Murder victim Gary Bennett may have tried to defend himself from his attacker before suffering at least 13 blows to the head, a court heard this morning.

Pathologist Robert Chapman, who carried out the post mortem, told the court bruising on Mr Bennett's knuckles and wrists suggested he either blocked a blunt impact or punched out at a blunt surface.

The court heard the Watford bin man suffered pathologically severe injuries to his skull and brain as well as a fractured larynx caused by a ligature around his neck.

Mr Chapman told the court a “redish bruise” around the victim's neck suggested the damage may have been caused by “the forceful removal of a heavy-duty neck chain”.

As well as injuries to his head, about 19 areas of damage were found on Mr Bennett's back, shoulder and neck.

Mr Chapman said he could not be certain of the type of implement used during the attack but “it was blunt, with some kind of edge to it more than six centimetres in width”.

He added it was not clear whether the injuries caused to the victim's neck occurred before or after the injuries to his head, though the severity of injury to Mr Bennett's brain was the main contributor to his death.

The court will not be sitting this afternoon and the prosecution is due to close its case tomorrow (Thursday).