Tayside and Central Scotland

Canal murder trial told of 'comical fight'

Russell Robertson Image copyright Supplied
Image caption The body of Russell Robertson was found in May 2016

A murder co-accused has admitted fighting with a man but denied killing him by throwing him into a canal.

James Robertson, 27, told the High Court in Glasgow that Russell Robertson was alive when he last saw him.

Mr Robertson and Mark Munro, 31, deny killing the 27-year-old by pushing him over railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk, in May last year.

It is alleged they repeatedly punched Mr Robertson on the hands and prised his fingers from the bridge railings.

Mr Robertson said the last time he saw Russell Robertson was "when Mark Munro had a hold of him".

'Drunk or merry'

Giving evidence, Mr Robertson told his defence counsel Tony Graham that he and Mr Munro, who was his best friend, had left a nearby nightclub at about 03:00.

Mr Robertson told the court that Russell Robertson approached him on the bridge and told him: "You need to go down by Robinsons Hire Drive."

Mr Robertson said he "had no idea" what Russell Robertson, who he said was "drunk or merry", was talking about.

The defence counsel asked Mr Robertson if he was angry about this and he replied: "Not initially, but he was angry."

He added: "When I told him no for the second time, he threw a punch at me and missed and I did the same."

'Police were everywhere'

Mr Robertson said that he and Russell Robertson began wrestling and grabbed each other in a headlock but no blows landed and it "was like a comical fight".

Mr Robertson said: "Mark pulled the guy off me and pushed him away. He put his arms round the guy and pushed him in the chest.

"I just picked myself up. Russell was coming towards us and Mark grabbed him by the shirt.

"I said to Mark, 'We need to get out of this.'

"I was aware the police were everywhere."

Mr Robertson said he left and the last time he saw Russell Robertson, Mr Munro was holding him saying, "he's not getting away with this."

Mr Robertson said he was "annoyed, frustrated and angry" hearing Mr Munro blame him for the murder.

He said: "He was my best pal for years. It could bring a man to tears that stuff he was saying."

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.

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