The trial of two men accused of murdering Liam Aitchison in November 2011 in Steinish is drawing to a close with the court hearing the remainder of evidence from Stefan Millar today (Wednesday) who continued to deny any involvement in the crime.
He is the final witness in the case and the court also heard the closing speech from Prosecutor Iain McSporran. Johnathan Mackinnon and Stefan Millar are accused of murdering the 16-year-old at a house in Steinish on November 23rd 2011.
Yesterday (Tuesday) Mr Millar began his evidence and was questioned by his defence lawyer Frances McMenamin QC and was today cross-examined by Mr McSporran.
Mr McSporran said Mr Millar’s account of what had happened in the early hours of November 23rd was a story which was ‘simple to maintain’.
Mr Millar said that he and Mr Mackinnon had been drinking with Liam Aitchison at Mr Mackinnon’s house in Plasterfield, they had gone out around 12:30am, parted company with Liam at Anderson Road Nurseries where he had said he was going to McCallum Place and they had carried on towards the town. As they hadn’t got in touch with anyone who lived there, they had gone to the garage of a derelict house near Fusion before heading back to Plasterfield.
Mr McSporran asked if there had been any point when he and Mr Mackinnon had not been together. No, replied Mr Millar.
“Whatever he was up to, you were up to?” asked Mr McSporran. Yes, said Mr Millar.
He asked if Mr Millar was aware of a knife or cleaver in Johnathan Mackinnon’s bedroom. He said he was but that he had never asked him why he had it. Mr McSporran asked if Mr Mackinnon had ever said it was to make him feel safe? He might have, said Mr Millar.
Mr McSporran then asked if Mr Mackinnon had had a knife with him when they went out in the early hours of November 23rd. No, said Mr Millar. “How do you know?” he was asked. “I never saw one,” he replied.
When asked why all mobile phone activity had stopped on his phone during a period between 23:34pm and 2:02am he said he had no reason to use it and it had been ‘pouring with rain’.
Mr McSporran asked him about what he had told police about that night and referred to his statement in which he is recorded as saying it was ‘spitting rain’. Mr Millar said he had obviously made a mistake as the way he remembered it was that there was heavy rain.
In the period of time when neither Mr Millar nor Mr Mackinnon had used their phones, Mr McSporran asked what they were doing.
He said it had taken half an hour to 40 minutes to get to Anderson Road with Liam as he was stopping all the time and trying car doors.
“Was there anybody else about?” asked Mr McSporran “Not that I can remember,” said Mr Millar.
After the period of inactivity on the phones they had both resumed activity and Johnathan Mackinnon had made several calls and Mr Millar had continued texting until 3:35am.
Mr McSporran said no murder weapon or the clothes removed from Liam’s Aitchison’s body had been found and he asked Mr Millar if he had disposed of items at sea? No, he said.
He asked Mr Millar what clothes Liam had borrowed from Mr Mackinnon that night. Dark bottoms, a dark top and trainers, he said.
Mr McSporran said Liam had been found in just a t-shirt, boxer shorts and socks and said: “Someone removed the clothing that belonged to Johnathan and left boxers, socks and a t-shirt.”
“They were Johnathan’s too,” said Mr Millar. “Do you want to tell me how you know that?” Mr McSporran asked. Mr Millar said Liam had changed them earlier that night. He then said he thought the boxer shorts were Liam's own.
The injuries to Liam’s body were highlighted by Mr McSporran who asked Mr Millar if Mr Mackinnon had asked him to stab Liam’s body too after he had inflicted injuries so they were both responsible? “No that’s not true,” said Mr Millar.
When asked about the evidence given by witness Dominic Long who said Mr Millar had told him that he and Mr Mackinnon had killed Liam, Mr Millar said Mr Long had got it wrong.
Mr McSporran asked him why he had given such fine detail in his account to Mr Long of what the police were accusing him of but had failed to say he had gone into town and not to Steinish.
“You omitted to tell him about your cast iron alibi,” said Mr McSporran.
The Prosecutor also asked about his relationship with Mr Mackinnon and how many houses he had been to with him in the past when he was dripping blood?
“Quite a few,” he replied. “He was bad for self harming.”
Defence Frances McMenamin asked him again about the knife in Mr Mackinnon’s bedroom and asked of the night they had gone out: “As far as you were concerned, he didn’t have any knife or cleaver with him?” No, he said.
Of the questioning regarding his alleged confession to Dominic Long, Ms McMenamin asked: “Did you confess to Dominic Long?” No, he said.
Both accused deny the charges against them. The trial before Lord Kinclaven continues.
Further reports of today's proceedings will be added later this evening.