A friend of a north-east mechanic has told a court of the moment she phoned the police because she saw blood inside his property and later discovered he was dead.
Brian McKandie was found deceased inside his rural cottage in Badenscoth, near Rothienorman, in March 2016.
And Steven Sidebottom, 25, is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of murdering him and robbing money from his home.
Today the court heard from Kelly Dunbar, a friend of Mr McKandie’s, who took her car to the mechanic’s the day he was found with the intention of having him look at it ahead of an MOT.
She said she, her partner, and her daughter went up to the property but he was not there.
She said: “We thought that he wasn’t far away.”
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Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC asked: “Did you see his vehicles?”
She replied: “Both of them were there.”
The 42-year-old went on to say: “We went in the garage, he wasn’t there.
“We tried on his house door, we waited five minutes, we thought he must have been away with a customer’s car, we thought he could not be far, the cars were in the garage there but he did not come back.”
She said she went home and fed her horses but after no more than 20 minutes returned.
Mr McSporran asked: “Why did you go back?”
She replied: “Something wasn’t right.”
She went on to say that as she looked through the window she saw blood and her partner told her to call the police which she did.
The police, she said, arrived 20 minutes later alongside fire and ambulance crews and she was told to wait in her car which she did.
Mr McSporran asked: “Were you given the bad news?”
She confirmed they had.
Sidebottom, of Crannabog Farm in Rothienorman, denies the charge against him and has launched two special defences – one of alibi claiming he was elsewhere at the time of the crime and that another man is responsible.
The trial, before Lord Uist, continues.