LIAM AITCHISON MURDER TRIAL: Day 1

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Two men have gone on trial at the High Court in Glasgow charged with the murder of 16 year old Liam Aitchison on November 23rd 2011 at a house in Steinish on Lewis.

The trial of Johnathan Mackinnon (22) and Stefan Millar (22) started on Tuesday and is expected to last for around three weeks.

Liam’s girlfriend, 17 year old Ellen Maclennan told the court she and Liam had been together for about a month when he disappeared and she had met him through her sister Pemma (22) whose house he stayed at sometimes on McCallum Place in Stornoway.

Miss Maclennan told the court that Liam had been staying there as ‘he had nowhere else to go’ and had no clothes or belongings.

She said the last time she had seen Liam he had been upset and crying because he heard that his mother had been self harming.

She had seen him at her sister’s house on the Tuesday after school and had left that evening to go home to her parents. She said Liam had been due to appear in court in Stornoway on the Wednesday.

Prosecutor, Mr Iain McSporran asked Miss Maclennan: “When you left on the evening on Tuesday when were you expecting to see Liam again?”

“The next day,” she replied.

“Where did you expect to see him?” Mr McSporran asked.

“At my sisters.”

“Did you see him again?”

“No,” she replied.

She said they had no way of making contact with him and when he didn’t appear, she assumed he had been sent to prison following his court appearance.

Liam did not, however, turn up for court and it was only three days later - when they established that he had not been sent to prison and indeed had not turned up to court - that she and her friend Emily Smith reported him missing to Stornoway police.

She said she had heard that the two accused had ‘left Liam in a ditch’ because he was rolling around in the road and being an idiot.

Her sister Pemma Maclennan also gave evidence and said Liam stayed at her house ‘for a couple of nights on and off’ but she didn’t expect him to be there every night and so his absence on the Wednesday night had not given her cause for alarm.

On the Wednesday evening she had gone out with a friend and when she returned in the early hours of the next morning he was not there.

He had planned to go out the previous night.

She agreed that he was a welcome visitor and could turn up at her home and be well received. When it transpired that he had not turned up to court and no one had been able to find him, she had become concerned.

She remembered something about reference to an aftershave in the discussions between the group of friends in the period following Liam’s disappearance but before his body was found.

An aftershave belonging to Johnathan Mackinnon had fallen out of Liam’s jacket and there may have been a disagreement. She said the two accused and Liam had been drinking together.

She said the accused Stefan Millar was a regular visitor to her house and that she didn’t notice anything unusual about him after Liam’s disappearance and he continued to come to her house.

The final witness on day one of the trial was Pemma Maclennan’s boyfriend, Warren Mackay (24) from Stornoway.

Both accused deny the charges against them. The trial continues before Judge Lord Kinclaven.