A man accused of murder asked a hotel worker to clarify the time he had been in the premises on the day of the alleged incident after the police inquiry began, a court has heard.
Steven Sidebottom, 25, was charged with murder following the discovery of Brian McKandie’s body at his rural cottage in Badenscoth on March 12 2016.
Sidebottom is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen where he has denied the crime claiming he was at various other places, including the Vale Hotel in Fyvie, at the time of the mechanic’s death.
The court heard previously that the death was not initially treated as suspicious and it was not until the following week that a murder probe was opened.
Yesterday jurors heard from Goreta Soares, pictured below, the partner of Roderick Blacklaws, who runs the Vale Hotel in Fyvie.
The court was shown messages exchanged after an eight minute phone call between Ms Soares and Sidebottom on March 19 that year.
One sent by him read: “Weird situation, do you remember when I was in on Friday last weekend?”
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Ms Soares replies that he was there between “six and eight” as he was still there when “the folk club arrived half eight”, the court heard.
He said this was “perfect” and said police would likely be along to discuss this the next day, claiming they had been “banging” at his parents’ property trying to speak to them.
He added: “They must think I have done something wrong”.
The court previously heard the farm was not approached by officers until June that year.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC suggested to Ms Soares that Sidebottom had been telling her lies “for whatever reason”.
He said the reality was that officers “did not come along for months” and she agreed with this.
When pressed, she denied Sidebottom had been in the property until 8.30pm on Friday March 11 and, asked why she had said that, replied: “It must have been insinuated at some point.”
She went on to say she had been in the kitchen during this time period as she had been cooking and had not left to go into the bar.
Sidebottom, 25, also claims he was at his home at Crannabog Farm in Rothienorman, the Co-op in Newmachar and St Peters Hall in Aberdeen at the time of the 67-year-old’s death. He further claims another man, from Bridge of Don, was responsible.
The trial before Lord Uist continues.