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Murder trial halted after juror faints over photos of body

A pathologist told the court of the gruesome injuries allegedly inflicted on Steven Donaldson.

Steven Donaldson: Three on trial for murder.
Steven Donaldson: Three on trial for murder. Police Scotland

A murder trial was halted when a juror fainted after being shown photographs of the alleged victim's injuries.

The man passed out when images of Steven Donaldson's body were passed around at the High Court in Edinburgh, leading to proceedings being paused for 50 minutes.

Forensic pathologist Helen Brownlow had been giving evidence at the trial of Tasmin Glass, 20, Steven Dickie, 24, and Callum Davidson, 24, who are all accused of murdering Mr Donaldson, 27, at a play park in Kirriemuir, Angus.

Ms Brownlow told prosecution lawyer Ashley Edwards QC she conducted an examination of Mr Donaldson's body in June 2018.

She told Ms Edwards that Mr Donaldson had died as a consequence of sustaining stab wounds to his neck from a "sword, machete, cleaver or axe".

Dr Brownlow also said Mr Donaldson's body had been damaged by fire caused by him being in close proximity to a burning car.

She told the court she could not rule out that there had been a second attempt to set fire to his body.

When Ms Edwards asked her how Mr Donaldson would have died, Dr Brownlow said that "chop like" blows had been inflicted on his neck.

She said the blows penetrated the "doughnut like" bones which supported Mr Donaldson's neck and cut his spinal cord in two places.

When asked what would have happened when the spinal cord was cut, Dr Brownlow said: "It is associated with immediate death.

Your heart stops beating. Your lungs stop breathing. It would have been immediately fatal."

Ms Edwards then asked for television monitors situated beside the public benches to be switched off.

She said that she wanted to show the jury photographs taken of Mr Donaldson's remains and the images weren't to be shown to the public benches.

Shortly afterwards, the juror collapsed after seeing the images.

Lord Pentland left the bench for almost an hour before proceedings resumed at 12.10pm. The juror who fainted returned to take his place in the jury box with a glass of water.

The trial later heard how a blood stain containing Mr Donaldson's DNA was found on a T-shirt belonging to Davidson.

Forensic scientist Sarah Milne told prosecution lawyer Ashley Edwards QC that it was a "billion times" more likely that the DNA came from Mr Donaldson than any other person.

She added: "That's the biggest match we'll ever report."

Glass, Dickie and Davidson, who all come from the Kirriemuir area, deny murdering Mr Donaldson between June 6 and June 7 2018.

Prosecutors claim that between June 6, 2018, and June 7, 2018, the trio arranged to meet Mr Donaldson at the town's Peter Pan Play Park and assaulted him there by repeatedly striking him with "unknown weapons".

They are then alleged to have taken Mr Donaldson to the Kinnordy Nature Reserve car park while he was incapacitated.

Once at the park, the Crown claims that Mr Donaldson was struck on the head and body with a knife, baseball bat, and an "unknown heavy bladed instrument".

The accused are then alleged to have set fire to Mr Donaldson and to his car.

All three plead not guilty and the trial continues.

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