A north-east mechanic found dead in his home was seen standing with two men in his garden with a concerned look on his face the day before he died, a court has heard.
Steven Sidebottom, 25, is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of murdering and robbing Brian McKandie at his rural cottage at Badenscoth, near Rothienorman, in March 2016.
The court previously heard officers had launched an appeal to trace two men and a maroon coloured vehicle although it later became clear that the details of the car were incorrect.
Yesterday jurors heard evidence from Royan Ewan, a tyre delivery driver, who got in touch with investigating officers to pass on some information.
He said he often drove past Mr McKandie’s home as part of his job and would see him standing outside and would honk his horn to acknowledge him.
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Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC asked Mr Ewan: “At some point in March 2016 were you attended on by police officers coming to your place of work to take a statement?”
He replied: “Correct.”
He was then asked: “How did that come about?”
The 77-year-old replied: “They were appealing for anybody that saw a maroon vehicle at the roadside, I volunteered myself.”
Mr Duguid then asked him who he saw at the rural cottage.
He replied: “Two people standing and Mr McKandie.”
He explained he had initially thought the incident took place on Friday March 11, when the alleged murder was said to have happened, but after checking his work records realised it must have been the day before
Describing what he saw, he said: “A maroon car parked.
“I was always looking out for Brian because of my friendship with him.
“I would always give him a peep in the car and he could give a wave back.
“There was two gentlemen standing, one was a well-dressed person, quite well built, the other one by his side.
“Mr McKandie was quite further away from the two that were standing.
“To me he looked quite concerned. He wasn’t the Brian I knew. There was no wave that time.”
Sidebottom, of Crannabog Farm, denies the charge against him.
He has launched a special defence of alibi, claiming that another man, from Bridge of Don, is responsible for the alleged crime.
The trial, before Lord Uist, continues.