A “cruel and calculated” killer who murdered a mechanic in his own home has been awarded more than £200,000 to cover his legal fees – and that figure is set to rise.
Steven Sidebottom was convicted by a jury in Aberdeen of beating handyman Brian McKandie to death and robbing him of a sum of money.
Mr McKandie, 67, was found dead at his cottage in Badenscoth, near Rothienorman in Aberdeenshire, on Saturday March 12, 2016.
Sidebottom was jailed for life over the brutal murder and later launched a bid to appeal against his conviction and sentence, which was refused.
And the Evening Express can now reveal details of the spiralling legal aid bill relating to the case.
The most recent figures available obtained through freedom of information legislation show a total of £206,914.95 has been granted, which paid for Sidebottom’s defence during trial and also his subsequent bid to appeal.
In its response to the information request, the Scottish Legal Aid board also stated: “Further sums are likely to be payable in relation to both the first instance and appeal proceedings.”
It added: “The total legal aid bills are not available as we have not yet received and finalised all accounts from all the legal representatives instructed in this case.”
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A spokesman for the Scottish Legal Aid Board said: “Legal aid being available to pay lawyers to represent an accused person in a serious criminal trial is an important part of our justice system, which in this case resulted in a conviction.
“Extended trials will have higher costs but we work with solicitors to ensure that public funds are protected and we only pay for work that is required.”
Sidebottom was handed a life sentence when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh in March.
Judge Lord Uist ordered him to spend at least 21 years behind bars before he can be considered for release.
“The degree of violence used was severe and extreme,” he said.
“This was on any view a very brutal murder.”