Clarence Crime
Clarence Crime

Head hitting pillow could have led to man’s death

THE brain injury that killed Grafton Correctional Centre inmate Ian Klum could have been caused by a "seemingly trivial" injury such as his head hitting a pillow, a forensic pathologist has told Grafton Supreme Court.

Mr Klum died four days after being flown to Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane from Grafton Base Hospital with a subdural haematoma after police allege he was bashed by fellow inmate Shane Leslie Johnson on June 10, 2010.

Mr Johnson has pleaded not guilty to his murder.

In court on Thursday, forensic pathologist Nathan Milne said he conducted a post-mortem examination and found Mr Klum had several bruises and scratches including to his eyebrow, lip, arms, hip and feet.

The court heard Mr Klum had a heart disease that led to a stroke in 2008 for which he took blood thinner Warfarin and he was therefore more likely to bleed.

"I think if he wasn't on Warfarin, he wouldn't have gotten a subdural haematoma and died," Dr Milne said.

Dr Milne said the injury was commonly caused by a blunt force to the head and could have been caused by a punch or kick, but in Mr Klum's condition a "trivial" trauma such as being pushed, falling onto a bed and hitting his head on a pillow could also potentially lead to the injury. 

He said the haematoma was consistent with having occurred four to five days prior to death. However, when questioned by defence barrister Jason Watts, Dr Milne said it was possible parts of the fatal injury were older.

The prosecution said Mr Klum crawled to a vacant cell after corrective services officers were called to cell 215 in the early hours of the morning on June 10 and relocated him. 

Dr Milne said an inability to walk and maintain balance were symptoms consistent with the fatal injury.

The trial continues before Justice Geoffrey Bellew.

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