Lost bones hamper case
MISSING bones from the skeleton of Nicole Leiske could have helped police determine how the Rockhampton woman died, a pathologist said.
Dr Nigel Buxton, the investigating forensic pathologist for police, said a small bone in Ms Leiske's throat and a vertebra from her spine were never found.
He said the two bones were “forensically” of interest, but couldn't be found in the creek bed at The Caves, north of Rockhampton, when Ms Leiske's body was discovered on May 29, 2005.
Dr Buxton took the witness stand yesterday in the murder trial of Steven Roy Turner in Rockhampton Supreme Court.
Turner, 34, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Leiske, 32.
Dr Buxton said the neck and back bones that were not found with Ms Leiske's skeleton could have helped police determine if she had been strangled.
Without those bones and owing to decomposition, Dr Buxton made a report that couldn't find a cause of death.
Missing bones were most likely moved by an animal, he said.
“The scenario of where the body was found, with a lack of clothing and lack of personal property, would make it unlikely that it was a natural death. You are very unlikely to be bushwalking with no clothes on and carrying nothing, not even a bottle of water.”
Under questioning by the defence barrister, Dr Buxton was asked about different causes of death.
“(A heart attack) would be a rarity, but I can't say it never happened. A young woman of that age, it would be a rarity,” he said.
It's alleged Turner told police he glued Ms Leiske's eyes closed because he “didn't like seeing her dead eyes staring” at him.
Dr Buxton said there were no facial structures found that could determine if Super Glue had been used to shut Ms Leiske's eyes.
However, he told the court that when a person died their eyes sometimes stayed open.
“If they're open it can be quite difficult to close them after death. You can close them and they can flick open again,” he said.