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Pathologist: Hotel worker suffered neck fracture days before death

Pathologist: Hotel worker suffered neck fracture days before death

Friday 08 March 2019

Pathologist: Hotel worker suffered neck fracture days before death

A 37-year-old hotel worker, whose body was found on a beach last year, suffered a fracture consistent with “direct pressure” being applied to the throat just days before she died.

The findings came from a pathologist tasked with examining samples from Zsuszanna Besenyei's body during the fifth day of the trial of Jamie Lee Warn (55), who denies murdering her and perverting the course of justice.

The prosecution claims the 55-year-old was having a secret sexual relationship with Miss Besenyei before killing her and hiding her in the boot of a car and dumping her on a beach at low tide

Op_Duke_-_car Zsuzsanna Besenyei

Pictured: Zsuszanna Besenyei's car was abandoned near La Haule slip in May of last year.

Having previously heard from Miss Besenyei's ex-boyfriend, who tried to restart their relationship in the week before her death; a man from whom she sub-let a flat, who received an "odd" text from Miss Besenyei's phone the day after she is believed to have died; and a supermarket worker who believes to have seen Mr Warn purchasing anti-bacterial hand gel, among others, today the six women and six men of the jury heard testimony from two 'expert' witnesses.

Called by the prosecution, the first pathologist explained that, on examining a bone and cartilage sample from Miss Besenyei’s larynx, he found “a crack in the… bone part of the larynx.”

Indicating where this “fracture” was located on Miss Besenyei by pointing to his own neck, the pathologist said that it was found “deep in the neck, at the back of the voice box.”

By examining the progression of the healing process was, the pathologist explained that “it’s possible to give an estimate how soon before death” the fracture occurred, adding that he estimated Miss Besenyei had sustained the fracture “between one and four days before the lady’s death… most likely two or three [days].”

Answering a question from Crown Advocate Simon Thomas - co-counsel for the prosecution with Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit - about how Miss Besenyei might have endured this fracture to her larynx, the pathologist said: “This is a direct pressure applying to that area… for example the gripping of the neck.”


Pictured: An 'expert' witness for the prosecution has told the Court that Miss Besenyei suffered a fracture to her neck days before she died.

The ‘expert’ witness added that a fracture of this nature “does not directly cause death” but that “it’s a sign of that kind of trauma to the neck." 

During cross-examination, the pathologist reiterated that the injury “indicates a traumatic event, not a cause of death.”

Responding to questions from Mr Warn’s lawyer, Advocate James Bell, the pathologist confirmed that during his analysis of the samples he found no other injury to the rest of Miss Besenyei’s neck. 

The jury have also heard the beginning of Dr Russell Delaney’s testimony, the Forensic Pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on Miss Besenyei after her body was recovered from Stinky Bay in May of last year.

Answering questions from Crown Advocate Thomas, Dr Delaney took the jury through individual parts of Miss Besenyei’s body which he examined during the post-mortem. 


Pictured: The case is being heard in the Royal Court.

So far during his evidence, Dr Delaney has explained that discolouration on Miss Besenyei’s face and torso could be explained by the body being in a “head down position or a face down position for a period of time after death".

It was this discolouration, amongst other things, which Dr Delaney later said made it difficult to ascertain how exactly Miss Besenyei met her death as it “has the potential to overcome or mask injuries” that the body may have already sustained.

The Court also heard that there were some abrasions to Miss Besenyei’s neck which Dr Delaney said “may be part of the same mechanism” which caused the fracture identified by the other Pathologist. 

During his post-mortem, Dr Delaney also identified “a small area of bleeding” to a muscle on the other side of Miss Besenyei’s neck to where the fracture was found which he said could be explained by “a focus or pressure” to that part of the neck but he said this was likely caused by “a separate episode of injury".

The Court also heard that, “because of the condition of the body”, Dr Delaney could not establish a cause of death. 


Pictured: Mr Warn entering court on another occasion.

During cross-examination, Defence Advocate Bell asked the Pathologist: “No cause of death can be determined beyond reasonable doubt, can it?” 

To this, Dr Delaney said: “The answer is no and the reason is because of the condition of the body.” 

Elsewhere on the trial's fifth day, the Court heard a statement from the dog walker who first discovered Miss Besenyei's body at Stinky Bay, as well as the firefighters who were deployed to recover her body before the tide came in on 16 May 2018.

Today's findings come after the jury heard yesterday that traces of Mr Warn’s and the alleged murder victim’s DNA was found on a pair of garden secateurs recovered from Miss Besenyei’s abandoned car.

The trial continues.

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