A MAN accused of murdering a disabled alcoholic was the person most likely to have committed the fatal attack, a court heard.

Pathologist Stuart Hamilton said common sense dictated Ricky Gelardo, 29, from Darlington, was the most likely person to have fatally injured Alan Atkin, given his physical condition.

The 62-year-old was found dead at his Scarborough home in April having suffered a vicious beating.

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Mr Gelardo, who denies murder, has blamed 44-yearold Karen Stubbings, from Scarborough, for the attack.

Miss Stubbings, who is not facing any charges, told Leeds Crown Court she was registered disabled because of arthritis and osteoporosis of the spine.

Yesterday, she again pleaded her innocence and blamed Mr Gelardo.

Mr Hamilton told the court that, based on a physical comparison between the pair, Mr Gelardo was the most likely to have committed the attack.

“If one is young, fit, and healthy, it is going to be easier for them to cause significant injury than if one is older, less fit and less healthy with joint disease,” he said.

Dr Hamilton revealed the extent of Mr Atkin’s injuries as he gave evidence, listing broken ribs, bleeding and swelling to the brain, a torn spleen, fractured jaw, and many cuts and bruises.

He said that Mr Atkin had been kicked, stamped on and possibly punched in his head and body.

“There are a lot more injuries and a lot more severe injuries than one would see in a simple fight. I have seen a lot of people who have died unexpectedly in simple fist fights gone wrong. But we are looking at a degree of injury far in excess of that.”

Mr Gelardo was staying with Miss Stubbings, a friend of his mother, Laura Jinks, of Darlington, while on bail for charges relating to a domestic incident in his home town.

Miss Stubbings said the reason she had provided conflicting statements to the police – initially failing to mention being in Mr Atkin’s flat at all – was that her partner had been present and she wished to keep the truth from him.

The trial continues.