NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Brian McKandie murder trial told of blood discovery

Brian McKandie Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Brian McKandie's body was discovered at his home near Rothienorman

A woman saw blood when she looked through a pensioner's cottage window after sensing something was "not right", a murder trial has heard.

Brian McKandie, 67, was found dead in his home near Rothienorman, in Aberdeenshire, in March 2016.

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

Witness Kelly Dunbar told the High Court in Aberdeen she was concerned when Mr McKandie was not at home, and raised the alarm after seeing blood.

The court also heard from defence counsel Ian Duguid QC that "nearly £200,000" was discovered in the house.

Ms Dunbar, 42, told the third day of the trial she had gone to mechanic Mr McKandie's home as her car was due to have an MOT.

There was no sign of him, so along with her partner and daughter she returned home.

After a short time they returned to the house "because something wasn't right".

After checking the garage and knocking on the house door, she looked through a window into the hallway.

'Something far wrong'

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, asked: "What did you see?"

"Blood," she replied.

Mr McSporran said: "The sight of blood removed any doubt there was something far wrong?"

Ms Dunbar said: "Yes".

Her partner also looked through the window, and told her to call the police.

PC Alasdair MacHardy told the court he forced entry to the house after seeing the blood when he arrived.

He said he then had to pick his way through the blood on the floor.

PC MacHardy tried to open the living room door but felt resistance.

Already dead

He shone his torch and saw a person's head, and what looked like dried blood.

The officer said he believed the person was already dead, and said there was no response when he lifted an eyelid and shone his light.

The court was told that the fire service was then tasked with forcing entry through a window to allow access to the living room.

Earlier, defence counsel Mr Duguid QC suggested to witness William Cruickshank that Mr McKandie had accumulated a large sum of money at his home.

Farmer Mr Cruickshank, 75, said the amount "surprised" him.

He said Mr McKandie did car repairs for cash, and used to say he put the money in a "shoebox".

Mr Cruickshank told advocate depute Mr McSporran: "He never gave the impression that he was well off."

Mr Sidebottom denies repeatedly striking Mr McKandie with an unidentified implement or implements.

He has lodged special defences of incrimination and alibi.

The trial, before Lord Uist, continues on Monday.

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