Tayside and Central Scotland

Bridge of Earn man on trial over ex-partner's murder

Bridge of Earn death Image copyright Phil Hannah
Image caption Agnieszka Szefler was found dead at a house in Bridge of Earn in January

A woman went to her ex-partner's home to pick up her belongings just hours before she was found dead at the house, a court has heard.

Agnieszka Szefler's body was discovered at the property in Bridge of Earn, near Perth, in January 2015.

She had gone to pick up her possessions after her relationship broke up.

The Polish citizen's former partner Mohammed Ali Abboud denies murdering Ms Szefler. He also denies trying to cover up the crime.

On the first day of the trial, the High Court in Edinburgh heard from Ms Szefler's friend Aleksandra Pruszak, who said she had spoken to the 27-year-old on the morning of her death on 23 January.

Mrs Pruszak said Ms Szefler had left Scotland to take a teaching job in Kuwait, which was when her relationship with Mr Abboud ended.

Unanswered calls

She told prosecution lawyer Sheena Fraser that Ms Szefler flew to Edinburgh Airport on the morning of 23 January.

The teacher was going to pick up belongings from the house at Bridge of Earn, but she first visited Mrs Pruszak in Perth at about 11:00 the same morning to collect some boxes and a suitcase for her possessions.

The court heard that as the day progressed, Mrs Pruszak sent texts and made a number of calls to Ms Szefler's mobile phone.

She told Ms Fraser: "I tried to contact her but she didn't reply. She didn't answer my calls."

Prosecutors allege that Mr Abboud assaulted Mr Szefler by biting her and "striking her repeatedly" with a knife.

The Crown also claims he placed the knife under her body to "give the appearance that she had fallen on said knife", before striking himself to make it look like he had been assaulted.

Mr Abboud's lawyers have lodged a special defence with the court which states that he acted in self defence.

The trial, which is being held before judge Lord Uist, continues.

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