NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

No DNA links found in Brian McKandie murder case

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

No DNA was found linking a man accused of murdering a pensioner to his alleged victim, a court has heard.

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

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

Forensic scientist Kenneth Brown told the High Court in Aberdeen that blood spatter analysis indicated Mr McKandie may have been struck outside his home, before the attack continued inside.

The court has heard Mr McKandie's death was initially being treated by police as a suspected accident.

However, Mr Brown told the 12th day of the trial that when he initially saw photos of various blood stains at the cottage, several days after Mr McKandie's death, he did not think he had fallen and hit his head, and arranged to go to the scene.

He told the court the findings suggested Mr McKandie had been struck more than once outside.

He said the pensioner could then have been dragged into the hallway.

Image caption Forensic scientist Kenneth Brown gave evidence at the High Court in Aberdeen

Mr Brown said cast-off blood patterns in the hall suggested Mr McKandie had been struck "multiple" times there.

Mr Sidebottom's home, car and clothing were later examined.

The forensic scientist said no DNA traces were found linking the two men.

He said items were not examined until at least nine months after Mr McKandie's death.

Two scenarios

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, said there were two scenarios.

One was Mr Sidebottom "beat Brian McKandie to death", the other was "no he didn't".

Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC said the negative conclusions could all be explained if Mr Sidebottom had not been involved in the murder of Mr McKandie.

Advocate depute Mr McSporran then said the assailant could have been wearing gloves and Mr Brown agreed that - and changing clothes - could prevent the transfer of DNA.

Mr Brown also said the "passages of time" could have an impact.

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 Friday.

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