Glasgow & West Scotland

Man denies 1999 'knife murder' in Coatbridge

Owen Brannigan
Image caption Owen Brannigan was stabbed to death in November 1999

A Scottish expat, extradited from Australia, has gone on trial for the murder of a man 17 years ago.

James McGowan, 58, pled not guilty to killing Owen Brannigan by repeatedly stabbing him at a house in Coatbridge, on 28 or 29 November 1999.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Mr McGowan's lawyer said another man called Thomas Stewart, who is now dead, was responsible for the alleged murder.

The accused also denies assaulting Thomas Duggan on 28 November 1999.

Mr McGowan's lawyer Murray Macara lodged the special defence of incrimination on the first day of proceedings against his client.

The jury heard that Mr Brannigan was once married to Mr McGowan's sister Carol and that the marriage ended in divorce.

They were told Mr Brannigan was repeatedly stabbed on the neck and body with a knife "or similar instrument".

Visit for funeral

Mr McGowan and his wife emigrated to Australia in 1980.

In November 1999 he travelled back to Scotland for his mother's funeral, which was held on November 22 1999.

The court heard how his return flight was booked for 10 December 1999.

On 29 November he visited British Airways and asked to rearrange his return flight to the "next available flight".

Jurors also heard that twice in July 2012, Mr McGowan phoned an Australian counselling service called On the Line.

Mr McGowan requested on both occasions that his calls weren't recorded. However, the calls were recorded in "error".

The jury was told the calls were accurately transcribed and the transcription forms part of a Crown document.

Scottish police officers travelled to Australia and in March 2016, the accused was placed in their custody and was "extradited" to Britain.

The case is being prosecuted by Alex Prentice QC.

The trial, before judge Lady Scott, continues.

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