Man 'stabbed woman with sgian dubh before dismembering body'

Woman tells trial her former lover murdered Kimberley MacKenzie and cut up her body.

Remains: Body parts were discovered in bins.
Remains: Body parts were discovered in bins. Newsline

A woman charged with murder has told a court her former lover and co-accused killed a mother-of-three then cut up her body.

Michelle Higgins, 29, told the High Court in Glasgow that Steven Jackson, 40, hit Kimberley MacKenzie, 37, in the side of her face with a hammer then stabbed her in the chest with a sgian dubh.

Higgins described Jackson as being in "a trance-like state", as he allegedly attacked the woman.

Jackson and Higgins are on trial accused of murdering Ms MacKenzie at their house at 40A Market Street, Montrose, Angus, on October 27, last year and then cutting up her body.

Parts of her body were found in four bins in the town and other bits were found in a rucksack and a suitcase.

In evidence, Higgins told her defence QC Mark Stewart that while she sat talking to Ms MacKenzie, Jackson was hovering back and forwards between the living room and the hallway.

She told the jury Ms MacKenzie had visited them in the morning.

Higgins said: "It just felt like any other day and then it changed. It was lightning-quick, like clicking a finger.

"He just came in and swung a hammer and hit her on the side of the face. She stumbled on to the floor and ended up on the rug."

The mother-of-two then claimed Jackson took a cushion from the sofa and sat on top of Ms MacKenzie, who was lying on her back, and began stabbing her in the chest area with a sgian dubh he kept in his sock.

She added: "He then got off her and stood for a minute and got the hammer and hit her on the head. I don't know how many times it was. She was unconscious but I could hear her breathing it was loud and laboured."

At this point Higgins told the jury Jackson got a large wallpaper scraper and hit Kimberley with force to the side of her head.

She said: "Her breathing stopped."

When asked by Mr Stewart how she felt during the incident, Higgins replied: "I was in shock. I was standing up screaming. It was just so surreal."

Higgins told the court that as Ms MacKenzie lay dead or dying she and Jackson went to score heroin leaving her lying on the rug in the living room.

After coming back and taking the heroin in the bedroom, she said they dragged Ms MacKenzie's body, which was still on the rug, into the bathroom.

Higgins then said Ms MacKenzie's body, which was still clothed, was tipped into the bath by Jackson.

She told the jurors the following day Jackson sent her out to buy a saw and bin liners. She said after giving these items to Jackson she went out for about 30 minutes.

When she arrived back home Ms MacKenzie's body was naked in the bath.

She added: "She had parts missing. They were on the outside of the bath."

When asked which parts she was referring to she said: "Her feet, one of her lower legs and I'm not sure if it was her arms."

She told the court she helped Jackson put body parts in bin bags.

Higgins said: "I was scared and I was manipulated into helping."

She was asked why she did not contact the police and she said: "It was a very difficult place back then. I ask myself every night why I didn't act differently."

Mr Stewart asked: "In relation to your position today, have you done your best to tell the ladies and gentlemen the truth?"

Higgins replied: "I have told it exactly how I remember it and I remember it crystal clear like it was yesterday."

She denied assaulting or murdering Kimberley.

Jackson claims it was Higgins who hit Kimberley over the head with a hammer.

The pair deny murdering Kimberley by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument and striking her with a knife at 40a Market Street, Montrose, on October 27, last year.

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 40 Market Street, Patons Lane, Chapel Street and 73 William Phillips Drive, all Montrose, between October 27 and November 4, 2015..

Both deny the charges against them.

The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.

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