Glasgow & West Scotland

Martin Toner murder trial: Witnesses deny killing

Martin Toner Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Martin Toner's body was found in July 2004

Two men have denied murdering Martin Toner whose body was found in a field in Renfrewshire in 2004.

James Steele and Anthony Nelson denied killing the 34-year-old while giving evidence at the trial of two other men - Douglas Fleming and John McDonald.

Both accused deny murdering Mr Toner. Mr Fleming has lodged a special defence of incrimination against six men, including Mr Steele and Mr Nelson.

The witnesses told the trial they had nothing to do with Mr Toner's death.

Mr Fleming, 50, and Mr McDonald, 57, from Glasgow, both deny murdering Mr Toner on 29 June 2004.

Restaurant meeting

They are alleged to have killed Mr Toner at the garden and grounds of the Coach House at Gleddoch Estate, Langbank, and Gleddoch Estate, after inducing him to travel there from the Key to Life Gym in Pollokshields, Glasgow.

Mr Steele, 47, told their trial at the High Court in Glasgow that he had arranged to meet Mr Toner the day he went missing.

The witness told advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, he was due to meet Mr Toner at Di Maggio's in Shawlands at 16:00.

The jury heard that Mr Steele phoned Mr Toner at about 15:00 and said: "Can I meet you, it's Steelie." Mr Toner then said: "Something's come up. I'm outside Glasgow, the now."

When asked how Mr Toner sounded during the brief phone call which lasted less than a minute Mr Steele replied: "Normal."

Mr Steele told the court that he, like Mr Toner, was a regular at the Key to Life Gym and had met him on the morning of 29 June 2004 and they had planned to meet that afternoon.

Mr Prentice asked Mr Steele: "Did you kill Mr Toner?" and he replied: "No, I did not."

He was then asked: "Did you facilitate or organise his death in any way? And replied: "No definitely not."

Under cross examination by Derek Ogg QC, representing Mr Fleming, Mr Steele said the planned meeting with Mr Toner was to discuss cheap car insurance for a friend of his.

'Not nonsense'

He agreed with Mr Ogg that Mr Toner was not an insurance broker, but added: "He said that he could get cheap car insurance for my friend."

Mr Ogg said: "This suggestion that you were going to Di Maggios to talk about cheap car insurance is just nonsense," and Mr Steele replied: "It's not nonsense."

Anthony Nelson, 42, another man named on a list of people who have been incriminated, also gave evidence and denied killing Mr Toner or having anything to do with his death.

He told the court that he is a cousin of Mr Toner's widow Michelle.

The jury heard that Mr Nelson tried three times to contact Mr Toner on his mobile without success. He said he was trying to organise a fishing trip.

He was asked by Mr Prentice: "Were you aware Martin Toner was due to stand trial facing allegations of being concerned in the sale of drugs," and replied: "I believe so."

Mr Prentice added: "There was a forthcoming trial in the High Court in respect of drugs, was it thought he would have run away?" and Mr Nelson said: "No he wouldn't have done that without Michelle and the kids."

Both accused also deny a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

The trial before Lord Armstrong continues.

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