Man cleared of manslaughter of James O’Keefe, who bled to death after cut to varicose vein in Hornsey flat
PUBLISHED: 13:31 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 10 June 2020
A man has been cleared of the manslaughter of his friend who died in a Hornsey flat after suffering a tiny cut from the tip of a blade.
James O’Keefe, 47, did not seek medical help and probably “brushed off” the 1.5cm deep wound after a kitchen knife nicked his right thigh, the Old Bailey was told.
But unbeknown to him, it had sliced a varicose vein, causing “severe, prolonged and unchecked bleeding”, from which he died, jurors had heard.
A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for just over an hour to find Tottenham man George Nolan, 55, not guilty of manslaughter on June 10. He had denied the offence.
Earlier, prosecutor Julian Evans had alleged the pair had got into an argument while drinking at the Boyton Road flat of another friend Jan Farnham, on December 9 last year.
Afterwards, Mr Farnham found Mr O’Keefe with his trouser leg soaked with blood.
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Mr O’Keefe went into the bathroom where he collapsed in the bath, as Mr Farnham rushed to get help.
Mr Evans had said: “Based on the medical evidence and the blood staining inside the flat, it would appear that James O’Keefe suffered a single stab wound that bled profusely, unchecked and untreated for a lengthy period of time before he collapsed in the bathroom.
“In all likelihood, James O’Keefe did not appreciate the potential seriousness of the injury he had suffered. Whether this was because he was intoxicated or whether he lost consciousness is not known.
“What is clear though is that the wound bled profusely. No doubt unbeknownst to him, the knife wound damaged an underlying varicose vein.”
READ MORE: VICTIM OF HORNSEY STABBING DIED AFTER ‘BRUSHING OFF’ WOUND TO HIS THIGH, COURT HEARS
Mr Evans has said the prosecution’s case was that Mr Nolan stabbed his friend intending to cause him some but not really serious harm.
In his defence, Mr Nolan said an argument had blown up between Mr O’Keefe and Mr Farnham over a coat the victim was refusing to return.
He said that he had tried to reason with Mr O’Keefe, but picked up a knife to deter Mr O’Keefe, who was armed with a rounders bat.
He said that Mr O’Keefe suffered the injury to his thigh as a result of stumbling towards him while he was holding the knife.
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