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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Trial hears of man's last moments
Robert Mair
Robert Mair was wrapped in a duvet and stuffed into his hall cupboard
Medics tried to piece together the last moments of a drug dealer found trussed up in a cupboard, a trial heard.

Pathologist Dr David Sadler said tying up Robert Mair, 57, could have played a part in his death.

Mr Mair, who supplied heroin to Aberdeen prostitutes, had been wrapped in a duvet and stuffed into his hall cupboard, head down.

Derek Carswell, 40, and Stephen Rankin, 32, both deny murder at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Mr Mair's wrists were secured behind his back with duct tape and his ankles were also bound. White shoe laces joined the wrist and ankle bindings.

Dr Sadler, 44, said: "We call this hog-tied. It is a very, very dangerous position in which to be tied."

Other injuries

He explained that shoulder and chest muscles would be affected as the wrists were pinned behind the back and, if face down, the abdomen would be compressed.

Dr Sadler said that both factors would affect breathing.

Mr Mair was found on 21 February when police broke into his home in Kettlehills Crescent in the Northfield area of Aberdeen.

Dr Sadler concluded that the cause of death was: "Head and neck trauma and possible restraint-related factors."

He went on to describe other injuries found on the dead man.

The pathologist said a T-shaped laceration on the man's scalp would have bled profusely even though it had not cut through to the bone and the skull was not fractured.

Credit card

There were other areas of bruising on Mr Mair's head as well as an injury to his jaw and upper lip.

"These are best explained by blows to both sides of the head and the mouth," said Dr Saddler.

Dr Sadler also said a fracture to the cartilage of one of Mr Mair's ribs could have been caused by someone kneeling on him to hold him down.

Mr Carswell and Mr Rankin are alleged to have travelled from their Ayrshire homes on 16 January and attacked Mr Mair by repeatedly striking him with a weight-lifters' weight and binding his arms and legs.

The two deny murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding the body in a cupboard.

Mr Carswell also denies stealing Mr Mair's BMW and his Alsatian dog, Travis, and trying to use the dead man's credit card to buy a TV set.

The trial continues.

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