Injuries to Lynace Parakuka's head and face were caused by a heavy impact from something like a piece of wood, hammer or a hand, pathologist Dr Kilak Kisha told a murder trial jury.

On trial in the High Court at Rotorua is Jason Wiremu Poihipi, 19, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Parakura in the grounds of Rotorua's St Michael's Catholic School on September 7 last year. He pleaded not guilty when the trial commenced this morning.

Dr Kisha told of conducting a post mortem on Parakuka's body three days after her death, specifying the large number of injuries he found on her face and head.

His evidence was they had been caused by some form of impact ranging from a piece of wood to a hammer or hand, saying it was highly unlikely they'd been suffered in a fall.

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Referring to the deceased's fractured eye socket, he said that would most likely have been caused by a fist, a stomp or kick.

There were additional injuries on her upper arms and legs and there was heavy bleeding in the area surrounding the brain.

Although he couldn't be exact, he estimated there had been 11 to 20 blows to her head. It was highly unlikely these were caused by a fall, rather they were the outcome of significant force being used against her.

He said Parakuka would have been alive for 20 to 25 minutes after suffering her head injuries.

He confirmed she was in the early stages of pregnancy when she died.

Questioned by defence lawyer, Caitlin Gentleman, the pathologist said he was unable to tell how old the contusions were but confirmed they were caused at or around the time of death.

Rawini Tahana, Poihipi's sister, said both he and Parakuka displayed jealously tendencies towards each other. Shortly before her death Parakuka told her she was pregnant.

Poihipi's cousin, Metua Walters, 22, described him as being like a brother to him. He told of Poihipi turning up at his Western Heights home in the early hours of September 7 last year saying he had hit Parakuka. He'd growled him.

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Pressed by Crown prosecutor, Duncan McWilliam, he agreed the pair of them had gone into St Michael's grounds where, using his cellphone as a torch, he saw Parakuka lying on her back.

"She was bruised up."

He called 111 and was given instructions on how to perform CPR on her.

Questioned by Poihipi's lawyer, Roger Gowing, Walters acknowledged that about a month before Parakuka's death he'd heard she had been given a hiding by some girls associated with the Mongrel Mob.

Asked if Poihipi had been scared, upset and crying as he knelt beside Parakuka, Walters agreed he had, admitting he'd got a shock when he saw the state of her face.

He told the lawyer Poihipi had been kneeling beside his partner crying when he was unable to find a pulse. He agreed Poihipi was really upset, panicking.

"Did you suggest to Jason 'don't say it was you, you could go away for a long time'?" Walters accepted he could have said some of it.

He was unsure if he'd suggested Poihipi say it was the girls down the road who had given Parakuka a hiding.

Earlier

Lynace Parakuka was in the first trimester of pregnancy when Jason Wiremu Poihipi attacked and savagely beat her to death, a jury in the High Court at Rotorua has heard.

They are trying Poihipi, 19, for the murder of Parakuka, his 22-year-old partner, in the grounds of Rotorua's St Michael's Catholic School in the early hours of September 7 last year.

When the trial opened this morning Poihipi denied the charge.

Opening the Crown's case prosecutor Duncan McWilliam described how Poihipi had told police he attacked Parakuka because he was in a jealous rage, ignited by seeing her through a window having sex with another man.

He outlined how Poihipi confessed to slamming her in the face four or five times until she fell to the ground where he kicked her, again the blows were to her face and head.

However a pathologist would testify Parakuka had suffered between 11 and 20 separate blows which resulted in bleeding to the brain, the cause of her death.

McWilliam told the 10 women and two men on the jury that Poihipi sat on the ground beside Parakuka listening to her increasingly laboured breathing before running to his cousin's house where he told her he had given Lynace a hiding.

Paramedics arrived soon after the cousin dialled 111 but had been unable to revive Parakuka.

Jason Poihipi is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker
Jason Poihipi is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker

McWilliam claimed Poihipi gave police varying versions of what happened. In one he said he found her on Clayton Rd with black eyes and a bloodied nose. She told him she'd been attacked by a group of girls, that they'd walked into the school grounds where she collapsed.

He told another constable his "missus" had taken off. When he found her injured she said "the n******s did this to me".

McWilliam said it was apparent Poihipi had lied in subsequent interviews, including one recorded on DVD which the jury would see later in the week.

"This is not a who done it," McWilliam said. "This is a murder caused by the number of blows inflicted by the defendant and the severity of them ... There were multiple acts of violence while he was overwhelmed with jealousy."

In his opening statement, Poihipi's lawyer Roger Gowing said a tragic turn of events had left Parakuka dead and Poihipi was responsible for her death because he assaulted her, that she had died as a result of the injuries she received.

Lynace Parakuka was in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Lynace Parakuka was in the first trimester of pregnancy.

"It is trite to say he has to live with the loss of his partner for the rest of his life, that is the fact of the matter, but the issue you will need to concentrate on in this trial is did he know what he did was likely to cause her death? Was he reckless in carrying out the assaults and what was in his mind at the time he assaulted her?" he submitted.

It was the defence's contention Poihipi was guilty of Parakuka's manslaughter, not the murder he is charged with.

As Justice Ian Gault was outlining to the jury how the trial would run a man entered the court yelling to Poihipi "love you bro". A security officer removed him.

She was found dead at Rotorua's St Michael's Catholic School in the early hours of September 7 last year.
She was found dead at Rotorua's St Michael's Catholic School in the early hours of September 7 last year.

Throughout the Crown's opening, several women in the public gallery sobbed, passing a box of tissues between them as Poihipi sat impassively in the dock.

It's anticipated the trial will run until Friday.