Neill Buchel death: Dad-of-two found in Dagenham lake died in ‘minutes not hours’

Neill Buchel's dismembered body parts were found in White Hart Lakes, Dagenham, in April last year

Neill Buchel's dismembered body parts were found in White Hart Lakes, Dagenham, in April last year - Credit: Archant

The dad-of-two whose body was found chopped into pieces and dumped in a lake died in a “matter of minutes, not hours”.

Neill Buchel, 39, of Braintree Road, Dagenham, died from multiple blunt-force injuries sustained on the night of March 13 last year, including 25 rib fractures and a haemorrhaged pancreas.

Dr Benjamin Swift – the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination at Queen’s Hospital in April 2014 – told Blackfriars Crown Court this afternoon his injuries were likely to have been caused by stamping or kicking.

He said: “The rib fractures would have compromised his diaphragm, making it very difficult to breathe and get enough oxygen into his lungs and blood resulting in hypoxia [lack of oxygen].

“This would start to render the individual very drowsy and unconscious and if severe enough would starve the brain of oxygen and cause death.

“There was also a significant tear to the fatty attachment to the small bowel causing internal bleeding in the abdomen.

“The relatively low volume of blood found suggests that he had died quite soon after the affliction of the injuries, otherwise I would have anticipated there was a lot more blood in his abdomen.

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“I would anticipate minutes rather than hours.”

In addition to the rib damage Buchel – who had twice the legal drink-drive level of alcohol in his blood – was also found to have fractured shin, cheek, collar and thigh bones.

Dr Swift added said: “The tibia is weight-bearing bone, thick and substantial, and would have required severe force to fracture in such a way.”

Although there was a suggestion that some of the damage could have been caused by a hammer, the pathologist insisted kicking or stamping by other people was the most likely scenario.

He said: “The fractures are consistent with blunt force injuries, particularly with the force applied in a compressive nature similar to stamping and kicking actions.

“I can’t exclude the option that injuries were caused by weapons including a hammer.

“However, because there were so many in a long row [it is likely to have been] a more compressive action.”

The trial continues.