Brother of Brian McKandie gives evidence at murder trial

Brian McKandie was found dead at his home near Rothienorman

The brother of Brian McKandie, who was found dead in his North-east home, was not told there were any suspicious circumstances of the death until he had returned from holiday, a trial has heard.

William McKandie this morning told the High Court in Aberdeen he received a phone call from police to advise of his brother’s death while he was on holiday visiting family in Australia.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC asked him: “Were you given any indication there were any suspicious circumstances around his death?”

He replied: “As far as I was concerned there weren’t any suspicious circumstances.

“I just made arrangements to come back home and see to his burial.”

Mr McSporran QC said: “Was there a point as the days went on and you arrived back in Scotland that you were advised there were suspicious circumstances?”

Mr McKandie replied: “I went to my sister in law’s in Ellon and the police met me there that night and told me it’s now a murder investigation.”

Asked if he could think of any reason why anyone would want to murder his brother, he replied he could not.

William McKandie described his brother as “frugal” as the court was told he had visited a bank earlier on the day he died to deposit a cheque which was an insurance settlement following a fire in his home.

Steven Sidebottom is on trial accused of murdering Brian McKandie on March 11, 2016 at the pensioner’s Rothienorman home.

He denies the charge and previously entered a special defence of alibi.

On the first day of evidence in the trial scene examiner Julie Goodeve also gave evidence and said it was initially believed Mr McKandie had died in an accident.

She told the court: “I think it was being treated as some sort of accident, that the gentleman had had an accident outside and had fallen into the flowerbed and come into the house to try and seek help.”

Jurors were also shown images of blood-soaked carpets and furniture within Mr McKandie’s home at as well as of Mr McKandie’s body which was found in the living room.

The trial continues.