A retired nurse whose body was found in a shallow grave in Perthshire died in terror, an Edinburgh jury was told.
The last remains of Dolina MacLean were found in woodlands. Police were told where to look by John Lawson, who denies charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
A pathologist on Monday told the High Court trial he found signs of "extreme stress" when examining the elderly woman. Earlier the jury was shown pictures of the pensioner's body being dug out of the ground.
Derrick Pounder, an expert of forensic medicine, said a possible cause of death was that the 87-year-old suffered a form of "subtle trauma".
The Dundee University professor told jurors these were possibilities based on eliminating other options. The cause of death was officially recorded as "undetermined".
Mr Pounder talked the court through a report he compiled after carrying out an autopsy on the body. The court heard his most "striking" finding was the discovery of erosions to the inner lining of the stomach wall.
"There was an indication that prior to her death there was a prolonged, very stressful period," he told the court.
He added such stress levels would be akin to the type of stress experienced by someone learning of the death of a loved one, or who was involved in a rail crash.
Mr Pounder told the jury of eight women and seven men that such signs would take at least 15 minutes, and possibly a number of hours to develop.
Prosecutor Derek Ogg QC asked the expert witness what, in his opinion, caused the elderly woman to die.
The witness replied there were two broad possibilities - an abnormality of heart rhythm produced by severe stress or some form of "subtle trauma" such as smothering or strangulation.
Mr Ogg asked him whether it was a possibility that Ms MacLean had been scared to death.
"I would say that's too mild. I would have to say terrified," he replied.
Earlier in the day an officer told the court how the first sign of a grave was a piece of blue clothing. Then the fully dressed body of the Ms MacLean was exhumed. The jury was shown photos of the operation which they were told were "distressing".
Detective Constable Steven Salmean described to the court how forensic experts went to an area known as Knowhead Woodland on June 16 of last year - more than two weeks after Ms MacLean is thought to have died - where the body was found and photos of the crime scene taken.
Lawson claims the retired nurse collapsed and died while he was trying to steal her car. He told police he dumped her body in woods then returned later in a hired van, moved her and buried her using a borrowed spade.
The trial continues.