Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Taxi driver Stephen Nolan found guilty of murdering Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo

Stephen Nolan
Image caption Stephen Nolan had denied murdering Ebrahim Aryaie Neko

A cab driver who used his taxi as a weapon in an Edinburgh park has been found guilty of murder.

Stephen Nolan, 48, from Edinburgh, had denied chasing and murdering Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo, 41, in his black cab in Saughton Park on 24 March 2012.

A post mortem found a broken skull, 40 rib fractures which had torn into his lungs, a smashed pelvis and a wound to Mr Aryaie Nekoo's thigh.

Nolan is due to be sentenced next month.

A Vauxhall Zafira, used by Mr Aryaie Nekoo as a private hire taxi, was parked nearby with the lights still on when he was found.

Run over

Jurors at the High Court in Edinburgh were shown tell-tale tyre tracks which prosecutors claimed showed how Mr Aryaei Nekoo was chased by Stephen Nolan at the wheel of his black cab.

Despite the efforts of other passers-by, including trained first aider Anne-Marie Hoy who was on her way to work at a nearby care home, and an ambulance paramedic, Mr Aryaei Nekoo died before he could be taken to hospital.

Mr Aryaei Nekoo's injuries were consistent with being run over by a vehicle, said pathologist Dr Clare Bryce.

The court heard marks which could have been caused by clothing were found under Nolan's black cab although forensic scientists were unable to say how Mr Aryaei Nekoo might have come to be under the wheels.

The trial was told that Nolan drove to the city's Wester Hailes police station and told officers that the death was an unexplained accident.

He claimed it had happened after Mr Aryaei Nekoo had threatened him with a knife.

"Without a shadow of a doubt" the knife was still near to where the body had been, Nolan said.

No knife

Police sent an expert search team back to the Saughton Park crime scene, which had already been searched once.

Apart from a small knife found in a sealed Tupperware box in the Zafira, along with fruit peelings, there was no blade.

Sitting in court to hear the unanimous verdict was widow Mobina Jafari, 32, who has gone back to Iran to live since her husband's death.

Police collision expert Jack McBirnie showed the trial a map of tyre marks found in the car park at the Fords Road end of Saughton Park.

Mr McBirnie said gravel and stones had been scattered as the vehicle accelerated hard, back end swinging from side to side.

Nolan's cab had also driven at the door of Mr Aryaei Nekoo's Zafira, damaging it so that it would not shut properly.

Nolan did not give evidence but defence QC Donald Findlay said Mr Aryaei Nekoo went to Saughton Park for "a physical confrontation." The lawyer also claimed that police searches for a knife had not been thorough.

Det Insp Stuart Houston, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "The loss of Mr Nekoo has had a massive impact on his wife and family both in Scotland and his native Iran.

"As part of the police investigation it was established that prior to this incident Mr Nekoo and Nolan had a disagreement over a disputed insurance claim with no other previous contact. This appears to have been the catalyst for the events on that day."

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