Tayside and Central Scotland

Jeweller murder accused has theft and fraud charges dropped

Balbeggie Image copyright Kingdom News
Image caption Mr Gardner's body was found at his home in Balbeggie

A Bulgarian man accused of murdering a Perthshire jeweller has had theft and fraud charges against him dropped.

Nikola Zhulev, 30, is still charged with murdering 49-year-old Alan Gardner and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding his body.

He was formally acquitted at the High Court in Livingston of stealing Mr Gardner's Toyota 4x4 and valuables from his home in Balbeggie.

Closing speeches in Mr Zhulev's trial will be made today.

Prosecutors also withdrew a charge alleging that Mr Zhulev sold Mr Gardner's gold at a pawn shop and used his credit card to buy takeaway meals.

He was also found not guilty of driving the car without an MoT certificate and possessing and dealing in heroin in the days leading up to the discovery of Mr Gardner's body.

The jury watched a video recording of Mr Zhulev being interviewed by Det Con David Budd on 11 May 2015.

Det Con Budd asked him: "Are you going to tell us anything about what happened?"

Mr Zhulev replied: "No."

He then gave 'no comment' replies to questions about the last time he had contacted or seen Mr Gardner.

The trial before Lady Rae continues.

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