EITHER of two knife wounds could have caused the death of a Hawick stabbing victim in a so-called ‘love triangle’ killing.
One blow to 44-year-old Brian Mair’s back was delivered with such force that it penetrated his shoulder blade.
The knife then damaged a rib and pierced through his lung before slicing through his gullet and severing one of the main veins to his heart.
A second wound completely severed the main femoral artery at the top of his right thigh and cut through the femoral vein.
The High Court at Livingston was told that either wound would have resulted in “profuse” bleeding, which would rapidly have caused death.
Mr Mair, 44, was allegedly killed by his “drinking buddy” Derek Kinghorn, 44, during an argument in Kinghorn’s Howegate flat.
The jury heard evidence that Kinghorn told cops he had stabbed his friend after Mr Mair alleged he was sleeping with Mr Mair’s girlfriend, Amy Michaels.
Kinghorn, a prisoner at Edinburgh, denies murdering Mr Mair and assaulting Miss Michaels on November 1 last year.
Pathologist Ralph Bouhaidar, 37, who carried out a post-mortem on Mr Mair’s body, told the jury that the victim had 24 injuries.
He described a series of cuts on the victim’s hands and arms as “classic defensive injuries”.
A 7.6cm-deep stab wound to the front of Mr Mair’s chest and a 6.5cm-deep injury to the back of his right shoulder which struck his spine had not struck any major organs or penetrated his chest cavity.
But Dr Bouhaidar said a stab wound to the left of his back had pierced the shoulder blade and left lung then penetrated his gullet and windpipe before cutting through a major blood vessel.
Dr Bouhaidar added: “The superior vena cava is maybe the largest vein in the body.
“Such a vessel once injured, would tend to bleed profusely.”
He said the injury would have been a “significant cause” of Mr Mair’s death.
The damaging wound – which was 17.5cm (seven inches) deep – also caused the lung to collapse.
The 6.5cm long groin injury – which was 7cm deep – severed the major femoral artery and damaged an important vein.
Shown a large, bloodstained kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade which was recovered from the flat, Dr Bouhaidar confirmed that it could have caused the injuries he described.
The trial, before temporary judge Michael O’Grady, continues.