Tayside and Central Scotland

Man found guilty of Montrose body in bins murder

Steven Jackson Image copyright Paul Reid
Image caption Steven Jackson was convicted following a five-week trial

A man has been found guilty of the 'depraved' murder of a mother-of-three and cutting up and hiding her body parts in bins.

Steven Jackson, 40, battered and stabbed former partner Kimberley MacKenzie at a flat in Montrose before cutting up her body in a bathtub.

Ms MacKenzie, 37, sustained at least 11 blows to the head and was stabbed more than 40 times.

A murder charge against co-accused Michelle Higgins was found not proven.

But the 29-year-old was found guilty of helping to dispose of Ms MacKenzie's remains.

'Horrific depraved crimes'

Judge Lady Rae told Jackson and Higgins: "I have difficulty finding appropriate words to describe these horrific, depraved crimes."

She said to the jury: "This is one of the most distressing cases I have ever heard."

The verdicts followed a five-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Jackson and Higgins will be sentenced at the High Court in Livingston on 17 January.

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Kimberley MacKenzie was stabbed more than 40 times

The trial was told Jackson targeted Kimberley MacKenzie in a frenzied attack with two knives, a hammer and a large paint scraper on 27 October last year

The following day he chopped up her body in the bath and, with the assistance of girlfriend Higgins, dumped the body parts in four bins in Montrose.

The pair were captured on CCTV walking through the streets of Montrose carrying a child's rucksack and a green suitcase containing more body parts including Ms MacKenzie's head.

The suitcase and rucksack were dumped by the pair at a property and put in the shower cubicle.

Image copyright Paul Reid
Image caption Michelle Higgins was found guilty of helping Jackson dispose of his victim's body

During the trial, each of the accused blamed the other for murdering Ms MacKenzie.

Higgins claimed that she was so terrified of Jackson that she helped him dispose of Ms MacKenzie's body after he had killed her.

In her evidence to the trial, Higgins said Jackson launched the attack minutes after Ms MacKenzie visited the home she and Jackson shared in Montrose's Market Street.

As she sat in an armchair drinking a cup of tea and chatting to Higgins, Jackson walked up to Ms MacKenzie and hit her on the right side of the head with a hammer.

The force of the blow knocked her to the ground and, as she lay helpless, Jackson stabbed her more than 40 times before bludgeoning her again on the head with the hammer.

The final blow to Ms MacKenzie's head was with a large paint scraper.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Jackson and Higgins were captured on CCTV following the attack

As she lay dying from massive head injuries, Jackson and Higgins went out to buy heroin and were captured on CCTV walking hand-in-hand through Montrose High Street.

The following day, the pair dragged her body into the bath and butchered it after Higgins went out and bought a saw.

Ms MacKenzie's body was cut into 12 pieces and her upper torso, lower torso, a leg and feet were dumped in four bins in Montrose.

The rest of her body including the head and thighs was packed into a child's rucksack and a suitcase and left in the shower cubicle of another house in Montrose.

Body parts dumped

Higgins told of holding open black bin bags into which Jackson would drop body parts and then she would tie up the bags.

She denied a suggestion by prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC that she had taken "a shot" of sawing up the body.

The court was told by Higgins that initially they stored the wrapped body parts behind the tumble drier in their kitchen before dumping them.

Jackson was seen by neighbours acting suspiciously near the communal bins.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Body parts were recovered following a police search of bins in Montrose

Ms MacKenzie was reported missing by her father Terence MacKenzie, 66, on 28 October last year.

He told of the last time he saw her in Montrose High Street about 11.30 on the day she died.

When police visited Market Street days later as part of their missing person investigation they noticed a "smell of death" next to the bins in the communal close.

When officers spoke to Jackson he told them: "Michelle hit Kim in the head with a hammer.

"I finished her off by cutting her throat."

He also confessed to his ex-wife Barbara Whyte that he had killed Ms MacKenzie and chopped up her body.

Police immediately sealed off the area and stopped scheduled bin collections while they searched for Ms MacKenzie's body.

Following the verdicts, Lady Rae excused the jurors - nine men and five women - from jury duty for 10 years.

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