A PATHOLOGIST investigating the alleged attempted murder of a 92-year-old woman found no evidence she had been suffocated, a court heard. 

Former Mayor of Winchester David McLean,72, is currently on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with attacking his mother Margaret McLean at her home in Waltham Chase.

Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Basil Purdue told the court, on Tuesday, May 7, that Mrs McLean died from a severe and widespread chest infection. 

Before Dr Purdue gave evidence, the defence barrister Sarah Jones KC informed the judge Mrs Justice McGowan that McLean did not want to remain in the dock as he found it 'upsetting'.

Speaking to the jury, Mrs McGowan said: “If there are parts in the evidence which are difficult for the defendant to listen to, with my permission they can leave.”

Hampshire Chronicle: David McLean

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Jodie Mittell, prosecuting, asked Dr Purdue if he had been told any of the circumstances of Mrs McLean's death before examining the body. He told the court that he had been informed of the 111 call McLean had made when he confessed to the alleged attempted murder. 

Dr Purdue said that the cause of death was bronchopneumonia due to immobilisation, old age and general frailty. He added that a contributing factor was 'heart valve disease'. 

Dr Purdue said: “Mrs McLean was suffering from a severe and widespread chest infection which could have, on its own, caused her death. 

“It would have been a cause for her difficulty in breathing in the last days of her life.”

He added: “There was no pathological evidence to confirm suffocation of any kind. But it should be acknowledged it's possible to suffocate an old person without leaving evidence. 

“There was no evidence that Margaret McLean had been a victim of an attack before she died.”

Ms Jones said: “In any case Margaret McLean was going to die in a very short space of time, whatever may have happened on the night in question.” Dr Purdue agreed. 

McLean denies the charge. The trial continues.