’s post-mortem examination, said: “I have seen CCTV footage with regards to a blow to the head, a kick. This caused immediate collapse and it’s very likely that death followed within minutes.”

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Steven McMyler

Prof Lumb said the kick would have sent a “shockwave” through Mr McMyler’s brain, interfering with functions such as heartbeat and breathing, causing cardiac and respiratory arrest. He added that, in falling unconscious, there was the possibility of him choking on his own tongue or stomach contents.

“He likely went into cardiac arrest very quickly following the blow and then survival would be a matter of minutes in general terms,” Prof Lumb said, adding: “The typical commotio cerebri (concussion), the mechanism of death, typically would cause someone to be unconscious immediately.”

Dr Daniel Du Plessis, a neuropathologist who examined Mr McMyler’s brain following his death, said bruises found on the brain indicated “significant blunt force brain trauma” had occurred.

“To cause small blood vessels to rupture in the brain would require a reasonably substantial level of force,” said Dr Du Plessis.

Floral tributes to Mr McMyler in Wigan Parish Church gardens

Prosecuting, Mr Mark Ford QC said: “In short, that kick to the head killed him,” to which Dr Du Plessis responded: “Yes.”

Alcohol, cocaine and diazepam were found in Mr McMyler’s system but would not have contributed to his death, the court was told.

The jury had earlier heard from Detective Sergeant Heidi Cullen, the officer supervising the investigation.

She said attempts were made to identify a male who was in the church gardens at the time of the attack. CCTV images of the potential witness were circulated among local officers, as well as a press appeal, but the person was never identified.

Peake, 30, of James Street, Little Lever, Bolton; Michael Wilson, 20, of Northfield Close, Kirkby, and two youths, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all deny murder, an alternative count of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob.

Jordan Short, 20, of Rushey Hey Road, Kirkby, will face court at a later date due to illness. He denies the same charges.

The trial continues on Tuesday April 27.

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