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Barmaid India Chipchase had bruises typical of assault, murder trial told

Published 21/07/2016

India Chipchase, who was allegedly raped and murdered by Edward Tenniswood (Northamptonshire Police/PA)
India Chipchase, who was allegedly raped and murdered by Edward Tenniswood (Northamptonshire Police/PA)

A barmaid who was raped and murdered after a night out with friends had a catalogue of bruises "typical of inflicted injury", a court has heard.

The body of India Chipchase was discovered lying on a mattress on the floor covered by a sheet in the bedroom of book-keeper Edward Tenniswood's rented home on Sunday January 31.

Ms Chipchase, who prosecutors say was "raped and throttled" by Tenniswood, was covered in 33 separate, recent injuries although some marks on her legs and arms were said to have potentially come from a drunken fall.

However, Home Office pathologist Dr Michael Biggs said there was "blunt force trauma to the face, head and neck" of the 20-year-old victim, as well as marks from compression of the neck.

On the third day of 52-year-old Tenniswood's trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Dr Biggs said: "It is typical of inflicted injury , or otherwise an assault.

"It is not typical of self-inflicted or accidental causation such as a fall."

Lab tests found that Ms Chipchase had an amount of alcohol equivalent to nearly three times the drink-drive limit at the time of death but was otherwise fit and healthy.

On the night of Friday January 29, she had gone out drinking with friends to NB's nightclub in Northampton, but got separated and ended up outside the front entrance at about 1am on Saturday.

CCTV footage shows what the Crown says is Tenniswood coming across Ms Chipchase before he "led, steered or escorted" her to a cab, and then back at his Stanley Road home raped and killed the young woman.

The jury has already been told by the prosecution that Tenniswood will claim the sex was consensual and that her death was "an accident".

Dr Biggs confirmed the cause of death as "pressure on the neck sufficient to block the blood flow to the brain".

He added that once a person was unconscious death could follow "in a small number of minutes" if blood and oxygen to the brain was not restored.

Ms Chipchase had a "congested" face and neck , including "pin-prick haemorrhages" across a 14cm by 11cm area of her forehead where "very small blood vessels ruptured", and a bruise to her temple.

She had also sustained a deep 4cm bruise to her left cheek, going into the facial muscle, a cut and deep bruising to her right ear, and a laceration on her lip with bruising to the tongue.

The victim also had abrasions and bruises to either side of her neck.

Among her injuries were "grip" marks on her arms and bruises to both her hips and legs.

However, the doctor said it was impossible to rule out Ms Chipchase having sustained these wounds during a drunken fall she was seen on CCTV to have taken while still inside the nightclub.

Dr Biggs also examined photos of injuries found on Tenniswood after his arrest at a Northampton hotel in Sunday afternoon, including "a friction or carpet-burn type injury" on his left knee, and scratches on his arm and neck "typical of fingernail marks".

The Crown's case is that Tenniswood "spotted" Ms Chipchase outside the club, where she was described as "unsteady on her feet" by witnesses, and spoke to her before taking her to his rented terrace house.

Opening the case on Tuesday, Christopher Donnellan QC said: "He was overheard by others to say, 'not to worry', and he'd get her home safe - he didn't."

When police broke down the door of Tenniswood's house on Sunday evening they found the victim in an upstairs front bedroom.

Prosecutors said there was evidence Ms Chipchase put up a struggle against her alleged attacker, with Tenniswood's blood under one of her fingernails.

Suggesting a possible motive on Tuesday, Mr Donnellan said: "It is very likely his motive was sexual and when she resisted him he was determined to have sex and he grabbed her around the throat and squeezed.

"He held her until she was unable to resist anymore."

Tenniswood denies the charges and the trial continues.

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