Jury retires in paramedic trial

The jury in the trial of a paramedic accused of lying to police and his bosses after he failed to resuscitate a 30-stone man he had been called out to treat retired today to consider its verdict.

Karl Harris, 45, is alleged to have told his less-experienced colleague, Ben Stokes, 35, there was "no point" in trying to resuscitate Barry Baker after they were called to his home in Brighton, East Sussex, in the early hours of the morning.



The 59-year-old, who lived alone, phoned 999 after experiencing breathing difficulties at 4.14am on November 29 2008 and died after suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest.



Jurors at Lewes Crown Court heard a recording of the emergency call, in which Mr Baker's laboured, heavy breathing could be heard, before Harris and Mr Stokes entered the house and spoke to him six minutes later.



Minutes later a loud thump was audible, which they were told was the sound of Mr Baker falling to the ground.



However they were told that Harris later claimed that Mr Baker had already collapsed when they got there.



During his defence, the father-of-two told jurors it would have been "physically impossible" to resuscitate Mr Baker due to his size and all the clutter that surrounded him where he lay.



Harris, a former soldier who served in Northern Ireland with the Parachute Regiment, said he "honestly believed he was dead".



He added that when he told police Mr Baker had already collapsed when they arrived at the house, he did not make it clear that Mr Stokes entered the house before him and so may have witnessed the fall.



Jurors heard that Mr Baker had lived alone in Braybon Avenue since the death of his parents in the mid-1970s. He lived a "reclusive" lifestyle, rarely inviting friends to the house and over the years it had fallen into a state of disrepair.



His weight had gone up from around 20 stone in September 2007 to 30 stone by the time of his death, which was caused by his inactivity and thrombosis of the legs.



Harris, of Tophill Close, Portslade, was suspended from his role at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust following Mr Baker's death.



He denies a charge of perverting the course of justice.



No charges were brought against trainee technician Mr Stokes but the ambulance trust placed him on restricted practice following the incident.





Jurors were sent home for the evening and will continue to deliberate their verdict from 2pm tomorrow.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas