Attack on slain woman detailed

Injuries to the body of Moreen Maree Williams were detailed on Thursday, when the pathologist who examined her gave evidence in the trial of John Talmage Gouldbourne.

Gouldbourne, 56, is charged with murdering Ms Williams, 29, at his residence in West Bay on the night of 18 August 2004.

Dr. Nadia Williams also told the jury of nine women and three men that there was no evidence of sexual interference.

Questioned first by Senior Crown Counsel Andre Mon Desir, Dr. Williams listed her credentials and previous experience. She explained that at the time of the incident leading to the murder charge, she was in Cayman functioning as consultant pathologist. She is also a senior lecturer at the University of West Indies Mona Campus in Jamaica.

Dr. Williams said she examined the body the day after the incident. The deceased was identified by means of a work permit ID card and a Jamaican birth certificate. She had worked as a domestic helper.

After describing a bullet wound and 67 stab wounds, the doctor said the cause of death was due to the gunshot wound to the head with associated skull fracture and disruption of blood supply to the brain. Other significant conditions contributing to death included severe blood loss from multiple lacerations and stab wounds, with associated injury to the right lung.

Dr. Williams said marks on the deceased’s skin showed that the barrel of the gun was in contact with her face at the time the gun was fired. The wound was in front of the right ear and the path of the bullet was completely horizontal, but it was not possible to say if she were standing or lying down at the time.

The doctor thought that the bullet wound was the final injury.

The other wounds were all consistent with having been inflicted with a sharp pointed instrument. Some were slash-type, some were punctures. Shown the knife that was recovered from Gouldbourne’s room, she said it would be consistent with the wounds she had examined.

The first stab injury she described was a deep penetrating wound to the right side. The right lung was punctured and collapsed. This wound caused internal bleeding.

Dr. Williams referred to the sheer number of other injuries. She said multiple wounds usually indicate passion.

Of approximately 20 wounds to the face and neck, many were fairly superficial. She called these taunting wounds, which suggested trying to maim or scar the person.

In listing injuries to the arms and hands, she said these were defensive wounds. Their position suggested the victim had her arms up, trying to block her face.

There were no wounds to the back.

Asked about the time frame in which the wounds were inflicted, Dr. Williams said it was not possible to give an accurate estimate, but it would have taken more than a few minutes to inflict that many injuries.

The victim would have been experiencing fear. There would have been critical fear because of the lung injury because she would have been unable to breathe properly. Movement would not have been significantly restricted, but she would have lost half of her ability to ventilate and would have felt as if she were suffocating.

In cross-examination, she was asked by Daniel Janner QC on behalf of the defendant, whether the sequence of injuries would reflect a frenzied attack. She said it suggested passion and punishment. Asked if it reflected extreme emotion and being out of control, she replied, ‘I would say so.’

Mr. Janner pursued the question of the duration of the attack. Dr. Williams said it could have lasted 15 minutes to a half hour.

Asked how this autopsy compared with other she had conducted in murder inquiries, Dr. Williams acknowledged, ‘This is the worst I’ve seen. This one had a very profound effect on me.’

Asked if there was any evidence of sexual interference, she said she did not find any. In addition, the victim was fully clothed and there were no bruises to indicate being held down.

The jury was next expected to hear evidence from psychiatrists.