Court told woman was beaten and stabbed

First published in Oxford by

JURORS were told to brace themselves before they were shown gruesome images taken in the aftermath of the horrific murder of a grandmother.

The nine men and three women heard how Jennifer Hume was hit with a rounders bat and repeatedly stabbed.

When the 55-year-old’s body was found, a knife was embedded in her head and the bedroom had been splattered with blood.

The jury was told Ms Hume had been battered around the head but a pathologist was unable to say how many times she was struck.

Stewart Dale was said to have launched the frenzied attack at his static home in Prospect Park, Horspath.

Pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl told the jury in his view it was a “sustained and ferocious assault.”

He said: “One does not see this level of damage in a small level of blows. More often than not in fatal cases of blunt force trauma to the head you are able to identify individual injuries as specific blows, but in this case there is such destruction one cannot.”

Dr Fegan-Earl said that he was in no doubt “severe force” had been used and the victim would have been rendered unconscious rapidly.

Earlier the jury had been warned that they would be shown images of the room where Ms Hume’s body was discovered.

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Forensic scientist Deborah Hopwood said that the blood had travelled out of the master bedroom where Ms Hume was found, into the corridor, across the corridor floor and into the spare bedroom and onto the far wall in this room.

“In my opinion Mrs Hume was subjected to a sustained physical assault with repeated blows,” said Mrs Hopwood.

Earlier the jury had heard from Stephen Jordan, a neighbour who was awoken by the bloodsoaked defendant in the early hours of May 18 this year. He told the court: “Well, he is stood there just below my step and he informs me he had a woman at his house and he thinks that he has killed her.

“I asked him if he was pulling my leg and she was still alive, but he said ‘no’.”

Dale, 28, and the grandmother had been drinking with others at Oxford city centre pubs The Chequers and The Swan and Castle on May 17 and had taken her back to his mobile home.

He later told police “she deserved it” and he had enjoyed trying to make “as much damage as possible.”

Dale has admitted killing the middle-aged woman, but denies murder.

He claims that he suffered from a loss of control after she grabbed his private parts when he was too drunk to have sex.

The defendant of Prospect Park, Horspath, Oxon, was flanked by four security guards as he listened to the case against him.

The trial continues.

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