Tayside and Central Scotland

Woman 'lived for an hour after brain injury', murder trial told

Image caption Kimberley MacKenzie's body was discovered in Montrose in October 2015

A mother-of-three lived for about an hour after being hit on the head, a neuropathologist told a murder trial.

Dr William Stewart said there was bruising and bleeding to the right side of Kimberley MacKenzie's brain and also signs of brain swelling.

Dr Stewart was giving evidence at the trial of Steven Jackson and Michelle Higgins at the High Court in Glasgow.

The couple deny murdering and dismembering Ms Mackenzie in Montrose on 27 October last year.

The trial previously heard that Ms MacKenzie had been hit on the head at least 11 times with a blunt object and stabbed about 40 times.

Dr Stewart told the jury that he examined the brain on 10 December last year.

He said that, in addition to the bruising and bleeding, there had been a segment of bone which looked like it had been "embedded on impact".

The court was told that Dr Stewart examined sections of the brain to determine how long Ms MacKenzie had survived after the initial blow to her head.

Prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC asked Dr Stewart what the survival time between injury and death had been.

He said: "We use experience and data to produce a timeline.

"The textbooks would suggest changes would take three to four hours, however my conservative estimate would be an hour or slightly less than an hour."

He then said that, with medical intervention, the head injury was "potentially survivable".

Defence QC Donald Findlay, representing Mr Jackson, suggested that changes in the brain caused by decay could account for his findings and suggested that Ms MacKenzie died shortly after being injured.

Dr Stewart replied: "This is by no means a brain which masked the changes."

Mr Jackson, 40, and Ms Higgins, 29, are accused of murdering Ms MacKenzie by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument and striking her with a knife in Market Street, Montrose, on 27 October last year.

They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by dismembering her body using a saw, knives and a screwdriver and wrapping parts of her body in bin liners and bags and hiding them in bins in Market Street, Patons Lane, Chapel Street and William Phillips Drive, all in Montrose, between 27 October and 4 November 2015.

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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