Man 'argued with girlfriend night before murder', trial hears

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Neomi SmithImage source, Police Scotland/BBC
Image caption,
Neomi Smith died at her flat in Brechin

A man argued with his girlfriend the night before he allegedly murdered her, a trial has heard.

Keith Rizzo denies killing 23-year-old Neomi Smith - who was originally from Aberdeen - at her flat in Brechin on 9 June last year.

Mr Rizzo, 23, and Miss Smith were said to have cut short a night at a pub.

Jurors at the High Court in Glasgow also heard claims that weeks earlier he had held her by the throat until she passed out.

Kirsty McLeish, a friend of the couple, told how she met the pair heading to Miss Smith's flat at about 23:00 on 8 June.

Prosecutor Duncan McPhie asked the 22 year-old witness if she spoke to Miss Smith.

She replied: "I asked how she and Keith were doing. She told me they were arguing quite a lot and that they were going home to have a break from the pub."

Mr McPhie asked: "What was her mood like?"

Miss McLeish said: "Still happy, but annoyed because they had been arguing."

The witness told the trial she was with the couple at a hotel in Brechin on 10 May.

Struck with knives

She and Miss Smith then chatted about what allegedly happened the previous night.

Miss McLeish: "She said her and Keith had been out at a pub in Brechin. He had got drunk and she remained sober.

"They had started arguing and gone home. Once at her flat, he had pressed her up against a wall by her throat until she passed out."

The charge includes accusations that he compressed her neck as well as repeatedly striking her on the head and body with knives.

He also faces a separate charge of earlier assaulting Miss Smith to her injury and danger of life.

The trial, before Lady Rae, continues.