Jury retires for a second day in trial of husband and son accused of manslaughter

Left to right - Robert Christopher Morgan and David Holyoak.
Robert Christopher Morgan (left) and David Holyoak

Jurors have retired for a second day to consider their verdicts in the trial of a husband and son accused of manslaughter.

The two men deny charges of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of a 71-year-old.

Robert Christopher Morgan, 61, and 53-year-old David Holyoak are on trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

They each deny a charge of manslaughter which alleges that they unlawfully killed 71-year-old Dorothy Morgan — their respective wife and mother — by gross negligence.

A jury has heard that Mrs Morgan was admitted to the West Cumberland Hospital on 25 January, 2021.

She was found to be in an emaciated, malnourished and severely dehydrated state, weighed only four-and-a-half stones and died on 4 February that year.

It is alleged by the prosecution that husband Morgan and son by another man Holyoak — who lived with Mrs Morgan at her Calder Avenue home in Whitehaven — “completely failed to properly take care of her”, or at the very least get her some help and that they “left her to die.”

Giving evidence during their trial, Morgan and Holyoak both said they were abiding by wishes they say were expressed by Mrs Morgan that no medical help be sought and provided.

Over the course of the past three weeks, a jury has heard detailed evidence in the case. A pathologist concluded the cause of Mrs Morgan’s death was emaciation and neglected infected pressure ulcers.

Earlier this week, prosecution and defence lawyers in the case delivered closing arguments before Her Honour Judge Goddard KC gave legal directions and summed up the evidence.

Jurors retired to consider their verdicts this morning (14 February), and have been told by the trial judge that only verdicts on which all 12 of them are agreed will be considered at this stage of their deliberations.

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