A man accused of murdering a north-east mechanic in his rural cottage told police he had “no idea who was responsible”.
Brian McKandie was found dead in his home at Badenscoth, near Rothienorman, in March 2016.
Steven Sidebottom is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of murdering and robbing him.
The court heard yesterday that Sidebottom was taking home just £27 a month after child maintenance from his work on his family’s farm.
Constable Lauren Duthie was one of the officers who interviewed Sidebottom in October 2016, which was the second time he was spoken to by police.
Jurors heard she spoke to him after an inconsistency emerged from his initial interview – he told officers he had been at the property of Mr McKandie on the Wednesday before he died, but the family who saw him there said it was on Thursday.
The transcript of the interview which was read aloud stated he had no explanation for this, but he had not been there for two nights running.
It also said he was “definitely not at Brian’s on Friday evening” as he was “working on the family farm” before he “got finished at 4.30pm, got washed” and “left for Aberdeen”.
He said he stopped at a hotel in Fyvie between 5pm and 6pm and stopped at the Co-op in Newmachar.
The 25-year-old’s statements went on to say he arrived at his girlfriend’s, who stayed in St Peters Hall, “between 8pm and 9pm” before they went out drinking at Triple Kirks and Slains Castle.
He said he spent the weekend with her and it was only on Sunday he found out Mr McKandie had died.
His statement concluded: “I have no idea who could be responsible for Mr McKandie’s murder.”
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Earlier in the day, Susan Sidebottom, the accused’s mother, gave evidence.
She said he was paid £200 a month as part of his retainer package, which included him being given accommodation, clothes and food, but £173 of this went on child maintenance towards his daughter.
Defence counsel Ian Duguid asked her whether he had done a week’s work in a forestry firm and had returned and given her £600 from this and she confirmed he had.
Sidebottom, of Crannabog Farm, denies the charge against him and has launched two special defences, one that he was elsewhere at the time and another that a man from Bridge of Don was responsible.
The trial, at the High Court in Aberdeen before Lord Uist, continues.