NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Brian McKandie murder trial: Victim had 'ghostly' look

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

A pensioner found dead in his home had a "ghostly" look during a "heated" exchange on the day it is alleged he was murdered, a trial has heard.

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

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

Witness Daniel Duxbury told the High Court in Aberdeen he had driven past Mr McKandie's home, saw him with two men, and it did not look "normal".

Mr Duxbury told the 14th day of the trial he had passed by on what he believed was the afternoon of Friday 11 March 2016, and described what "did not look like a calm situation".

He said he knew Mr McKandie, who was with the two men at the end of his drive.

The witness told defence counsel Ian Duguid QC: "It just didn't feel right."

Mr Duxbury said it "looked a little bit heated almost" - as if Mr McKandie was "protecting his domain".

'Empty look'

He said he looked a bit "white and shocked".

The court heard Mr Duxbury had told police in a statement: "He looked different, he had a ghostly look on his face, he had his right hand in the air, he had an empty look on his face."

Mr Duxbury believed he was gesturing at them "to go away basically".

Mr Duguid asked: "Would I be right it did not look like a friendly exchange?"

"That's right," he replied.

Mr Duxbury told advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, that he came forward after police later appealed for anyone with possible information about Mr McKandie and his death.

At the start of the defence case on Monday, the court heard the accused had elected not to give evidence.

Mr Sidebottom denies striking Mr McKandie with an unidentified implement or implements and robbing him of a container and a sum of money.

He has lodged special defences of incrimination and alibi.

The trial, before Lord Uist, continues on Tuesday.

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