Highlands & Islands

Woman sought answers about Liam Aitchison 'fight'

Liam Aitchison. Pic: Northern Constabulary
Image caption Sixteen-year-old Liam Aitchison was from South Uist

A former girlfriend of one of two men accused of murdering Liam Aitchison sought answers from the pair about an alleged fight involving the teenager.

Stefan Millar, of Inverness, and Johnathan MacKinnon, of Elgin, deny killing Liam, from South Uist, in November 2011.

The court heard claims earlier that the two men had fought with Liam.

Stephanie Flannigan said she asked her ex-boyfriend Mr MacKinnon and Mr Millar about the alleged incident.

The men are accused of murdering Liam in Steinish on Lewis.

Miss Flannigan said she had known Liam for a month or two before his death and had treated the 16-year-old "like a wee brother".

She said the last time she saw him was on 22 November 2011 before he went out with Mr MacKinnon and Mr Millar.

Miss Flannigan claimed that she got a phone call from Mr MacKinnon in the early hours of the following morning saying he had fought with Liam and asked if he got back to the house that he was staying at.

The court was also told of a number of text messages exchanged between Miss Flannigan and Mr Millar in the days after Liam was last seen.

Miss Flannigan said Liam would sometimes stay with her friend Peggy McLennan, also known as Pemma. Miss Flannigan was babysitting at Miss McLennan's home on the day she last saw Liam.

She said that at about 03:00 on 23 November Mr MacKinnon phoned her while he was drunk. He told her there had been a fight and Liam had then walked back to Miss McLennan's house, she claimed.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, asked: "What was the first thing he said to you?"

Miss Flannigan said: "He was asking if Liam got back okay."

She said she told Mr MacKinnon that Liam was not in but that she could not remember what he said in response.

The witness was taken to a statement she gave to the police in which she told officers about the early morning phone call.

She told officers: "The first thing he said was 'did Liam make it to Peggy's' he didn't say hi or anything like that."

The mother-of-one said in evidence she was annoyed at them for leaving Liam and that she had "had a go" at him for it.

Miss Flannigan claimed she did not know what the fighting was about or who hit Liam, but that he was hit.

She was referred to another part of a police statement in which she told officers that Liam was cheeky and Mr MacKinnon hit him.

Asked if that was correct, she said "yes".

'Truth please'

The court heard that a number of text messages were exchanged between Miss Flannigan and Mr Millar in the days after Liam was last seen.

A message sent on 24 November from Miss Flannigan to Mr Millar asked if he had heard from Liam, but he said he had not heard from him since he did not show up at Miss McLennan's house the morning before.

Another message was read out that was dated the same day to Mr Millar and said: "Why were him and Johnny nearly fighting?"

The jury heard Mr Millar replied: "Liam was just doing his head in."

Mr McSporran read a further message sent from Miss Flannigan to Mr Millar asking: "Is it true he was found in Steinish. What happened when he left yous truth please."

The prosecutor asked: "Why the need to say 'truth please'?" Miss Flannigan replied: "Stefan told me some lies before."

The court heard Mr Millar replied: "He said he was going to go down to Pemma's I swear."

She confirmed she also sent Mr Millar a message asking if he thought Mr MacKinnon had "done anything" to Liam and that he replied saying that he did not and they were together all night.

Bottle of vodka

The court also heard from a former girlfriend of Mr Mackinnon, Amy Burns, who said she had seen Liam bring a bottle of vodka to Mr Mackinnon's house on the night he was allegedly killed.

She told the court Liam put a bottle of vodka on a table when he went into the house.

The court was told that the following day she went to Mr Mackinnon's house after she finished college and that he asked Mr Millar to come round.

Mr McSporran referred to a police statement in which Miss Burns said: "I was asking Johnny why Stefan was coming over, this was before Stefan arrived.

"Johnny said he needed to speak to him. I asked him what he needed to speak about and he wouldn't tell me. I kept asking him he kept saying it didn't matter. I thought it was a wee bit strange."

Mr McSporran asked the witness: "Whatever he wanted to speak to Stefan about that Wednesday you wanted to know and he wouldn't tell you?"

Miss Burns answered: "Yes."

The trial before judge Lord Kinclaven continues.

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