JURORS in the trial of a sub-postmaster accused of battering his wife to death as she lay sleeping were yesterday shown photographs of her blood-stained pillow.

Diana Garbutt was hit over the head three times with a blunt object, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The 40-year-old, who grew up in Eggborough and Selby, died on March 23 last year at the village shop and post office she ran with her husband Robin, formerly of York and Huby. He is on trial accused of her murder, and denies the charge.

Yesterday, the sixth day of his trial, heard evidence from Home Office pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton, who examined Mrs Garbutt where she was found, in the living quarters of the shop in Melsonby, near Richmond. The cause of Mrs Garbutt’s death was head injuries as a result of being hit three times with a blunt, crowbar-like object.

Dr Hamilton told the court it was not possible to pinpoint precisely Mrs Garbutt’s time of death. Dr Hamilton said Mrs Garbutt did not display ‘defensive’ injuries, indicating she may not have seen her assailant coming.

He said: “In my view, she had been dead at least an hour at that time [when she was found] and I think it more likely that she had been dead since the early hours of March 23.”

Under cross-examination from defence barrister, Jamie Hill QC, Dr Hamilton accepted there was a “reasonable possibility” that Mrs Garbutt may have died later.

The trial then heard from forensic scientist Joanne Millington, an expert in blood staining. Ms Millington carried out a reconstruction of the scene around where Mrs Garbutt was found, using a mannequin head.

She said Mrs Garbutt’s assailant may not have got blood stains on themselves during the attack.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Garbutt killed his wife then faked a robbery in an attempt to cover it up.

The trial continues.