27 Oct 2015

Murder victim stabbed 38 times, court told

5:01 pm on 27 October 2015

A High Court jury has been told the pattern of wounds on a dead woman's body suggested she was alive and trying to defend herself when she was stabbed to death.

Mei Fan.

Mei Fan. Photo: NZ POLICE

Former Wellington pathologist Marissa Feeney has been giving evidence by video link from New York at the trial of Michael Preston, who is accused of killing his estranged wife, Mei Fan, two years ago.

Dr Feeney did a post mortem on Mei Fan's body, which was found at her home about two days after she was last seen alive.

Dr Feeney told the court Ms Fan was a relatively small woman and her body had no obvious physical deformities or abnormalities, but it had approximately 38 stab wounds, ranging from 6 to 12 centimetres deep.

She said a knife with a blade 19.5 centimetres long was found in the neck. There were also 12 sharp injuries to the left hand and two wounds on her face, all of which came from either a pointed or sharp blade.

She said the pattern of the hand wounds suggested Mei Fan was alive at the time of the attack and gained those injuries from trying to defend herself.

The pathologist said Ms Fan's body had not been in a fridge after she died, so decomposition had begun by the time she received the body, meaning she could not narrow down the time of death.

The trial Judge, Justice Joseph Williams cleared the public gallery during the pathologist's evidence, because of its graphic nature.

Michael Preston.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Detective Sergeant Gregory Simmons also gave evidence today, and told the Court that when Ms Fan's body was removed from the scene a bloody silhouette was revealed, with a significant pooling of blood around where the body had been.

Mr Simmons said there was also blood on a doorway to the laundry, as well as blood droplets on the washing machine and the cupboard door under the tub.

He told the jury there was also a bloodied shoe print on the floor in that area.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs