Murder trial hears nearly £200,000 found at Brian McKandie’s home by police

A police crime scene manager has told a court how officers recovered almost £200,000 while clearing out an alleged murder victim’s home.

Police began treating the death of Brian McKandie as a murder inquiry several days after his body was discovered at his rural cottage in Badenscoth, near Rothienorman, in March 2016.

Steven Sidebottom, 25, is on trial accused of murdering and robbing the 67-year-old at the house.

The police forensic team at the home of Brian McKandie, where almost £200,000 was found

The jury heard yesterday that it was not until officers began removing furniture from the property that the money was discovered.

The High Court in Aberdeen has heard that the cash, stored in biscuit tins and other items, was not found until almost seven weeks after officers first arrived on the scene.

Yesterday, the court heard evidence from Sergeant Stuart Fischer, who was in charge of the property until it was handed over to Mr McKandie’s family in July that year.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC asked him about the discovery.

He said: “Had there been any suspicion there was massive amounts of cash within the premises?” The officer replied: “There was nothing to suggest we would find what we did.”

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He was then asked about the circumstances of April 28 that year when the money was found.

He said: “That day we were trying to take all the items out of the house.”

Brian McKandie

The court also heard from Alison Smith, who had recently moved to the nearby area and got to know Sidebottom through drinking in the Vale Hotel in Fyvie in March and April 2016.

She said he had carried out jobs for her on a voluntary basis, such as chopping down a tree, but was never paid for them.

When asked about her perception of his financial situation she said: “I did not think he had a lot of money. I never saw Steven with a lot of money.”

She said he had asked for a loan of £350 to be used for his girlfriend’s new flat.

Sidebottom denies the charge against him and has launched two special defences.

The first of these claims he was elsewhere, including at his home at Crannabog Farm in Rothienorman, the Vale Hotel, the Co-op in Newmachar and St Peters Hall in Aberdeen at the time of the incident.

The other states that another man, from Bridge of Don, is responsible.

The trial, before Lord Uist, continues.