Tayside and Central Scotland

Murder accused's 'confession' to ex-wife

Montrose death
Image caption It is alleged that the flat was cleaned and clothes disposed of after Ms MacKenzie died

A murder accused confessed that he had slit a Montrose mother-of-three's throat and cut up her body in a bath, his former wife told a trial.

Barbara Whyte, 43, who was married to Steven Jackson for four years, said he told her that he would "never get caught".

She was giving evidence in the trial of Mr Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 29, who are accused of murdering and dismembering Kimberley MacKenzie.

The couple deny the charges.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Ms Whyte met her former husband in a Blairgowrie pub six days after the alleged murder after contacting him for the first time in 17 years.

They subsequently spent the night in a B&B where she said Mr Jackson told her he had "cut up someone" the previous week.

'Hit with hammer'

Prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC asked her if Mr Jackson had told her about an occasion when Ms MacKenzie had come to his door.

She replied: "He said Michelle Higgins came running through and hit her over the back of the head with a hammer.

"He said that her brain matter was all over the room and everywhere.

"He said they removed her from there to the bathroom."

Ms Whyte said Mr Jackson told her that he had slit Ms MacKenzie's throat and she had "bled out like a pig".

She continued: "He said he cut her up. He said he cut her legs and thighs.

"He was sort of joking and said it took two black bin bags to cover up her thighs."

Ms Whyte said Mr Jackson told her that his co-accused was bipolar and that they used caustic soda to clean the body and the house.

She added: "He said he would never get caught."

Image caption Kimberley MacKenzie's body was discovered in Montrose in October 2015

Ms Whyte said Mr Jackson had told her that he had put Ms MacKenzie in bins and recycling bins and "he was adamant that no one would ever find them".

She said: "He said Michelle Higgins moved out of his flat and took a hand and a foot with her.

"He had been arrested that weekend.

"When he got back, he got Michelle Higgins in an alleyway with a knife and threatened her life to get the pieces of Kim back."

Ms Whyte said that, during their conversation, Mr Jackson was "his usual irate self, jumping from one person to another".

She said: "This is why I did not know whether to believe what he was saying was true.

"Mr Jackson reads a lot of horror books, real-life crimes and fantasises a lot."

Defence QC Donald Findlay, representing Mr Jackson, told Ms Whyte that her evidence was "pure invention".

She replied: "No, he said that. You're representing a client who is a murdering scumbag.

"He told me what he done and what he done was sick."

'Concealed in shower'

Both accused deny murdering Ms MacKenzie by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument at a flat in Montrose on 27 October last year.

They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by dismembering Ms MacKenzie's body using a saw, knives and a screwdriver and wrapping parts of her body in bin liners and bags and hiding them in bins.

It is alleged that Ms MacKenzie's head and other body parts were in a rucksack and suitcase concealed in a shower cubicle at another Montrose property.

The couple are also alleged to have disposed of clothing and footwear worn by Ms Mackenzie and washing their own clothing.

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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