A MANSLAUGHTER trial was dramatically called to a halt when the accused collapsed while being cross-examined in the witness box.
Colin Lennen, 59, was taken to hospital after collapsing before jurors while being questioned by John McDermott, prosecuting at Chester Crown Court.
Lennen, who denies the manslaughter of his 77-year old mother Gladys Lennen, was treated by medics who then wrote to the court advising that Lennen be refrained from attending court on Wednesday due to health concerns.
The Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards told the jury Lennen had been told to spend the day resting.
Before his collapse, Lennen told jurors he would never have done anything to harm his mother, who was found dead on January 19, 2009, at the former family home in Huxley, near Tattenhall, Chester. She had suffered a fractured femur which a pathologist said was sustained at least 12 hours before her death.
Lennen denies he was aware his mother had suffered the leg injury, and said he would have made sure she received hospital treatment had he known.
He said he, his wife Janice, and other family members did everything they could to help Mrs Lennen as her health deteriorated and she began to suffer the effects of advanced dementia.
Yesterday, business aquaintenances and Lennen’s former GP, both of whom said they were also friends with Lennen, described him as an “honest, sincere, nice decent person, who cared greatly for his family.”
Business associate Alan Acton, who had met Lennen for a business meeting in Chester on the day of Mrs Lennen’s death, told the court: “It was obvious Colin cared deeply about his mother. He could not have been more caring.”
Retired GP DR Kenneth Mark Hedges said: “Colin was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. He is a total gentleman, whose honesty, concern and goodwill to others has been permanently consistent.”
Mr McDermott was due to deliver his closing speech to the jury yesterday, with defence lawyer Phillippa McAtasney QC expected to deliver her closing speech today when it is hoped Lennen will be well enough to attend the trial.