The partially-clothed body of Liam Aitchison was found in a blood stained room in a derelict house at Steinish on Lewis, the High Court in Glasgow heard today (Friday).
The scene in the room ‘was one of themost horrendous scenes’ Scene Examiner Josie Busby (34) of the Scottish Police Authority had come across in her eight year career, she said.
Giving evidence to the court in the trial of Johnathan Mackinnon and Stefan Millar (both 22) who are charged with the murder of Liam Aitchison on November 23rd 2011, Ms Busby said she had been sent to Lewis to examine the scene following the discovery of the body on November 29th 2011.
Some of the photographs taken by Ms Busby were shown in court which showed Liam’s body in a room at the property where he had been found the day before by local volunteer coastguards.
She said there were ‘heavy blood stains’ on the carpet and near the body and blood on the walls. She also said there were teeth on the carpet.
“In my eight year career it was one of the worst scenes I’ve been to,” she said.
Evidence was also given by coastguard volunteer Ronald Maclean (40). He had been part of a team tasked to search farm buildings in the area in the search for Liam. He said they had searched farm buldings in the Mossend area and then had gone to Steinish where they had searched the old Bomb Dump. On finding nothing, they decided to search one more property - the derelict house.
He said they had entered the house by climbing through a broken glass panel on the door.
Describing what he saw when he entered the house, he said it was a mess with empty beer cans on the floor. They had gone through the house looking in rooms with him behind his colleague moving down the hall to the last room on the left, where they discovered Liam’s body.
“The boy’s body was lying on the floor,” he said describing that the only clothes on the body were a t-shirt, boxer shorts and a pair of socks.
He said they then left the building to get a hand held radio and to ‘by yourself a bit of time to get yourself together.’ They then called for the police to attend and then received a phone call from another team member who was a paramedic. He asked if they had checked if there were any signs of life , said Mr Maclean, which they hadn’t, so they returned to the house and checked.
He went on to say it was about ten minutes before the police arrived and in that time ‘a large white van appeared with three boys in it.’ The coastguard team were in a marked vehicle which would have been visible to any approaching vehicle. He told them to leave and they did.
He said they he had noticed signs of blood on the broken window going back out of the house.
In cross examination by defence lawyer Iain Paterson, he was asked if they had had to pull themselves up and through the gap to enter the building – the gap which had bits of glass round the edges. Yes, replied Mr Maclean. Mr Paterson also asked if they had entered the building during the day and whether it was daylight? “We could see easily,” said Mr Maclean, “It was not a problem to see.”
Earlier in the day evidence was given by a Steinish resident who told the court she ‘got a fright’ when she saw three people in hooded tops on the road to Steinish just after midnight on November 23rd 2011.
Mrs Donalda Kennedy (62) told the court she was driving home from visiting a friend between 12:15 and 12:30am and had been alarmed.
She said: “They pulled down their hoods and it was quite obvious that they didn’t want me to see their faces. They turned their backs and covered their faces and that is what left me very alarmed. I got a fright to be honest, it wasn’t normal behaviour.”
She said it had been very dark as the street lights are turned off at midnight but that it wasn’t unusual to see people on the road. She knew all the teenagers in the village and it wasn’t any of them, she said.
On arriving at her house, she rushed inside and ran upstairs to tell her husband about it. In her hurry, she left her handbag in the car and had to return outside when she heard vague voices from the three further down the road.
She had not reported this incident to the police until several days later when she heard on the news that a body had been found in Steinish.
In her statements to police, she had suggested the three were around five foot four to six but in court she said she couldn’t be certain.
Defence lawyer Iain Paterson questioned whether her sighting of the people could have been a little earlier, but no, she said, it was between 12:15 and 12:30.
Defence QC Frances McMenamin asked Mrs Kennedy if she knew of the derelict building in Steinish where Liam Aitchison’s body was found.
She said she did know of it but when asked if she knew it was used as a drinking den for young people, she said she had not known that.
Both men deny the charges against them. The trial continues before Lord Kinclaven.
Further reports of today's proceedings will be added later this evening.