Timothy John Constable would have collapsed within seconds of a stab wound which cut his aorta, a major blood vessel near the heart, his murder trial was told on the last day of the Crown's case in the High Court at Christchurch today.

The pathologist who examined Mr Constable's body said three of the four stab wounds would not have caused death, but one which entered his chest made a large cut in the arch of his aorta.

Dr Martin Sage said that one would have caused an immediate and irreparable loss of blood pressure with a result that he would have collapsed within a few seconds, with death occurring at that time.

Five people are charged with either murder or assault and after the Crown closed its case the jury was sent away until tomorrow morning so that Justice Lester Chisholm could hear legal argument.

Adam Robert Gempton, 21, Steven Wayne Bright, 26, and Levi Michael Coombs, 18, are charged with murder, while Shaharna Margaret Hickey, 23, and Shahana Mikena Coombs, 21, are charged with assault.

The other three stab wounds were in Mr Constable's shoulder, upper arm and abdomen, and there were blunt force injuries to his head, one of which caused a skull fracture, Dr Sage said.

There were many minor wounds on his body, with small cuts on his head which could have been caused by him falling out of the car and onto the broken window glass, or when he was moved when being resuscitated, he said.

There was also a scattering of minor injuries, including bruising and lacerations around his left eye, bruising on his knuckles, and abrasions on his left ear.

Some injuries could have been from fighting, or he could have got them when he fell out of the truck, Dr Sage said.

The stab wounds in the upper part of the body could have been inflicted while Mr Constable was sitting in the front passenger seat in the car. Dr Sage agreed that the abdomen injury could have happened when he was falling out of the car.

Mr Constable's girlfriend Gisinda Coombs also had a cut on her clothes and an injury that could have been caused by the same knife, he said. In her evidence she said she was sitting on Mr Constable's knee in the car at the time of the struggle.

The analysis of Mr Constable's blood and urine showed significant amounts of alcohol, and some cannabis. Methamphetamine traces were also found, he said.

- NZPA