Glasgow & West Scotland

Murder accused exchanged abusive social media posts

Michael O'Hanlon Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Michael O'Hanlon won the National Amateur Body Building Association Mr Scotland title in March 2016

A murder accused exchanged abusive social media posts with Mr Scotland bodybuilding champion Michael O'Hanlon before his death, a court has heard.

Steven Kirkwood, 44, denies stabbing and killing Mr O'Hanlon, 45, in Stevenston, North Ayrshire, in July.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Mr Kirkwood had messaged Mr O'Hanlon the day he died to suggest they meet up.

Eileen O'Hanlon said her husband-to-be Mr O'Hanlon shook his head when he saw the post. She added: "He was fed up."

She told prosecutor Richard Goddard the Facebook post said: "So you want to be Johnny big baws. Feel free to come to Hammy's and see me. I will be there at 12 today."

The court heard this was a reference to the Autotek garage run by Ian Hamilton.

Cordoned off

The jury heard there had been a number of abusive texts and Facebook messages exchanged between Mr Kirkwood, his former partner Ms O'Hanlon and Mr O'Hanlon in the days beforehand.

Mr O'Hanlon and his friend Forbes Cowan, a contestant in the Strongest Man competitions, drove from Irvine to Stevenson to the garage.

Mr Goddard asked Ms O'Hanlon if he had been armed when he left and she replied: "Absolutely not".

When asked if she heard from her partner again, Ms O'Hanlon broke down in tears.

She said she phoned the garage after he failed to respond to her text and phone call, and she drove there after being told something had happened.

Ms O'Hanlon said: "The garage was cordoned off. I ran through it. Michael was on the ground. His friend Forbes was holding him. I tried to get to him and the police told me I couldn't."

'Saw knife'

She said that she and Mr O'Hanlon were due to be married on 15 August.

Under cross-examination by defence QC Derek Ogg, Ms O'Hanlon admitted writing insulting texts about Mr Kirkwood in July last year, and that he was also posting abusive messages.

Mechanic Lewis McLuckie, 26, who works at Autotek, told the jury the men arrived at the garage and they had "a bit of an argument".

He said he believed he saw Mr Kirkwood pull something out from his waistband and said "that's when I made myself scarce".

Mr McLuckie said: "Steven Kirkwood said something like 'You'd better phone him an ambulance'. That's when I saw the knife."

Prosecutors allege that Kirkwood struggled with Mr O'Hanlon, punched him and repeatedly struck him on the body with a knife or similar item.

Mr Kirkwood also denies separate charges of having a knife in a public place and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of it.

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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