The chief medical examiner for Newfoundland and Labrador testified on Monday at Supreme Court in St. John's that Ann Marie Shirran died at the hands of someone else.
Dr. Simon Avis told jurors at David Folker's second-degree murder trial that Shirran suffered blunt force trauma to the head, which caused her death.
Shirran was reported missing by Folker, her boyfriend and the father of her one-year-old son, on July 19, 2010.
The 32-year-old's body was discovered by campers in a wooded area just outside of Cappahayden on the Southern Shore on Sept. 2, 2010.
Folker was arrested shortly after and was charged with her murder and performing an indignity to a human body.
Avis, who was the last witness for the Crown, said that Shirran's skull had been fractured on the mastoid process — the thickest part of the skull — on both the left and right side.
He testified that Shirran was either struck at least twice on both sides of the head with great force, or that Shirran's head was up against a strong, unyielding surface while being hit on one side.
Staining around one of the skull fractures indicated that the blow to the head happened at the time of death, up to two hours after her death.
During cross-examination, Avis ruled out that Shirran's injuries were the result of a punch or that she just fell down a flight of stairs.
The defence suggested that Avis couldn't really know how she died because only Shirran's skeleton remained.
Most of the tissue and some bones were missing from the body because of decomposition or being scattered by wild animals.
Defence lawyer Jason Edwards suggested to Avis that besides the fractures to the skull, there were no other signs of violence, and Avis agreed.
Folker to take the stand
Folker, 42, will take the stand on Wednesday morning, following a full-day break from the trial on Tuesday.
He admitted on day two of his trial that Shirran died after the two fought and that he dumped her body near Cappahayden, then hid her belongings off Blackhead Road.
Despite the admissions, Folker is maintaining his not-guilty pleas in relation to both charges.
Folker has been out on bail, living in Nova Scotia with his mother, since Dec. 2010.
CBC reporter Ariana Kelland filed updates from Supreme Court in St. John's