shearing through the arteries


Senior Member
The pathologist put down his coffee mug, dabbed at the corners of his mouth with a white handkerchief, and sat back. ‘Well, Mr Durham died as the result of his fall from the church tower, this we know. His injuries were a little different to those normally expected from a fall from such a great height, because of the fact that he hit the wall and not a flat hard surface. He shattered his spinal column at the areas of the second, third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, severing the spinal cord and shearing through the arteries.’
Source: Shadow over the Fens by Joy Ellis
Context: The victim committed suicide by jumping from an viewing platform.

What does shearing through the arteries mean? I am acquainted with sheep shearing and shearing of one’s hair upon joining the army.

Thank you.
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