A BRIDEGROOM killed his new wife by exerting significant pressure on her neck with a choke hold, a murder trial jury heard today.

Thomas Nutt said he struck Dawn Walker in the face and then put his arm around her neck, causing injuries that forensic pathologist, Dr Kirsten Hope, said were consistent with her findings.

Dr Hope told Bradford Crown Court that Miss Walker, 52, died from pressure on the neck.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Police at the scene in Lightcliffe following Miss Walker's deathPolice at the scene in Lightcliffe following Miss Walker's death

Nutt, 45, of Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe, denies murdering her but has admitted manslaughter.

The scrap metal dealer hid Miss Walker’s body in a cupboard before stuffing her in a suitcase and dumping it in bushes near the marital home on October 31 last year.

He is accused by the Crown of going to Skegness on ‘honeymoon’ after the killing before acting out the ‘ghastly charade’ of looking for her saying she had disappeared.

The last known sighting of Miss Walker alive was made by her maid of honour between 10.30 and 11pm on October 27, her wedding night, the jury has heard.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Forensics at the scene following Miss Walker's deathForensics at the scene following Miss Walker's death

Dr Hope said that she received Miss Walker’s body in the black fabric wheeled suitcase that she was found in. She was wearing a white pyjama type top and matching trousers.

Her body was bent over with her face towards the wheels. Her legs were distorted and the right leg was twisted.

Dr Hope said it was not possible to give an accurate time of death.

Miss Walker had a large black eye, a fractured eye socket, facial lacerations and a fractured nose from a blunt force impact to the left side of her face. There was bruising and grazing extending towards her hairline.

She had a bruise inside her mouth, bruising on her neck and collarbone and on her chest. The back of the right shoulder was bruised and grazed and her arms were bruised.

Her scalp was also bruised and there was deep bruising around her jaw.

There were two fractures of the ribs and her left leg was fractured in two places.

Dr Hope said she had sustained significant neck injuries, with a fractured thyroid cartilage, caused by forceful pressure.

Nutt said he had hit Miss Walker in the face and then strangled her, not intending to cause her really serious harm. His assertion that he had used a choke hold was consistent with the post mortem examination findings, Dr Hope said.

The court heard that in December, West Yorkshire Police told Dr Hope that Nutt had spoken to the prison chaplain about the circumstances of Miss Walker’s death.

He said she had jabbed a potato peeling knife at him when they returned from Skegness and it had broken in her hands.

Asked by Alistair MacDonald QC, for the Crown, if Miss Walker could have sustained her injuries in a fall, Dr Hope said that would be very uncommon.

Nutt has told the police that the couple arrived back from honeymoon late on the night before Halloween. Miss Walker ‘flipped’ and was screaming at him saying she wanted a divorce.

He said she ran at him and he had spun her round and put his arm around her neck in a headlock. He didn’t realise he was choking her.

“It seemed so fast, before I knew it she was laid out on the floor,” he said.

Her body went light and he dropped her. She gave a couple of gasps: “There was no life, no pulse, no nothing.”

When her body went limp and there was no pulse he put her in a cupboard because he didn’t know what to do. He was panicking that he had killed the person he had married a few days before.

“I didn’t mean to kill her, I really didn’t, I just wanted her to stop screaming,” he said.

Before the trial began this morning, Judge Jonathan Rose told the jurors that one of their number had tested positive for Covid over the weekend but the case would continue with the remaining eleven.

This afternoon, he disclosed that another juror had been called away to ‘a family situation that required immediate attention'.

He adjourned the trial until 10am tomorrow when Dr Hope will continue to give her evidence.