Glasgow & West Scotland

Murdered Zoe Nelson 'rowed with family'

Zoe Nelson
Image caption Zoe Nelson's body was discovered in Wishaw last May

A teenage girl found badly burned in woods in Lanarkshire rowed with her family before leaving home for the last time, a court has heard.

Zoe Nelson, a 17-year-old mechanics student, left her home with her boyfriend Robert Bayne on 22 May 2010.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard she fought with her younger sister, who was also involved with Mr Bayne, and argued with her mother.

Mr Bayne, 21, of Cambusnethan, Wishaw, has denied murdering Miss Nelson.

Mrs Marieann Nelson, 40, told the court the rival sisters came to blows at her home in Crindledyke Crescent, Newmains.

Laura Anne Nelson, now 17, was getting "a bit upset" when Mr Bayne and Zoe were leaving the house together.

"Laura Anne ran out and flicked Zoe's hair and tried to slap her face and the two of them ended up having a fight at the end of the driveway," said Mrs Nelson. "I split it up."

"I said, 'Go away you cow and don't come back'.

"She said she wouldn't come back."

Mrs Nelson went to Wishaw police station two days later to report her daughter missing.

By that time her charred remains had been found at a spot known locally as Monkey Hill.

The court also heard that Laura Anne Nelson waited five days to tell police she had seen her sister's badly burned body in woods.

Miss Nelson previously told the court Mr Bayne took her to see the body on the outskirts of Wishaw on 23 May.

The body was found later that day by a trails bike enthusiast.

When questioned by police on 25 May about Zoe's death, Miss Nelson told them: "I don't know who would have done this."

However, when Miss Nelson gave a third statement to police on 28 May that she described how Mr Bayne had taken her to see the body on Monkey Hill.

She later led police officers to the spot where her sister lay.

Supermarket trip

Questioned by defence QC Neil Murray, Miss Nelson said she had given police a reason for her silence and not telling her parents.

"I did not tell them about this because I was scared my mum would not believe me and think it was me who killed Zoe," she said.

The trial also heard from Mr Bayne's grandmother, Margaret Bayne, 64, who said he did not leave the house on 23 May except to visit a local supermarket.

She said her unemployed grandson was washing the car to earn money, then together they left the house in Harper Crescent, Cambusnethan, Wishaw, where Mr Bayne lived with his grandparents, for a trip to Asda.

"I am absolutely positive he did not go out on Sunday," said Mrs Bayne.

Knife attack

Mr Bayne denies murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Mr Bayne is accused of attacking Zoe Nelson with a knife at Monkey Hill, near Branchalfield Drive, Cambusnethan, putting a plastic sheet over her head to restrict her breathing and then setting fire to her on 22 May 2010.

He also denies an earlier attack on her by punching her on the head and scratching her and, on another occasion, committing a breach of the peace by threatening her.

It is also claimed that after the murder, he tried to cover up his alleged crime by setting fire to Zoe's body, washing his clothes, dumping her mobile phone and telling police that someone else was responsible.

It is also claimed he disclosed the whereabouts of Zoe's body to her sister, then threatened her and implied he would kill her if she told what she had seen.

The trial before judge Lady Dorrian continues.

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