Doctor tells court Iqaluit man died of neck compression

Daniel Hodgson is on trial for second-degree murder in the 2017 death of Bradley Winsor

The second-degree murder trial of Daniel Hodgson continued in Iqaluit on Friday with testimony from a forensics expert. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

A forensics expert says neck compression caused by a chokehold is the most likely factor behind the death of Bradley Winsor, the 23-year-old Iqaluit man who died in May 2017.

Another Iqaluit man, Daniel Hodgson, is being tried for Winsor’s second-degree murder this week in Nunavut court.

Multiple witnesses have testified seeing Hodgson put Winsor in a chokehold during an early-morning house party in Apex on May 19, 2017, after which Winsor collapsed and was never revived.

On Friday, the court heard from Dr. Christopher Milroy, an expert in forensic pathology, who examined Winsor’s body after his death.

Milroy told the court his examination of Winsor’s head and face revealed hemorrhaging in the man’s right eye.

He also observed bruising on both sides of Winsor’s neck, bruising over the main artery that runs up the neck and a fracture of the hyoid bone, a U-shaped bone at the very top of the neck.

“In a relatively young man … all of these features, combined with the absence of injury internally and the presence of hemorrhaging in the eyes, indicate compression in the neck,” Milroy testified on Friday.

Witnesses testified earlier this week that Hodgson and Winsor got into an altercation at a late-night house party where guests had been drinking. Some had been using cocaine, including Winsor, which Milroy confirmed in his toxicology report.

Witnesses described Hodgson coming up behind Winsor to put his arm across his neck and putting him in a chokehold until Winsor fell to the ground, blue in the face.

Witnesses recalled the actual choking incident as having happened quickly, within a matter of several seconds.

But the defence has argued that Winsor’s cocaine use, combined with his size — he weighed over 300 pounds — may have been the larger factor in his death, putting strain on his heart and killing him after the chokehold.

Defence lawyer Ilan Neuman asked Milroy on Friday if it were possible that the neck hold could have triggered a cocaine reaction in the man, causing heart failure.

“It could be a contributing factor,” Milroy said. “But I still believe in that scenario that the compression of the neck is a significant factor in the death.”

Hodgson, 41, has been out on bail since 2017.

The judge-only trial is presided over by Nunavut Justice Susan Charlesworth.

The trial continues Monday from Iqaluit’s courthouse, where it’s being livestreamed to the public.

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