An Afghan man slit his wife's throat and stabbed her repeatedly while she choked on her own blood - allegedly because she allowed their children to lead 'Western lives'.

Randjika Khairi, 53, remained conscious for five minutes but was unable to scream because her voicebox had been severed, a Toronto court heard.

Her husband Peer Khairi, 65, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario Superior Court to second-degree murder.

No one disputes that Khairi inflicted the injuries, only the circumstances and his state of mind.

Crown prosecutors Robert Kenny and Amanda Camara allege Khairi killed his wife of 30 years over cultural differences.

He wanted to make their six teenage and adult children follow traditional Muslim Afghan practices, but his wife infuriated him by allowing them to dress and socialise as they liked, prosecutors claim.

Khairi’s second eldest child, Giti, told the court her father was angry she spent most weekends with her fiance at his parents’ home, according to the Toronto Star.

The 29-year-old said her father felt adrift in Canada after moving there in 2003, and was illiterate and unable to speak English, the National Post reported.

His children were going to the mosque and praying less often, the court heard, while the 65-year-old was battling health problems, having survived a brutal car crash and attempted suicide in February 2008 - a month before the death.

He phoned 911 after the stabbing, telling the operator his wife had been murdered. Police arrived at the couple’s highrise Toronto apartment to find her lying on a blood-soaked narrow bed in the living room.

Dr Allan Hunt today told the court that Mrs Khairi’s neck was slit down to the spine, severing her carotid artery and jugular vein and almost decapitating her.

Blood then rushed to her airways, causing her to slowly suffocate.

Five additional stab wounds, to her chest, abdomen and back, bled much less than normal, suggesting they were inflicted several minutes after blood started gushing from her 10-centimetre-long neck gash, he added.

The doctor said there was so little blood left in her petite 5ft 1in body that it was difficult to gather enough for forensic testing.

Khairi showed no emotion in court as he looked at horrific photographs of the deadly, gaping wound he had inflicted upon his long-time wife, the Toronto Sun reported.

He glanced nonchalantly at the images, nodding to his Dari interpreter when he was finished looking at them.

The doctor agreed with defence lawyer Christopher Hicks when he suggested that injuries and bruises on her body were consistent with being attacked from the front and held down on the bed by her attacker.

The pathologist also agreed she appeared to have defensive cuts on her left forearm and hand, consistent with fending off a knife.

The trial continues.