Stab Wounds 'May Have Been Self Inflicted'


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE stab wounds a man received the night his girlfriend was fatally stabbed on Adelaide Beach could have been self-inflicted, a jury heard yesterday.

Dr Ricky Davis, a physician in the Accident and Emergency Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital, testified that he treated Douglas Pratt on the night of November 22, 2010 and noted the multiple injuries he had sustained.

When asked by prosecutor Sandradee Gardiner if the wounds, based on his medical notes, could have been self-inflicted, Dr Davis said “it’s possible.”

However, in cross-examination, the physician said it was also possible that Pratt could have received the injuries from being attacked, though he added that the wounds Pratt received to his arms was not usual for the type of defence wounds he saw in his 20 plus years as a physician.

Pratt sat in the caged dock behind his lawyer, Murrio Ducille, as Dr Davis gave his evidence on the witness stand.

It is claimed that on November 22, 2010, Pratt intentionally caused the death of 22-year-old Shande Cartwright, the country’s 86th murder victim for that year. Ms Cartwright, who was a client service representative at the Royal Bank of Canada, was found dead at Adelaide Beach with multiple stab wounds in her body.

Pratt, the father of Ms Cartwright’s children, was arraigned four days later in connection with the incident. He has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Yesterday, Dr Davis recalled his medical notes in court that were produced around 11:20pm, the night he examined Pratt.

“The patient stated he was out driving with his girlfriend when they ended up on the beach. And while at the beach, they were approached by two men, one with a gun and one with a knife,” the physician said.

“The one with the gun asked ‘where’s the money?’ And the patient said he’d told them it was in his wallet before the man armed with a knife started stabbing his girlfriend and he himself struggled with the two before he escaped, crying out for help,” the physician added.

As for Pratt’s injuries, Dr Davis said that the patient was aware enough to give personal details about himself and had no visible injuries to his head.

He noted though, that there was a laceration (slice) to the right of his neck and stab wounds to the right chest and abdomen.

Dr Davis said that the stab wounds to the chest and abdomen were superficial and the laceration to the arms were deep but not enough to cut the tendons that allowed finger movement.

When asked if the injuries could be considered serious, the physician said that serious injuries would have resulted in the damage of major blood vessels that would have required immediate attention and likely surgical intervention if necessary.

“Was there anything about that patient to suggest to you that the wounds came about as a result of a struggle?” the prosecutor asked.

“I’ve seen so many cases where in a struggle, you normally have more than lacerations,” Dr Davis answered.

“What would you say is the probability of the wounds of Douglas Pratt being self-inflicted?” Gardiner asked.

“There’s a great possible chance that it would have been,” the jury heard.

In cross-examination, Mr Ducille asked the physician when he had been notified to attend court.

“I was notified, I think, about two weeks ago or a little more than that,” Dr Davis answered.

“Has anyone seen your notes?” the lawyer asked. The physician said the head of the A&E department at the time had seen his notes, as this was normal in instances where a physician was absent and the department head would have oversight of the notes.

“No one else to my knowledge,” he added.

“Could those injuries have occurred if one is holding their arm like this?” the lawyer asked, holding his right arm above his face.

Dr Davis answered that it was possible that Pratt could have received the injuries from being attacked though he added that the wounds Pratt received to his arms was not usual for the type of defence wounds he saw in his 20 plus years as a physician.

“And you made comments based on what the patient said to you?” the lawyer asked.

“Yes, but I’m not duty bound to contest what he’s said,” the physician answered.

The trial resumes today before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs.

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