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Manslaughter court case begins after soldier's death
2:07pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
A LARKHILL soldier fell to the ground and died after being hit by a colleague, a court heard. Steven Mark Castaglioni, 21, was found dead in the Packway, Larkhill, at just after 11pm on June 29, 2009.
John Edward Ronald Gilliver, 33, now of Copper Beech Road, Nuneaton, was charged with manslaughter but denies he caused Mr Castaglioni’s death.
Mr Gilliver’s trial began on Thursday at Winchester Crown Court and is expected to last up to three weeks. The jury has heard evidence from neighbours who saw Mr Gilliver and Mr Castaglioni, who were both serving with the Royal Artillery, during the hours before the incident. The pair were friends and had spent the afternoon drinking together at Mr Gilliver’s house in Bingham Road. A witness, who was ten years old at the time, told the court he could hear Mr Castaglioni and Mr Gilliver arguing in a nearby park and he started watching them from his bedroom window.
He said Mr Castaglioni appeared very drunk and fell over a number of times and that father-of-four Mr Gilliver, who is no longer in the army, was telling him he needed to take him back to camp.
The pair left the area a short while later and walked along the Packway.
Other witnesses then saw Mr Gilliver hit Mr Castaglioni, who fell to the ground unconscious and died within minutes. On Friday, the jury heard medical evidence from consultant neuropathologist Professor Seth Love. Prof Love’s investigations found Mr Castaglioni had suffered a perivascular haemorrhage, as there were small areas of bleeding at the base of his brain.
Mr Castaglioni had multiple bruises and cuts on his face and toxicology reports showed he had 230mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
“I think it is highly unlikely that Steven Castaglioni would have died when he did, had he not sustained cranial trauma immediately beforehand, caused either by the blow John Gilliver is alleged to have struck or the consequent impact of his head against the ground,” said Prof Love.
The case continues.