PRABJOT Rayat would have bled "slowly" and "profusely" from his neck after it was slit at a Thamesmead industrial estate, a pathologist told Wood Green Crown Court today (Feb 28).

Mr Rayat, a 54-year-old father-of-three, of Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath, was found dead in the office of his car repair service, Rayat Autos, at the Crown Industrial Estate on June 8 last year.

Forensic pathologist Dr Simon Poole, who examined the victim's body after the incident, told the court: "The cut struck a particular artery on the left hand side of the neck. This would have been a major cause of bleeding and would have contributed significantly to the blood that was found at the scene."

He added: "Arteries are a range of sizes. This was a smaller artery so the victim would have bled slowly - there could have been a significant amount of time post-injury that he was alive. However it is very difficult to predict how long he would have lived for."

Mr Rayat was discovered in a pool of blood by employee and close friend Daljit Sagoo.

His head was resting on a jacket and a white, blood-covered towel was near his arm. A police search later found a kitchen knife at the scene.

Surinda Chana, aged 44, and Robert Burrows, aged 33, both of Lower Park Road, Belvedere, and Clifford Collins, aged 40, of Mounts Road, Greenhithe, are accused of his murder.

Dr Poole told the court: "The injury that was inflicted was a stab-type wound. This is defined as when the wound is greater in depth than it is in length. In this case it was two and a half inches deep and just under two inches long. In shape it resembles a backwards capital C."

The pathologist confirmed that there was a significant amount of bruising on the arms and legs of the victim, of which "one of the explanations could have been a struggle."

Mr Rayat received two visits from the defendants on the night of his death, the court heard.

After the second visit, just after 3.30am, two men and a woman were seen rushing away from the scene following an apparent struggle.

Collins alleged in his police statement that during the second visit, Burrows ran at Mr Rayat and "put a screwdriver to his throat."

A screwdriver was found in a Ford Galaxy driven by the defendants from the scene. Dr Poole said he would be "extremely surprised" if this had caused the fatal wound though he could not totally exclude it.

He added: "A serrated kitchen knife could have caused the injury."

All three defendants deny murder as well as a separate charge of conspiracy to rob.

The trial continues.