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Brian McKandie murder trial: Injuries were ‘worst seen’ by officer

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

A senior police officer who investigated the murder of a pensioner has told a trial he had never seen more violent injuries.

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

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

Asked about the level of violence, Det Insp Gary Winter told the High Court in Aberdeen he had "never ever" seen injuries like it.

He told the 13th day of the trial he became the deputy senior investigating officer on Thursday 17 March 2016, after a post-mortem examination identified Mr McKandie's death as appearing to be a homicide.

Crimewatch appeals

It was initially thought it could have been an accident.

The trial has heard the pensioner suffered severe head injuries.

Det Insp Winter said police briefly held off issuing a public appeal until Mr McKandie's brother, who was on a flight, was informed.

He said it became a "massive" investigation, which involved speaking to hundreds of people and trawling CCTV footage.

It was a "trace, investigate, eliminate" strategy.

There were also Crimewatch television appeals.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, said: "I take it I would not be wrong that the level of violence was extreme?"

'Misled police'

Det Insp Winter said: "I have never ever seen injuries like that."

He said Mr Sidebottom had been spoken to during 2016, and became a suspect in January 2017.

The court heard there was evidence the accused was in possession of a significant amount of money in March 2016.

Det Insp Winter agreed there were no other crimes around that time that may have produced such an amount.

Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC suggested Mr Sidebottom had co-operated with police.

Det Insp Winter disagreed, and said he had "misled" police.

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

He has lodged special defences of incrimination and alibi.

At the end of the Crown case, the jury was told Mr Sidebottom was detained in February 2017 and interviewed by police.

He was not obliged to answer questions, and he said "no comment" in reply to the murder allegation.

The trial, before Lord Uist, continues on Monday.

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