Murder trial: Stabbing victim died of single knife wound, court told

Tennyson Way Exmouth GSV

The stabbing occurred at a property in Tennyson Way, Exmouth - Credit: Google Street View

A man who was stabbed by his wife during a post-Christmas argument died from loss of blood despite desperate efforts by a doctor and paramedics to save his life.

Nigel Johnston died from a single wound to his chest even though his partner Tanya Hoskin told police at the time that she had stabbed him three times.

A doctor and a team of specialist paramedics tried to carry out open heart surgery in the street outside him Exmouth home but found he was already dying from his injury.

Hoskin is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of the murder of 55-year-old Mr Johnston on December 27, 2020.

She admits inflicting the fatal wound but says it was an accident or she was acting in self-defence. 

The jury has already heard she was on the phone to her sister Candy at the moment of the killing.

The prosecution says Hoskin stabbed Mr Johnston deliberately and there was not evidence of any threat to her that would justify her action.

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Hoskin, 52, of Tennyson Way, Exmouth, denies murder.

Home Office consultant forensic pathologist Dr Deborah Cook told the jury that there was a single knife wound just above Mr Johnson’s left nipple which tracked downwards into his body.

It passed between two ribs, only meeting resistance from cartilage, and through his liver, before piercing the portal vein, which carries blood to that organ.

The vein is as wide as a little finger and the injury led to blood filling up the body cavity around the liver without causing extensive external bleeding through the wound site.

She said there had already been substantial blood loss before the attempts to save him in the street outside the house.

Dr Cook said: "There was nothing else to suggest there was an altercation. The cause of death was a stab wound to the left hand side of the chest."

Paramedics gave evidence that Mr Johnston was already seriously ill when they arrived and it was decided to move him from the kitchen floor to the street to allow more space to work on him.

A doctor arrived at around 9.30pm and tried to carry out open heart surgery as he lay on the trolley, but discovered he had lost so much blood he could not be saved. 

He was pronounced dead at 9.50pm.

READ MORE: 'I don't blame you': Court hears stabbing victim's last words
READ MORE: Exmouth woman stabbed partner to death in post-Christmas row, court hears

A toxicology report found Mr Johnston had 247 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, just over three times the drink drive limit. 

There was also a trace of cannabis but it was impossible to ascertain when it had been consumed.

There were also several prescribed medications, including two used to treat depression.

The trial continues.