Tayside and Central Scotland

Jury hears closing speeches in bridge murder trial

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

A prosecutor has asked a jury to find two men guilty of murdering a man by pushing him into a canal.

Mark Munro, 31, and James Robertson, 27, deny killing Russell Robertson by pushing him over railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk.

It is alleged that they repeatedly punched Mr Robertson on the hands and prised his fingers from the bridge railings in May last year.

A jury at the High Court in Glasgow is hearing closing speeches in the trial.

Mr Munro says he was trying to help Russell Robertson after his co-accused pushed him over the railings.

Mr Robertson claims he initially struggled with Russell Robertson, but had left by the time he went over the bridge.

'Wildly contradict'

In his closing speech to the jury, advocate depute Alan Cameron said: "The accused's account of what happened wildly contradict each other.

"They can't both be telling the truth.

"I say both are lying because they want to avoid the consequences of their actions which led to the death of Russell Robertson."

Defence QC Derek Ogg, representing Mr Munro, said: "That night what Mark Munro wanted to do was go home.

"He is described as mellow and his co-accused as happy that night.

"Then there is an incident which must have lasted for less than a minute and everything changes.

"A person loses his life and two others face the prospect of a conviction for the most serious crime."

Fractured skull

Mr Ogg said there were few eye-witnesses, despite the area being busy that night, and asked the jury to consider carefully what witnesses claimed to have seen and how far away they were at the time.

He said Mr Munro said he was trying to help Russell Robertson by grabbing him as he fell and swinging him onto the embankment.

That movement caused Mr Robertson to hit his head on a metal stanchion under the bridge, causing the fractured skull which killed him.

Mr Ogg told the jurors: "If you accept the reason he grabbed Russell Robertson and swung him was to help him then he is not guilty of anything and you must acquit him."

The QC said that if the jury instead believed Mr Munro had assaulted Russell Robertson then they should convict him of culpable homicide, rather than murder.

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.

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