Jurors have heard graphic details of the knife injuries a woman suffered after her estranged partner stabbed her to death.

Sally Turner suffered 78 wounds to her skin, face, neck, torso, and limbs, from 68 individual stab wounds, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Harry Turner admits delivering the fatal blows but denies murdering his 50-year-old wife in the doorway of her daughter’s County Durham home on June 22 last year.

Dr Louise Mulcahy, a forensic pathologist, told the court that Mrs Turner’s cause of death was multiple stab wounds to neck and torso, which had caused damage to jugular vein and piercing her lungs.

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Mark McKone KC, prosecuting, said that police recovered two knives at the scene but the witness confirmed it was not possible to know if more than one knife was used during the incident.

The witness described all of the individual injuries to the jury including one stab wound near to her spine and blows to her body which resulted in a fracture to her shoulder blade.

The Northern Echo: Sally TurnerSally Turner

Dr Mulcahy said Mrs Turner had a number of wounds to her hands and arms which indicated that they were ‘defensive injuries’ caused by her attempt to grab or stop the knife attack.

Under cross examination from defence barrister Andrew Ford KC, the doctor said that there was no evidence that any of the injuries had been caused after death but she was also unable to confirm if the wounds were inflicted in quick succession.

A post office colleague, Kevin Joyce, described the defendant as a laid-back gentle giant who never got flustered by another at work.

Mr Joyce said he was concerned that the defendant was suicidal and told him to get help as he was starting to become paranoid.

The witness said “He was unflappable at work, easy going. Even when he had a quarrel with something at work, he was completely placid.”

The Northern Echo: Police at the scene of the alleged murder last AugustPolice at the scene of the alleged murder last August

Under cross examination, Mr Ford asked the witness: “You must be utterly gobsmacked that he’s killed his wife.”

Mr Joyce replied: “Yes. Disbelief.”

He said when he saw the road cordoned-off he believed that his friend had ‘killed himself’ as a result of the marital breakdown.

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Under re-examination from Mr McKone, he said: “He needed help and he didn’t get it. If that help had been made available I don’t believe what happened on the 22nd would have happened.

“It makes him a victim as well.”

The 54-year-old, of Tiree Close, Brandon, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

The trial continues.