Forklift driver cleared of murderous man who died 11 years after he was attacked with a baseball bat

Neil Sutherland, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, had previously been imprisoned for four years in March 2008 after pleading guilty of an attack that had caused serious physical injury to former soldier Paul Mills.

Neil Sutherland, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, had previously been imprisoned for four years in March 2008 after pleading guilty of an attack that had caused serious physical injury to former soldier Paul Mills.

A forklift driver has been acquitted of the murder of a four-father who went upside down 11 years after the & # 39; on the head died with a metal baseball bat during a fight over the sale of the weapon.

Paul Mills suffered catastrophic head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain damage after being attacked by Neil Sutherland in July 2006 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Mr. Sutherland, from Trowbridge, had previously been imprisoned for four years in March 2008 after pleading guilty of an attack that had caused serious physical injury to the former soldier.

Mr. Sutherland, who said he had hit Mr. Mills in self-defense, was released in 2010.

In some barristers described as a & # 39; very unusual case & # 39 ;, Mr. Sutherland was charged with murder after Mr. Mill's death, 44 years old, was found in the bathroom of his home in Heytesbury, near Warminster in March 2017.

But he was acquitted of killing Mr. Mills in Salisbury Crown Court.

The court heard during his trial that a pathologist thought he died of epilepsy, reportedly caused by the injuries he had sustained during the incident.

But Mr. Sutherland denied being responsible for murder or any wrongdoing during his trial.

He told the court that Mr. Mills, after meeting in a lay-out in Southwick, began hating him for money & # 39; by selling him a baseball bat because he said he wanted to buy some cider.

He described how Mr. Mills had been aggressive to him and had averted him & # 39; by putting his hand around his head.

The couple met again a short time later in the same layout, where Mr. Sutherland admitted that he hit him with the bat after a struggle.

Mr. Sutherland said he didn't want to give the bat back to Mr. Mills because & I was afraid he would hit me with it because he had a high drift and hit me a second time, but this time with the bat. & # 39;

An earlier hearing at the court heard Mr. Sutherland, who was then 22 years old, repeatedly hit Mr. Mills, unarmed, on his head.

Father of four Paul Mills (photo) suffered catastrophic head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain damage after being attacked by Mr. Sutherland in July 2006 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Father of four Paul Mills (photo) suffered catastrophic head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain damage after being attacked by Mr. Sutherland in July 2006 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Father of four Paul Mills (photo) suffered catastrophic head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain damage after being attacked by Mr. Sutherland in July 2006 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire

During the original Salisbury Crown Court trial, Wilts, Mr. Sutherland admitted that he had lied to the police after the attack and told them that he had not hit his victim.

But his barrister James Newton-Price QC told jurors that his client was not guilty of killing Mr. Mills.

He said: & # 39; This is a very unusual case because the original incident now gives rise to a new assassination attempt, although it was 13 years ago and not only that, it was investigated and dealt with at that time. & # 39;

He said that Mr Mills Mr Sutherland & # 39; harassing and bullying & # 39; had made, and added that his client was a & # 39; man of low intelligence & # 39; and a & # 39; mild learning disability & # 39; has.

During a discussion of the incident during the murder case, Mr. Sutherland, from Trowbridge, Wilts, he said he and his friend Daniel Doel had driven to Frome in Somerset when they stopped talking to Mr. Mills.

Mr. Sutherland said: & I knew Paul by name because he had a reputation in the village. He is not someone who wanted to get you on the wrong side.

& # 39; He started talking to Danny through the window of the car and started poking me with the baseball bat.

& # 39; He made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

& # 39; He pushed the bat between my legs and gestured for money I had in the top pocket of my shirt – he wanted money.

& # 39; I threw the bat out of the vehicle and it landed on the ground. He did not understand this and started cursing me because he had made his bat dirty.

& # 39; I got out of the car to stretch my legs and he hit me like a & # 39; warning & # 39; around the head.

& # 39; I grabbed the bat and jogged up the sidewalk and around the corner to my father's house, hoping he would give me a ride home, because I had work the next morning.

& # 39; We got on his van and started driving to leave the village, but Danny's white Mercedes obstructed the road, so we headed down the road where Millsy was.

& # 39; I had the baseball bat with me and I said to him & # 39; you don't have the bat & # 39 ;. [Paul and I] struggled for the bat for a minute and he shouted abuse at me, before I hit him over the shoulder.

& # 39; I then hit him on the left side of his body. Paul held his head and turned around and started walking away. & # 39;

William Mousley QC, who prosecuted, said that Mr. Mills had a fractured skull and brain damage and added: & Paul Mills developed epilepsy due to the injuries he had sustained. He had his first attacks not long after he was taken to the hospital and from that day there were regular attacks for almost 11 years.

& # 39; At the beginning of March 2017, he was found dead in his home, where he lived only after he suffered, the Prosecution believes, an epileptic seizure. & # 39;

He said a pathologist concluded that & # 39; there was an unbroken link between Mr. Mills' death from a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and the assault in July 2006. & # 39;

Mr. Newton-Price, QC, defended the court that the link between the incident and Mr. Mills's death was disputed and said that his previous lifestyle of heavy alcohol use and drug use would have contributed to the cause of death.

After the case, Mr. Sutherland, who was supported by an intermediary during the trial and who had a "slight intellectual disability", told the press association: "I feel relieved of all the stress and pressure, of the police I am a murderer for years. & # 39;