Tens of thousands of pounds found stashed in biscuit tins at Brian McKandie’s home

Police discovered tens of thousands of pounds hidden in carrier bags and biscuit tins in the home of Brian McKandie more than a month after he was found dead, a murder trial has heard.

The comments were made during the trial at the High Court in Aberdeen of Steven Sidebottom, who is accused of murdering Mr McKandie.

The court heard the pensioner had cash hidden under a bed and in cupboards and drawers at his home at Badenscoth, Rothienorman.

He had rolls of bank notes held together with rubber bands stashed in Quality Street, Toblerone and shortbread tins, as well as loose and in carrier bags.

The 67-year-old was found dead at his cottage on March 12, 2016.

Sidebottom denies murdering Mr McKandie and robbing him of a sum of money.

The 24-year-old has lodged a special defence of alibi.

During the second day of the trial the court heard evidence from police scene examiners, including John Dingwall who took photographs of the money.

John Dingwall

The money was not discovered until Thursday, April 28, 2016, at which point Mr Dingwall was asked to document the finds photographically.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC showed the court a series of images of the sums of money found at the scene. One image showed a Quality Street tin, a Toblerone tin and a biscuit tin with a floral pattern on a bed, with carrier bags containing stacks of bank notes inside.

Describing the contents of the Quality Street tin Mr McSporran said it was “pretty well-stuffed with rolls of bank notes”.

Mr Dingwall replied: “That’s correct.”

A red tin was also found in a cupboard stuffed with money, with loose stacks also discovered. Mr McSporran asked Mr Dingwall if the cash found would be thousands rather than hundreds.

He replied: “Oh yes, it’s thousands.”

Mr McSporran said: “Tens of thousands?”

Mr Dingwall replied: “Yes.”

Julie Goodeve, another police scene examiner, also gave evidence and said it was initially believed Mr McKandie had died in an accident.

Julie Goodeve

She told the court: “I think it was being treated as some sort of accident, that the gentleman had had an accident outside and had fallen into the flowerbed and come into the house to try and seek help.”

Jurors were also shown images at the scene within Mr McKandie’s home as well as of his body, which was found in the living room.

He appeared to be wearing a dark jumper over a light coloured shirt, blue jeans and dark socks.

The court heard firefighters had to smash the living room window to gain access and move his body, which was leaning against the living room door.

Images from the scene showed blood in a flowerbed of snowdrops outside the property and snowdrops were also found by Mr McKandie’s hand in the living room.

Blood staining was also shown in the front doorway, hallway, living room and bedroom. Mr McSporran asked Ms Goodeve: “Did you notice a shape in the blood on the bed?”

She replied: “Yes, it looks like a hand.”

Due to the incident initially being believed to be an accident, forensic suits were not worn by those attending, the court heard.

Mr McSporran asked Ms Goodeve if the scene was protected when she first arrived on Saturday, March 12, the day after Mr McKandie died, with people wearing protective suits.

She said: “No. The scene wasn’t at that point.”

He said: “None of the people who were going in and out of the house at that point had on forensic suits?”

She replied: “No.”

Mr McSporran said: “And so you would have a scene in which you might find contamination by people who had arrived after the man had passed away?”

Ms Goodeve said: “Yes.”

Ian Duguid QC, representing Sidebottom, asked Ms Goodeve: “When this became a murder investigation, then all of the people who had been in the premises unprotected had to provide an elimination sample to exclude their own DNA?”

Ms Goodeve replied: “Yes.”

Cameron Forbes

Meanwhile, Cameron Forbes, another police scene examiner, said during his evidence that they ran out of touch tape for taking fingerprints due to the extent of the investigation.

The trial, before Lord Arthurson, continues.

Charges for the trial

Steven Sidebottom is accused of robbing Brian McKandie of money and murdering him after repeatedly striking him on the head and body with an unidentified blunt implement or implements.
The offence is alleged to have taken place on March 11, 2016, at Fairview Cottages, Badenscoth, Rothienorman. Sidebottom denies the charge.