Tayside and Central Scotland

Murder accused Steven Jackson said 'I've cut Kim up'

Montrose death
Image caption The officer said Steven Jackson told him he killed and dismembered Kimberley MacKenzie

A man told a police officer that he killed a woman and chopped her up, a court has heard.

PC Michael Woodburn told the High Court in Glasgow that Steven Jackson made the confession at his home in Montrose and later at a police station.

Mr Jackson, 40, is on trial along with 29-year-old Michelle Higgins for murdering and dismembering Kimberley MacKenzie on 27 October last year.

They both deny the charges against them.

Steven Jackson and Michelle Higgins are accused of murdering Ms MacKenzie by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument at 40a Market Street.

'In the bath'

They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by dismembering her body using a saw, knives and a screwdriver and wrapping parts of her body in bin liners and bags and hiding them in bins at the property and at three other sites in Montrose between 27 October and 4 November last year.

PC Woodburn told the court that when he was at Steven Jackson's home, the accused said: "I've cut Kim up."

The constable also told the court that later in the police station, Mr Jackson said: "I thought you guys would have known I killed her because, when I was arrested on Friday on a warrant, Kim was in the bath."

Image caption Kimberley MacKenzie's body was discovered in Montrose in October 2015

Later the police officer said he learned that a body part had been found.

He said: "When I heard a body part had been found, my heart sank."

The jury was told that PC Woodburn had written in his notebook that Mr Jackson told him: "I've cut up Kim's body with a saw in my bath. I took her to a silage plant and fed her to the pigs."

The accused then told the officer that he chopped her up by removing her arms and legs from her torso and cutting off her head and added: "I had concealed Kim's body parts behind a tumble drier."

'Drinking tea'

The policeman said Steven Jackson also told him he had deposited body parts in bins close to his home.

The court heard that PC Woodburn looked behind the tumble drier, which was out from the wall, and found no body parts, although there was some duct tape.

Donald Findlay QC, defending Mr Jackson, said that his client denied ever using the words "I killed her". However, PC Woodburn replied: "Mr Jackson sat in a chair drinking tea and told me 'I killed Kim MacKenzie'."

Mr Findlay then said: "He told you that Michelle Higgins killed her didn't he?" The witness replied: "Yes, he also said he slit her throat."

The QC said: "You thought she was alive then?" PC Woodburn replied: "Why would you slit someone's throat if she wasn't alive?"

'Good reason'

Mr Findlay said: "Mr Jackson did not conceal from you that he had been involved in the actions which involved the dismemberment and disposal of Kim MacKenzie." The police officer replied: "Those were the words he told me."

The QC added: "One of the first things he said to you was that Michelle, with a hammer, had killed Kimberley MacKenzie by striking her on the head several times." The police officer replied: "Yes".

The jury was told that PC Woodburn had not written down the alleged confession in the police station, but had noted it afterwards.

Defence counsel for Michelle Higgins, Mark Stewart QC, also questioned the police officer. He asked: "The dismembering and disposal of a body, you would want to have a good reason to get involved?" PC Woodburn replied: "Yes."

The QC went on: "Mr Jackson offers nothing about that other than his confession to murder, is that correct?" and PC Woodburn said: "Yes."

Mr Stewart said it made no sense for Steven Jackson to have come across the body, cut it up and then disposed of it. The policeman agreed.

'Smell became unbearable'

Insp Marcus Lorente later told the court he had found a body part in a wheelie bin in the common close outside Mr Jackson's flat.

He said that as he entered the door of the common close he could smell "death".

"It was a smell I've smelled before dealing with sudden deaths, with people who have been decomposing for some time," he said.

The officer found what he thought might be tiny bloodspots on the entrance hall floor.

He also told the jury that the bathroom was very clean and smelled of cleaning products and added: "Given the chaotic lifestyle Mr Jackson had it stood out."

Speaking about finding the body part in the bin he said: "I immediately found a square package. It was the only item in the bin. The smell became stronger."

He added: "Prior to opening it I noticed it was disproportionately heavy for the size of package. It was a small package, but it was quite heavy.

"I lifted it out and pressed the package and on doing so I could feel hard and soft bits like feeling my own ribcage.

"There were several layers. I had to effectively burst them open to get at what was within. I was of the opinion I was looking at a human torso.

"The smell became unbearable for the officers standing nearby."

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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