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Surgeon tells of fight to save journo

Friday 7 Dec 2012 1:45 p.m.

Phillip Cottrell

Phillip Cottrell

The brain surgeon who operated on bashed Wellington journalist Phillip Cottrell said his head injuries were so bad the chances of him surviving the attack were very slim.

Neurosurgeon Martin Hunn gave evidence in the trial of Nicho Waipuka, 20, and Manuel Robinson, 18 who are charged with murdering Mr Cottrell early in the morning of December 10 last year.

Mr Cottrell, who had a brittle bone condition, was found lying bashed in Boulcott Street and died the next day in hospital.

Waipuka says he only punched him once and Robinson says he took no part in the attack. The Crown says they kicked and hit the victim.

Mr Hunn told the High Court at Wellington on Friday that when Mr Cottrell was first brought into Wellington Hospital both his pupils were fixed and dilated, which was an ominous sign of irreversible injuries.

Despite that, they decided to operate and try to save his life.

Mr Cottrell had a cut to the left side of his head. Mr Cottrell's skull had multiple fractures, the extensiveness of which may have been explained by his brittle bone condition.

The condition may have also caused more bleeding in his brain.

Mr Hunn said the injuries reminded him of cases he knew of where victims had been hit in the head with a hammer or a vase, both of which had curved surfaces.

Mr Hunn said he believed the injuries could have been caused by shoes the defendants wore, and they were the result of a significant blow.

The court has yet to hear from experts about Mr Cottrell's other injuries - to his neck and arm.

The case is continuing.


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