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Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 10 Jan 2017, 19:35

A north-east landlord has described the moment he battled in vain to save a call girl who was allegedly murdered in a city flat. Michael Murray discovered Jessica McGraa lying face down, half-naked and “still” in the Union Terrace apartment he had leased out to her last year. He said that blood had “bubbled from the nose” of the mother-of-one as he desperately performed CPR on her.

Mr Murray, who owns 16B Union Terrace, was giving evidence at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday during the fourth day of the trial against Bala Chinda.

He is accused of raping and murdering the 37-year-old on February 11 last year. It is alleged he inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and asphyxiated her before stealing a key and two mobile phones from the sex worker. He is further accused of disposing his own handset in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice.

The 26-year-old denies all the allegations against him.

During evidence Mr Murray said he originally thought the escort was still alive when he found her on the king-sized bed on Friday, February 12. After trying to wake her up, he said he called 999 – with a call handler instructing him how to perform CPR down the phone before an ambulance arrived.

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 12 Jan 2017, 06:37

An escort found dead in a north-east flat could have been killed by a “sleeper hold”, a court has heard. Jurors at the High Court in Aberdeen were told yesterday that Jessica McGraa suffered injuries to her jaw, chest and chin before she died on February 11 last year.

Pathologist Dr Matthew Lyall, who carried out the post-mortem examination on the 37-year-old, pointed to mechanical asphyxia as a likely cause of death. The court heard this would have been a result of “physical interference” such as “smothering” or “strangulation”.

Dr Lyall was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial against Bala Chinda, who is accused of raping and murdering Miss McGraa at a flat on Union Terrace on February 11. It is alleged he inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and asphyxiated her before stealing a key and two mobile phones from the sex worker. He is further accused of disposing his own handset in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice. The 26-year-old denies all the allegations.

Mr Lyall’s report following his examination stated Miss McGraa’s death may have been caused by her neck being compressed by a hand, bedding or a neck hold; or by “external obstruction” of the mouth or nose. The death may also have been caused by both in combination, he said.

Dr Lyall told jurors he found a number of “recent injuries” on Miss McGraa’s body following her death, including “petechial haemorrhages” on her eyelids and upper and lower lips.
Bruising was found on her upper jaw and on her chin – which the court heard may have been caused by a “sleeper hold”. Dr Lyall added “blunt force trauma” was the cause of some of the injuries.

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 12 Jan 2017, 21:06

An escort who was allegedly raped and murdered in a north-east flat could have died of natural causes, a court has heard. Jessica McGraa’s half naked body was found face down and motionless at an address in Aberdeen’s Union Terrace.

In a post-mortem examination, pathologists Dr Matthew Lyall and Professor James Grieve concluded “physical interference” such as “smothering” or “strangulation” may have played a part in her death. They listed her cause of death as asphyxiation.

However, jurors at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday heard that a separate examination of the 37-year-old’s body was carried out by Dr Nigel Cooper who said a “natural death” should not be ruled out.

It came on the sixth day of the trial against Bala Chinda, who is accused of raping and murdering Miss McGraa on February 11 last year. It is alleged he inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and asphyxiated her before stealing a key and two mobile phones from the sex worker. He is further accused of disposing of his own handset in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice. The 26-year-old denies all the allegations.

Speaking as Dr Lyall took to the witness stand for a second day of evidence yesterday, defence counsel Ian Duguid QC said: “You know that another pathologist had examined that lady and came to the conclusion her death could only be certified as unexplained?”

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 13 Jan 2017, 21:39

A man accused of raping and murdering an escort in a north-east flat asked his friend for help on the day of her death, a court has heard.

Jurors at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday heard Bala Chinda allegedly called a fellow student to ask for £300, before texting him saying “please help” and claiming he was facing an “emergency”. It came on the seventh day of the trial against the 26-year-old, who is accused of raping and murdering call girl, Jessica McGraa, at a flat on Union Terrace on February 11 last year.

It is alleged he inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and asphyxiated her before stealing a key and two mobile phones from the sex worker. He is further accused of disposing of his own handset in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice. He denies all the allegations.

Yesterday DC Richard Bruce took to the witness stand to discuss a police statement obtained from Srinadh Paladugu, a friend of Chinda’s, on February 22 last year. The court heard the pair had been studying on the same course at Robert Gordon University, and had gone on a night out together on February 10.

Mr Paladugu, who is from India, dropped out of his course in April last year, and could not be traced to appear before the court yesterday – despite the efforts of Interpol in his home country. Reading from the police report, advocate depute Paul Kearney, said Chinda had called Mr Paladugu on the morning of February 11.

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 17 Jan 2017, 21:40

An escort allegedly raped and murdered in a north-east flat almost certainly died at the hands of someone else, a court has heard. Jessica McGraa’s half-naked body was found face down and motionless in a rented apartment on Union Terrace on February 11 last year.

Bala China is accused of raping and murdering the 37-year-old and is currently on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen. It is alleged he inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and asphyxiated her before stealing two mobile phones from the sex worker.

The court previously heard from pathologist Dr Matthew Lyall that natural causes could not be ruled out. But yesterday Professor James Grieve, who co-authored the post-mortem with him, said this was exceptionally unlikely.

He said: “The presence of parietal haemorrhages in the victim’s eyes and lips indicated to us that she had suffered from a mechanical asphyxiation, from that we had to rule other things out. You cannot rule out entirely the prospect of a natural death from pathology alone.

“For it to have been natural there would likely have been a family history or she would have been on medication, there is no record of this. The lack of marks around her neck does not mean there was no strangling, in many cases they do not present.”

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 18 Jan 2017, 20:39

A forensic pathologist has said the death of a woman was best considered “unexplained” as the evidence “falls short” of saying she was strangled.

Jessica McGraa was found dead in a flat on Aberdeen’s Union Terrace on February 11 last year. Bala Chinda, 26, denies raping and murdering the 37-year-old escort and is on trial at the city’s high court.

Yesterday, consultant forensic pathologist Dr Michael Parsons appeared for the defence and went through his report which stated that from the evidence, he could not “confidently assert” Mrs McGraa died “due to compression of the neck or from smothering”. However, he added in his findings: “But it certainly does not rule it out.”

In another part of his conclusions, Dr Parsons – who examined Mrs McGraa’s body on March 2 – stated: “Due to the lack of certainty and for the reasons discussed I feel that Jessica McGraa’s death is best considered as unexplained.”

Advocate depute Paul Kearney asked if he believed it was “more likely than not” that Mrs McGraa suffered from an “unnatural” asphyxial death. Dr Parsons replied: “I would agree it is more likely, but I still feel I can not be sure that’s the cause of death.”

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 20 Jan 2017, 21:31

An Aberdeen student accused of raping and murdering an escort in a city flat was trying to move “heaven and earth” to pay for her services, a court has heard. Jessica McGraa was found dead and naked from the waist down on a bed of a rented apartment in Union Terrace, Aberdeen. Following her death, a post-mortem examination carried out to determine the circumstances of how she died ruled she was killed by mechanical asphyxiation.

For the last 10 days Bala Chinda, who was the last person to be seen alive with the call girl, has been on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen charged with her rape and murder. He is also alleged to have stolen Ms McGraa’s mobile phones in order to destroy vital evidence which could have been used against him. He denies all charges.

Yesterday the court heard closing speeches from both the Crown and defence counsel Iain Duguid QC.

Advocate depute Paul Kearney urged the jury to convict the 26-year-old of all charges and said there was “overwhelming” circumstantial evidence which could be used to prove his guilt. One reason to convict, he said, was that witnesses had claimed Chinda had not been in a position to pay Ms McGraa for her services, yet his DNA was discovered on her private parts.

Mr Kearney suggested to the jury that, being a sex worker, she would not have consented to sex if she knew she was not going to get paid.

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 20 Jan 2017, 21:36

An Aberdeen student has been convicted of raping and killing an escort at a city flat.

Bala Chinda has been on trial for the last 13 days accused of raping and murdering 37-year-old Jessica McGraa.

It was alleged he had hit her over the head before asphyxiating her by covering her nose and mouth and compressing her neck.

The 26-year-old Nigerian had denied the allegations against him however today a jury convicted him of both rape and murder.

He was sentenced life with minimum 18 years.

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Re: Aberdeen: Murder probe launched

Postby admin » 19 Apr 2017, 21:00

More than £50,000 of taxpayer’s cash has been awarded to a murderer to help pay his legal fees. Bala Chinda was found guilty in January of raping and murdering escort Jessica McGraa in an Aberdeen flat. The 26-year-old Robert Gordon University student was unanimously found guilty after seven hours of deliberation by a jury. He was also convicted of rape by a majority verdict.

The Nigerian national had been in Aberdeen for just a few weeks when he killed Mrs McGraa.

Now new figures have revealed £50,260 has been paid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board for the 26-year-old’s legal expenses. Chinda was jailed for life, with a minimum of 18 years behind bars.

North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “It’s an important point that justice is available to all, that applies in this case as in every other. The public are bound to be concerned that the basis in which legal aid is given is a reasonable one. What this case highlights is the fact that legal aid can be available to everybody, no matter their background or circumstances.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Legal Aid Board said: “To ensure the justice system works properly, legal fees can be paid by legal aid in criminal proceedings if someone meets strict eligibility criteria set by the Scottish parliament. While certain high profile cases attract attention, legal aid helps large numbers of often vulnerable people get access to justice.”

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