NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Brian McKandie murder trial jury sent home for second night

Steven Sidebottom and Brian McKandie
Image caption Steven Sidebottom (left) is accused of murdering Brian McKandie

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a pensioner has been sent home for a second night.

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

Steven Sidebottom, 25, denies murder and robbery.

The case has been heard in front of judge Lord Uist and a jury of 10 women and five men at the High Court in Aberdeen, which will resume deliberations on Friday.

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

Police 'errors'

Lord Uist told the jury that in order to convict Mr Sidebottom, they would have to accept the "whole package" of the circumstantial case presented by the prosecution.

The judge noted that no DNA was found linking the accused to the crime, nor were any fingerprints.

He said there were no eyewitnesses, no bloodied clothing, and no witnesses had been asked what Mr Sidebottom had been wearing on the day Mr McKandie is alleged to have been murdered.

The trial has heard that his death was initially treated by police as an accident, until the post-mortem examination several days later revealed he had sustained at least 15 blows to the head.

Lord Uist said despite the "errors" made by the police at the outset, it was now not disputed that he was murdered.

The closing speeches for the prosecution and defence were made on Tuesday.

Mr Sidebottom has lodged a special defence of alibi.

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