A Montrose mother-of-three lived for about an hour after being hit on the head and could have survived the initial blow, 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 signs of brain swelling.
But with immediate medical attention, she could have lived.
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 October 27 last year.
The trial previously heard 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 last December.
He said, 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 Dr Stewart examined sections of the brain to determine how long Ms MacKenzie had survived after the initial blow to her head.
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.”
Jackson, 40, and 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 October 27 and November 4 2015.
The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.