"Death - almost instantaneous."
That was the assessment of a pathologist today as jurors in the Fang Sun murder trial paged through multiple graphic images of stab wounds to Auckland businesswoman Elizabeth Zhong's head, neck and back.
Of the more than 40 injuries Dr Rexson Tse described, some were deep enough to cut through muscle, major arteries and the spinal cord, leaving the 55-year-old with what he described as a sub-total decapitation.
Others, he testified via audio-visual feed from Australia, appeared to be defensive in nature - as if she was "trying to grab hold of the sharp implement to keep it from attacking".
Sun is on trial in the High Court at Auckland, where for the past four weeks prosecutors have presented evidence against him, including testimony that he threatened to kill Zhong on multiple occasions as their shared businesses began to fail. The defendant accused Zhong of embezzling money and losing him or his family over $25 million.
That anger led him to break into Zhong's East Auckland home and brutally attack her in her bedroom some time between the night of November 27, 2020, and the following morning, authorities allege.
Taken individually, multiple wounds could have caused Zhong's death, the pathologist said.
"I cannot give you an exact amount how much [blood] was lost, but in this case it would be significant," he explained.
Prosecutors also played for jurors today CCTV footage from Zhong's neighbourhood and shared tracking device data from her Land Rover, which her body was found in the boot of on November 28. A former police officer turned private investigator testified earlier that he had illegally hidden the tracking device underneath Zhong's vehicle after Sun paid him to tail her as part of a civil court battle over control of their company.
Data from the device showed that the vehicle was moved to a location across the street from Sun's own home for 15 minutes starting at 7.50am on November 28. At 8.07am, the vehicle was moved to the side of a nearby road in the Sunnyhills neighbourhood where both Sun and Zhong lived. Zhong's body would be found there roughly 11 hours later.
Multiple neighbours gave statements that matched the tracking device data, stating that the Land Rover hadn't been seen at the spot when they came home on the night of the 27th. But it was spotted there at about 9.15am the following morning when one of the witnesses left their house.
The CCTV footage played today showed the defendant's vehicle leaving the neighbourhood just after 11am that morning.
Prosecutors have indicated they will show more CCTV clips, described as "key footage in this trial", tomorrow. It will include footage of a figure walking in the neighbourhood at around 3.38am, prosecutor Gareth Kayes told the judge.