Tayside and Central Scotland

Man in court charged with murder of Perthshire jeweller

Croft Park Image copyright Kingdom News
Image caption Mr Gardner's body was found at his Balbeggie home last month

A man has been accused of murdering a Perthshire jeweller before digging a hole to hide the body.

Nikola Zhulev appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on petition, charged with murdering Alan Gardner at his Balbeggie home between 19 and 23 April.

The 30-year-old is also accused of stealing jewellery and a credit card, along with Mr Gardner's car.

He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody. The case was continued for further examination.

Mr Zhulev, a Bulgarian national, is alleged to have attacked and killed Mr Gardner in his home by hitting him on the head with a metal pan, binding his ankles with tape and wrapping his body in a duvet.

The pizza chef is also accused of buying a spade at Homebase in Perth between the same dates and digging a hole in a wooded area near St Martins. The petition claims he did this with the intention of concealing 49-year-old Mr Gardner's body.

Mr Zhulev is further accused of breaking into Mr Gardner's home between 20 and 24 April, and stealing items which he then pawned for cash, as well as a credit card which he used to buy takeaway food.

He is alleged to have stolen a Toyota Rav car, jewellery and a number of cameras, and of being in possession of heroin in Scott Street, Perth.

Sheriff Celia Sanderson contained the case to a later date.

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