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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Trial hears of body in cupboard
Robert Mair
Robert Mair's body was found in the Northfield area
A tied-up body was found in a cupboard of an Aberdeen house, a murder trial has heard.

Police were called to 57-year-old Robert Mair's home because he had not been seen for several weeks, a jury was told.

Mr Mair's body was found at Kettlehills Crescent, Northfield, on 21 February.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Derek Carswell, 40, and Stephen Rankin, 32, denied charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

I noticed a strong smell, a smell I associate with decomposing bodies
Sgt Gail Craig
Grampian Police

Grampian Police sergeant Gail Craig, describing what happened when she arrived at the house, said a joiner had been called to force entry to the two-storey terraced house - but before the joiner arrived she was able to look through a glass panel of the front door.

There was a small lobby area in front of the stairs and a thick blue duvet was sticking out of a cupboard, she said.

Sgt Craig said: "Protruding from the duvet I saw what I thought was a knee dressed in denim jeans."

She told advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, that she went into the house after the lock had been forced.

"I noticed a strong smell, a smell I associate with decomposing bodies, basically," the officer said.

Knees together

"I walked forward towards the cupboard area and peered over the duvet to see what was inside the cupboard and to see if what I thought was a knee was actually what I thought it was.

"On looking over, without moving anything at that point, I saw a pair of legs, basically two knees together."

Kettlehills Crescent, Northfield, Aberdeen
A police inquiry was launched in the Northfield area

Below the knees, the ankles were tied together, she added.

Mr Scullion asked: "Was it clear there was a body in the cupboard?" She said: "Absolutely."

It is alleged that in January or February this year the two accused attacked Mr Mair at the house at 28, Kettlehills Crescent, grabbed him by the hair and neck, assaulted him with a weight and tied his arms, legs and mouth with duct tape and shoelaces.

The pair are also accused of trying to cover up the alleged murder by washing a blood-stained weight, wrapping up Mr Mair in a duvet and hiding the body in a cupboard.

Mr Carswell further denies charges of breach of the peace by threatening Mr Mair on an earlier occasion, theft, attempted theft and fraud.

It is alleged that he used Mr Mair's credit card to try to buy a television and accessories worth a total of 1,472.

Both men deny all the charges against them and Mr Rankin claims that he was acting under coercion if he did anything wrong.

The trial, which got under way on Thursday, continues.

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