NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Brian McKandie murder accused ‘lavished gifts’ on girlfriend

Brian McKandie Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Brian McKandie's body was found in his rural cottage

A man accused of murdering and robbing a pensioner "lavished" expensive gifts on his girlfriend, a court has heard.

Brian McKandie, 67, was found dead at his cottage near Rothienorman in Aberdeenshire on 12 March 2016.

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

Mr Sidebottom's then girlfriend, Kudzaishe Chiriseri, told the High Court in Aberdeen she was shocked by a "wad" of money he had around that time.

Law student Ms Chiriseri, 21, told the 11th day of the trial they had been dating at the time of Mr McKandie's death, but that they were no longer together.

She said Mr Sidebottom came to see her in Aberdeen on the night of 11 March 2016, the date Mr McKandie is alleged to have been murdered.

'Thick roll of money'

The court heard she paid money into her bank account on 16 March, some of which was from Mr Sidebottom.

She said Mr Sidebottom had had a thick roll of money with an elastic band round it.

She remembered being "shocked" as it "looked like thousands".

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, asked: "If I was to suggest he brought it on Friday the 11th of March can you assist me?"

She replied: "No."

She assumed the money had come from a "job" he had been planning.

Ms Chiriseri said her birthday was on 19 March, and Mr Sidebottom had given her a laptop and iPad.

She said: "I was quite surprised. It seems like a big gift to give someone you have not known for very long."

'Freaking out'

Mr McSporran asked if she had ever wondered where the money came from, in light of the murder inquiry.

He said: "When Steven lavished you with expensive gifts, did that cause any concern?" She said it did not.

Mr McSporran said: "Did you say to Steven 'where did you get that money from?'" Ms Chiriseri replied: "No."

She described Mr Sidebottom as "freaking out" about what had happened to Mr McKandie.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Ian Duguid QC, Ms Chiriseri agreed that she was not suspicious about the money because in 2016 she had no indication Mr McKandie could have been the victim of a robbery.

Ms Chiriseri said Mr Sidebottom was "not a violent person".

She agreed he was the type of person to worry about things, and added: "I thought he was pretty upset about what had happened to Brian."

The court heard he was arrested in February 2017.

Mr Sidebottom denies 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 Thursday.

Related Topics

More on this story