LIAM AITCHISON MURDER TRIAL: Day 8 Part 2

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Further evidence at the trial of Johnathan Mackinnon (22) and Stefan Millar (22) - accused of murdering Liam Aitchison in November 2011 - came from Lena Dawson (22), a hairdresser from Stornoway today (Monday).

She said she had been at the derelict house in Steinish with friends six or seven years ago and Johnathan Mackinnon had turned up and smashed a window.

Miss Dawson said she had been camping with a group of friends near the house - the property where Liam Aitchison's body was found - on one occasion and another when they had entered the house and stayed there.

She said they had been drinking in the house and that most of their bottles and cans had probably been left in the house when they left. She said there was no electricity in the house and they had used artificial lights from mobile phones. They had stayed in a room which she believed was the main room of the house.

She said Johnathan Mackinnon had come to the house but had not been part of their group and was an unwelcome visitor. He was associated with another member of the group. She said he had only stayed about five minutes but had broken a window.

“Did he come into the room you were camping in?” Prosecutor Iain McSporran asked. She said he had not. She was shown a picture of a scene from the house with empty bottles but she said the bottles were not from her group’s visit as they had not been drinking Budweiser or Magners.

Final witness of the day was Dr Lisa Cameron, a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Pyschologist employed by NHS Greater Glasgow.

Dr Cameron had provided the defence with a report on last week’s witness Mr Dominic Long (17).

Mr Long was a former cell mate of the accused Stefan Millar and said in court last week that Mr Millar had told him that he and Mr Mackinnon had killed Liam Aitchison.

Dr Cameron was asked to give a Psychologist’s opinion on Mr Long’s cognitive and memory functions given his ADHD diagnosis and substance abuse difficulties.

She said she had not seen Mr Long face to face but was able to comment given his records and that there had been tests of his cognitive functions. She said people with ADHD could suffer cognitive and memory difficulties but this was likely to be linked to initial encoding of information.

Defence QC Frances McMenamin asked if the information received was not encoded appropriately, could that person then give a false account later on.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran asked if the nature of the information could affect the person’s ability to recall it? Yes, replied Dr Cameron who said if information was ‘emotionally salient’.

He asked if a young man had been told that a person and another murdered someone by stabbling and beating and cutting their throat, and the person receiving the information felt this was wrong, would that be something which was 'emotionally salient'?

It could be, said Dr Cameron depending on whether this kind of conversation was a normalised experience from their life.

It was pointed out that Mr Long also had a history of alcohol and drug related problems and that he had undergone a detox programme when he arrived in prison in December 2011 when he shared a cell with Mr Millar.

Dr Cameron said she could only draw conclusions on the cognitive testing with caution as it had become clear that Mr Long had taken drugs on the day of the assessment.