The injuries that led to Raymond Fleet's death were the most severe he'd seen in any homicide case other than gunshot wounds, one of the country's top pathologists Dr Simon Stables has testified.
He was giving evidence in the High Court at Rotorua this afternoon at the trial of two men charged with murdering Raymond Fleet and his nephew James at Mamaku on August 7 last year.
They are Mikaere James Hura, 21, and Zen Pulemoana, 27, who are jointly charged with Martin Hone who's already admitted both counts.
Richard Te Kani has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges relating to the Fleets.
Dr Stables was the final Crown witness to give evidence at the trial, which entered its third week today.
The defendants' lawyers, Harry Edward for Hura and Max Simpkins for Pulemoana, indicated neither would be calling or giving evidence.
Before the pathologist began his testimony, Justice Sally Fitzgerald warned the jury they might find some photographs relating to his evidence distressing and that they may have an emotional reaction to them.
However, she repeated an earlier warning that jurors must put their emotions to one side, reminding them their role was to treat all the evidence calmly and dispassionately.
Dr Stables gave graphic evidence of the injuries both men received. It was his view James Fleet died from blows to his head with what was likely to be a shovel. At least one of the blows inflicted was fatal.
He told the jury that while Raymond Fleet had also been hit by a shovel or similar blunt object, his death had been caused by having his head run over by a 4 wheel drive with the wheel passing over his face rather than the back of his head. Those injuries were so severe they masked injuries indicating he'd been hit with a shovel.
Referring to James Fleet's injuries, it was his finding he had survived briefly after an initial blow but a second assault had led to his death. His scalp had been penetrated through to his skull causing his brain to bleed.
Among a raft of other injuries he listed was a split to an ear and its lobe with further splits inside his mouth consistent with his lips being crushed against his teeth; his left
cheekbone was fractured.
Raymond Fleet suffered extensive facial bruising with a split running from above the top of his nose around to the top of his head. He had suffered severe multiple fractures and his chest was crushed. It was likely he was alive when he was run over.
Questioned by Edward, Dr Stables agreed his post mortem report indicated three possible causes of Raymond Fleet's death, being beaten with a spade, run over or an attempted drowning.
He agreed there had been traces of methamphetamine in Raymond Fleet's blood.
Re-examined by lead Crown prosecutor Duncan McWilliam, the pathologist confirmed he could definitely confirm Fleet senior had not been drowned in a puddle.
The Crown and defence are scheduled to sum up their cases tomorrow .