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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 22:41 GMT
Murder witness denies involvement
Elizabeth McCabe
Elizabeth McCabe went missing after a night out in 1980
A man once described in court as "a fighting machine" has denied he had anything to do with the murder of a nursery nurse more than 27 years ago.

Brian Lindsay, 50, was giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh during the trial of Vincent Simpson, 61.

Mr Simpson is accused of murdering Elizabeth McCabe, 20, whose naked body was found in Templeton Woods, Dundee.

He claims he has an alibi for the night she disappeared and that another, or others, were responsible for her death.

The trial has heard how Miss McCabe disappeared after leaving friends at Teazer's disco in Dundee city centre in the early hours of 11 February, 1980.

Her body was found 16 days later on the eve of her 21st birthday.

Mr Simpson, 61, of Camberley, Surrey, was living and working as a taxi driver in the village of Newtyle, near Dundee, at the time.

Severed hand

His lawyers have drawn up a list of 13 names, saying one or more of the men on the list could be the real killer. Mr Lindsay's name is first on the list.

The handbag Miss McCabe had been carrying was found close to Mr Lindsay's then home in the city's Logie Street.

The court heard that the former saw mill worker's own mum was terrified of him, claiming he had splintered her rib during a beating and punctured her lung.

The alleged incident - denied by Mr Lindsay - was said to have happened soon after he was released from a three-year prison sentence.

He had been jailed for a street fight in which a youth's hand was almost completely severed by a knife he was carrying.

Mr Lindsay also admitted that six months ago he was convicted of assaulting his wife after a drunken row.

In court he was accused by Mark Stewart QC, defending Simpson, of other violent incidents involving women, which Mr Lindsay denied.

Philip Carlin
Mr Carlin provided police with a DNA sample

In 1987 Sheriff Louden Cox QC described Mr Lindsay as a "fighting machine" after hearing details of a fight in Dundee.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Lindsay, now a machine technician working off-shore, about the events of February 1980.

Mr Lindsay described how he saw Miss McCabe with her friend Sandra Niven during a Sunday evening out but they never spoke.

As he left the pub, he said, she gave him a little wave and he returned the gesture.

Mr Prentice asked: "Did you have anything to do with her disappearance?" Mr Lindsay replied: "No, none whatsoever."

Asked if he could form a view about what happened to her, Mr Lindsay said he could not, then paused, wiping his eyes.

Mr Lindsay described Elizabeth as so shy that getting her to speak was like "drawing teeth".

"She was only a wee lassie and she wasn't street wise," said Mr Lindsay.

'Hell and back'

The trial has also heard claims that Mr Lindsay took Miss McCabe's virginity, leading to an argument between her and her friend Sandra, who had an on-off relationship with Mr Lindsay.

Earlier, retired taxi driver Philip Carlin, 65, told the trial how a senior police officer in the investigation had made up his mind that a taxi driver was the killer.

He said the detective had put taxi drivers "through hell and back".

Mr Carlin, who is also named on the list of possible suspects produced in court by Mr Simpson, complained about what happened when he tried to help the police in their murder hunt.

He told Det Insp William Hart he picked up two men and a girl on the night Miss McCabe disappeared who seemed to match her description.

Mr Carlin said. "His attitude was terrible to me - well all the taxi trade.

"He had made up his mind, without anything going for it, that one of the persons out there driving that night had done it."

Mr Carlin added: "It came to a stage, after two or three days, when he turns to me and said I done it. I was horrified."

The trial before judge Lord Kinclaven continues.

SEE ALSO
Woods body mistaken for mannequin
02 Nov 07 |  Tayside and Central
Witness tells trial of body find
01 Nov 07 |  Tayside and Central
Murder trial told of semen traces
31 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Court tears over murdered nurse
30 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Murder trial told of taxi caution
29 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Victim's mother in trial evidence
26 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Woods murder case call rejected
27 Sep 07 |  Tayside and Central

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