Ex-Premier League footballer’s body so burnt it could not be visually identified
The body of former footballer Jlloyd Samuel could not be visually identified as it was so badly burnt after his car burst into flames with him inside, his inquest has heard.
Warrington Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday how the 37-year-old died following a collision involving his Range Rover and another vehicle on the morning of May 15 last year.
His inquest, which is expected to last two days, heard how there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and no suggestion of any “foul play”.
The Sun On Sunday reported that the former Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers footballer’s sister, Leslie-Ann Samuel, had claimed her sibling’s death had been faked.
The paper said that she believes that her brother was not at the wheel of the car when it burst into flames following the crash on West Lane, High Legh, Cheshire, and that he is still alive.
But on Tuesday Dr John Sellar, a forensic odontologist, said that he was satisfied that teeth from the dead body matched a dental chart and radiographs taken from Mr Samuel’s mouth prior to the crash.
Describing how visual identification of the body was not possible as it had been “extensively burnt”, he said: “People who know the victim would not have wished to have seen those images.”
Meanwhile, forensic biologist Alexandra Clark said that a blood sample taken post-mortem matched that of cellular material taken from the footballer’s hairbrush and clippers.
She said that evaluation was done on the hairbrush to see whether the samples were a definite match to Mr Samuel and another person who had also used it, or whether the match to the former footballer was purely a coincidence.
But she said that the former was “a billion times more likely”, adding: “This is as clear as we can be.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Beauchamp said that in his investigation into the case he looked into the potential for foul play or kidnapping in the death – but said he found no evidence of either.
Inspector Liz Cunningham, from Cheshire Police, attended the crash on the day of Mr Samuel’s death, and said of the identification: “Because of the involvement of fire in this particular case, it was evident that complexity would be added in.”
She said that she was satisfied by the dental evidence given by Dr Sellar and from the accounts of passers-by that it was Mr Samuel.
The witness added that the police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances behind the death, saying: “It was nothing more complicated than a collision.
“It was a relatively straightforward collision involving two vehicles, one of which crosses on to the carriageway.”
The inquest continues.