THE jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering Breightmet mother Maggie Smythe, and his brother accused of assisting the offender and perverting the course of justice, is expected to be sent out tomorrow.

Christopher Taylor, aged 40, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and Brian Ottley, aged 29, have been on trial for two weeks over their roles in the death and dismemberment of Miss Smythe.

Today, on the eighth day of the trial, the jury heard closing statements from the prosecution and defence barristers.

Earlier the court heard that after Maggie went missing in January a body, later confirmed to be Miss Smythe, was found buried in a shallow grave at the derelict Red Bridge Tavern, Breightmet.

The remains had been dismembered and the left arm and leg and head were missing.

Jurors also heard that following a search and forensic examinations Maggie’s blood had been found on clothing allegedly belonging to Taylor and Ottley found at the pub. Taylor’s semen was also found on a pair of Maggie’s jeans found at St Catherine’s Academy and in her oesophagus.

During the search for Maggie’s missing body parts police were led to The Bunk lodge after Taylor told his solicitor that he had buried Maggie’s head in a reed bed.

But, despite an extensive search, including Taylor being taken to the lodge from prison, nothing was found.

This week Alistair Webster QC told the jury that he would call no evidence on behalf of Taylor.

Ottley also declined to go into the witness box at Bolton Crown Court on the seventh day of the trial.

Defending Taylor, today Mr Webster described the prosecution as a “speculation case”, noting that pathologist Dr Naomi Carter had told the jury that without Miss Smythe’s head, which remains unrecovered, the cause of her death is unclear.

He further suggested that there was no forensic evidence to suggest that Miss Smythe had been strangled or smothered, or “taken a beating”.

Instead he directed the jury to Dr Carter’s comments about the possibilities of “one-punch-manslaughter” and evidence heard about Miss Smythe having suffered from fits since childhood.

He said: “People do not just die accidentally. But in this case there are alternative mechanisms that are entirely possible.”

The trial continues.