17 Jun 2002

Solomons inquiry told diplomat's death a freak accident

7:21 pm on 17 June 2002

A New Zealand forensic scientist has told an inquiry in Solomon Islands into the death of Bridget Nichols, that he believes she stabbed herself in a freak accident.

Dr Michael Taylor from the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research was giving evidence on the second day of an inquiry into the death in March of the former Deputy High Commissioner.

Ms Nichols death was treated as a homicide initially but Solomons Police stated last month that they had concluded it was an accident.

Today Solomon Islands Detective Superintendent, Nathaniel Mosese, told the court there had been no visible or scientific evidence revealing a struggle or an associated crime; no motive; no witness; and no visible or scientific evidence indicating an entry or exit route of a person.

Dr Taylor was brought in as part of a New Zealand police team assisting the investigation.

He revealed to the court that their forensic investigation supports the view that Ms Nichols death was a freak accident.

He concluded she had been carrying a knife, place upside down in her shoulder bag, while at the same time carrying heavy bulky cartons, which may have obscured her view as walked between her house and garage.

He also believed that she had taken a path with a number potential hazards, had fallen, landing on the shoulder bag and the knife had penetrated her left breast.

The enquiry is expected to conclude tomorrow.,