No murder weapon was found in the investigation into the death of Liam Aitchison, the Court heard from the final witness for the Prosecution earlier today (Friday).
In the 12th day of the trial of Johnathan Mackinnon and Stefan Millar (both 22), the court heard from Detective Sergeant Iain Morrison (41) who is based in Stornoway and was the Deputy Investigating Officer in the murder enquiry.
He said no murder weapons had been found and the remainder of Liam Aitchison’s clothes and any bearing his blood had not been recovered.
Prosecutor Mr Iain McSporran asked if in the course of the investigation they had been given witness accounts that were demonstrably untrue. He said that was correct and also confirmed that they had identified people who were likely to have information who refused to give that information.
Mr Morrison said as part of the course of the enquiry he had walked the routes between the accused Johnathan Mackinnon’s home in Plasterfield to the house in Steinish and had taken both routes – walking the main road along the Steinish road and also another route along back roads turning off at North Street to 17 Steinish. He had also walked the route from Mr Mackinnon’s home in Plasterfield to Fusion takeaway area where Mr Mackinnon and Mr Millar say they were in the early hours of November 23rd. All journeys walking at a comfortable pace had taken 23 to 24 minutes.
In cross examination he was asked if the journey could have taken considerably longer if a person had been drunk. Defence lawyer Mr Paterson drew attention to the toxicology reports which had shown a very high level of alcohol in Liam Aitchison’s body.
Mr Morrison responded: “It would depend on the person’s ability at the time. I have seen people who are three or four times the limit for driving who have been able to walk quite well.”
Mr Paterson also pointed out that two of the numbers, which Johnathan Mackinnon’s phone had called in the early hours of the 23rd, were for residents living in the Cearns.
Defence QC Frances McMenamin also asked if Mr Morrison was aware of there being people in the Cearns who cannabis could be purchased from. He agreed.
Steinish resident saw three males
At the start of the defence case, evidence was heard from Calum Smith (46), a Steinish resident.
Mr Smith, a Divinity student, had spoken to police in December 2011 as part of their door-to-door enquiries in the course of the murder investigation. He said his home was in Stewartfield just before Steinish village and that one evening he had seen three youths walking down the road.
“The first reason I was suspicious was because I had never seen them before or since,” he said. “I was going out to take in my car into the driveway. I started checking round my car because I was so suspicious of these three lads. They were wearing tops and all had the hoods up.”
He said one of them had been carrying a white plastic bag. It had been some time between 8pm and 10pm one evening between the 21st and 24th of November. He said he could not be certain but that he was leaning towards it being the 22nd as there had been an important church meeting on that day and he had been speaking to someone about it.
He was asked about the weather conditions and said it had been dry but the three males had their hoods up.
Accused may have cut himself at Steinish house years ago
Johnathan Mackinnon may have cut himself and been bleeding on a visit to the house in Steinish where he and Stefan Millar are alleged to have murdered Liam Aitchison.
A witness called by the Defence team, Jonathan Nape (24) said he had been living on Lewis from February 2006 to June 2007 and during that time he and a group of friends had been camping near to the derelict house in Steinish where Liam’s body was discovered.
Mr Nape said that three youths had come to the house when his group were there and that Johnathan Mackinnon had been one of them. He said they had thrown stones at the windows and that Mr Mackinnon had entered the building through a window. He said in his statement to police that Mr Mackinnon had cut himself when coming out of the building and had cried out with pain because he had hurt himself. He said Mr Mackinnon had become angry and kicked over a bin outside the building. When questioned further he said he could not be certain if Mr Mackinnon had cut himself on the way in or the way out of the building.
Both men deny the charges against them. The trial continues before Lord Kinclaven.