Glasgow & West Scotland

Mr Scotland bodybuilder trial hears from accused

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 man accused of murdering former Mr Scotland bodybuilding champion Michael O'Hanlon has wept as he told jurors he thought he was going to be killed.

Steven Kirkwood, 44, denies murdering Mr O'Hanlon, 45, at HK Autotek, Stevenston, Ayrshire, on 25 July 2016.

He has been giving evidence at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Describing a meeting with the bodybuilder on the day he died, he said: "I wanted to talk to Michael O'Hanlon and I didn't want any hassle."

Mr Kirkwood has lodged a special defence of self-defence.

He told the court Mr O'Hanlan asked to meet him at HK Autotek at midday on 25 July last year.

'Jagging sensation'

The accused said he wanted to talk about Facebook and text messages that had been exchanged between him and his ex-partner Eileen, who was due to marry Mr O'Hanlon the following month.

Mr Kirkwood told the jurors that after he walked into the garage office Forbes Cowan, a former competitor in the World's Strongest Man competition, came in and "just started shouting."

He went on: "Out of the corner of my eye I could see Mr Cowan throw a punch and grab the back of my jacket."

Mr Kirkwood told the court he was down on his right knee when Mr O'Hanlon came into the office and both men started punching him.

He added: "I felt a jagging sensation on the left side of my back coming round to the front."

Defence QC Derek Ogg asked: "Was there any way for you to escape?" and Mr Kirkwood replied: "No."

The QC then said: "What were you thinking?" and the accused stated: "I thought they were going to kill me. I thought they were trying to stab me.

"At one point I pushed back and I saw a knife on the floor behind my left foot. I grabbed for it and swung it round behind me."

He was asked by Mr Ogg how many times he did this swinging gesture and replied: "I don't know maybe about half a dozen."

Pick axe claim

Mr Kirkwood told the court that he was swinging the knife in the direction of Mr O'Hanlon.

Mr Ogg asked: "Do you accept that all his injuries were caused by the knife you held in your hand?" and Mr Kirkwood said: "Yes."

The accused was then asked if he knew he had stabbed the bodybuilder and he replied: "No."

He said: "Forbes Cowan backed away from me. I ended up on my feet and Michael backed away towards the door. I edged out and that's when I saw Forbes Cowan handing Michael a pick axe shaft."

Mr Kirkwood claimed that he was hit on the hand and arm by the shaft as he tried to protect himself.

He said that Mr O'Hanlon then went to sit down and Mr Cowan went over to him and added: "I actually thought he was having a heart attack. The pick axe handle was by his side."

The jury heard that Mr Kirkwood got in his car and drove to his stepson's shop in Paisley. He later handed himself into the police.

He denied ever having a knife or any other weapon with him that day.

Charges of having a knife in a public place and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of it have been withdrawn by the Crown.

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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