A 25-year-old woman’s body lay in a suitcase for so long that a pathologist found it difficult to be sure how she had died, a court heard today.

Dr Robert Chapman told Central Criminal Court how he examined the body of Alexandra Kovacs after it was found in a large, black case in Dollis Valley Greenwalk last July.

Dr Chapman found bruising on both sides of Miss Kovacs’ larynx, concluding that this type of bruising is “indicative of blunt trauma”.

Although he said this might have been the result of “compression of the neck by hand”, he could not say that this was definitely the reason for her death.

Miss Kovacs’ body was found by police two days after she had died, and had started to decompose.

Dr Chapman was unable to find supporting evidence, such as small haemorrhages to the blood vessels in the face, to give an exact cause of death.

Dr Chapman said: “I can’t tell the jury that this woman died from compression to the neck applied by hand. I can say there’s suggestive bruising close to the larynx which is compatible with that kind of mechanism.”

Laszlo Gyarmati, of Station Road, Finchley, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murdering Miss Kovacs.

He is alleged to have murdered Miss Kovacs at her home in Lee Road, Mill Hill, before dumping her body in a suitcase in Dollis Valley Greenwalk in the early hours of Thursday July 18, last year.

Dr Chapman told the jury he also found bruising on the back of Miss Kovacs’s right calf as well as towards the left shoulder blade and in the lower part of her back, close to the right hip.

Joel Bennathan QC, defending Mr Gyarmati, asked Dr Chapman to confirm whether he would have expected to have found more bruises if a “prolonged, violent struggle” had occurred to which Dr Chapman replied “yes”.

The trial continues.