[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Trial told of footprint in blood
Robert Mair
Robert Mair's body was found in a cupboard in Aberdeen
A footprint in blood matched trainers belonging to a man accused of murder in Aberdeen, a trial has heard.

The footprint was inside a duvet used to wrap the body of Robert Mair, 57, who was found tied up in a cupboard in his house.

Police found the trainers at a house where Stephen Rankin, 32, was staying.

Mr Rankin and Derek Carswell, 40, deny murdering Mr Mair, whose body was found in Kettlehills Crescent in February. The trial continues.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that police found white trainers at a house in Galston, Ayrshire, where Mr Rankin was staying.

They are both big laddies
Stephen Rankin

When Mr Rankin was questioned by detectives he was asked if he had the trainers at the time of the incident in Mr Mair's house.

"Every chance", Mr Rankin said. "I don't know 100%. Every chance."

Asked about the footprint, he suggested that it might have got there when he jumped on the bed in Mr Mair's room.

Earlier, Mr Rankin described how he had tried to step in and stop a fight when Mr Carswell and Mr Mair were "wrestling round on the floor".

He added: "They are both big laddies."

Mr Rankin told Detective Sergeant Kevin Walker he had played no part in any attack and that Mr Carswell hit Mr Mair on the back of the head with a weight.

Run away

A tape recording of the interview on 3 March was played to the jury.

They heard that Mr Rankin said nothing about the late-night visit to Mr Mair's home - until detectives told him they had been talking to others about the incident.

Mr Rankin claimed he had run from the Aberdeen house as soon as Mr Mair had been struck with the weight.

Later he said he had been "kidnapped" and forced to stay in the house for four hours.

Defence QC Ian Duguid, for Mr Carswell, pointed out that Mr Rankin had described the weight used as a weapon as red - but the set of weights in the Kettlehills Crescent house were a golden, yellowish colour.

Kettlehills Crescent, Northfield, Aberdeen
The police inquiry centred around the Kettlehills Crescent area

Mr Mair's body was discovered after police forced their way into his house on 21 February.

His Alsatian dog, Travis, and his dark blue BMW with personalised number plate were missing.

It has been alleged that in January or February this year the two accused attacked Mr Mair at the house at 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 have also been 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 has further denied charges of breach of the peace by threatening Mr Mair on an earlier occasion, theft, attempted theft and fraud.

Both men have denied all the charges against them and Mr Rankin claimed that he was acting under coercion if he had done anything wrong.


SEE ALSO
Jury told of 'corrupt councillor'
19 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles
Murder accused was 'changed man'
18 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles
Man 'beaten to death with weight'
14 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles
Trial hears of body in cupboard
13 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific