A MEDICAL expert yesterday told a court of his doubt that Julie Bywater died as a result of strangling herself during a sex game.

Dr Basil Purdue told Winchester Crown Court he saw no signs of panic from the teaching assistant or any attempt by her to release the plastic cable tie that killed her.

The prosecution allege Alan Pickersgill, 37, strangled Ms Bywater after becoming dangerously obsessed with his ex-girlfriend in the wake of their break-up.

Pickersgill, who denies the rape and murder of the 32-year-old, claims she died during a bondage sex game involving the cable tie at his Wayside Road flat.

Dr Purdue, a Home Office pathologist, told the jury: "The natural reaction is to show some sort of panic as it is a frightening state of affairs.

"But there was no scratch marks or any sign of her trying to get rid of the thing around her neck."

He added that there was also no evidence the ligature had been wiggled or twisted in an attempt to free it.

Pickersgill told police in interview Ms Bywater showed no sign of discomfort as she supposedly choked herself to death.

But Dr Purdue told the court she would almost certainly have made a noise and thrashed around if she was in such a state.

"There are lots of things you can do to draw attention to yourself in that situation," he said.

The pathologist also told the jury only moderate force was applied to Ms Bywater's neck, but that it can take just 10 seconds of compression to cause death.

The jury earlier heard from Martine Hobbs, a forensic IT investigator with Dorset Police, who examined computers found at Pickersgill's Southbourne home.

She told the court how Pickersgill's home CCTV system, which was otherwise always switched on, was suddenly turned off on the night of Ms Bywater's death.

Ms Hobbs also said Pickersgill had accessed his ex's Facebook account, checked it obsessively and then finally deleted it on the night she died.

The jury was told files of Ms Bywater's private Facebook messages were also found saved on Pickersgill's hard drive, the documents entitled Help Me God.

The case continues.