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Woman tells murder trial she feared co-accused would kill her

Michelle Higgins and Steven Jackson are accused of killing and dismembering Kimberley MacKenzie.

Montrose: Police found body parts across town.
Montrose: Police found body parts across town. Newsline

A woman on trial for murder claimed she helped dispose of a dismembered body as she feared her "deranged" co-accused would kill her.

Michelle Higgins, 29, told the court her former partner Steven Jackson, 40, carried out the killing then sawed Kimberley MacKenzie's body into 12 pieces.

Jackson and Higgins both deny murdering the 37-year-old in Montrose, Angus, on October 27 last year.

On Monday, Higgins told prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC she helped drag mother-of-three Ms MacKenzie into the bath where she was chopped up.

She also admitted she held open black bin bags while Jackson dropped body parts into them and also helped to disposed of the parts.

The High Court in Glasgow has heard body parts were found in four bins in Montrose town centre and in other locations in the town, including a house in William Phillips Drive.

When Higgins was detained by police in Aberdeen she had the keys to the property in William Phillips Drive in her possession.

Ms Edwards said to Higgins "You had a knife and Steven Jackson had a knife." She replied: "I've never stabbed anyone in my life."

The prosecutor said: "One of you have a hammer and one had the large paint scraper." 

Higgins told her: "That's not true. It is lies." 

Ms Edwards said: "That is why you never went to the police, you and Steven Jackson killed her together." 

Higgins replied: "I did not kill her. I did not dismember her."

https://stv.tv/news/tayside/1375911-man-stabbed-woman-with-sgian-dubh-before-dismembering-body/ | default

Higgins was asked why she had not called an ambulance for Ms MacKenzie and said: "No because I had someone who was deranged beside me who could kill me. I froze."

The prosecutor then said: "At around 12.40pm you are unfrozen and holding hands with Steven Jackson in the High Street and later you are out alone and texting him telling him you love him." Higgins replied: "Yes."

Jackson also sent a text to Higgins saying "I need help got some bits chopped offxx" and she replied: "mink lol.' 

Ms Edwards asked Higgins: "What does mink mean?" The accused replied: "Somebody that is disgusting."

The prosecutor said to Higgins: "Then lol laugh out loud. That's what you said. This was somebody who was supposed to be your friend and you're laughing out loud." 

The murder accused told the prosecutor: "I was just going along with him."

The court heard that after Kimberley's body was chopped up the pieces were hidden behind the tumble drier in a flat in Market Street, before being moved.

Higgins said they were there when police came to the house looking for her former friend after she was reported missing.

Defence QC Donald Findlay, representing Jackson, accused Higgins of lying and said she had killed Ms MacKenzie. She denied this.

He suggested that while having a cigarette at Dundee Police Station she confessed to an officer she hit Ms MacKenzie with a hammer on the legs. 

Higgins said she could not remember the police officer or any conversation.

She was then asked by the QC: "Why did you go and buy a saw?"

Higgins responded: "Because Steven asked me to, because I was already sooked into this nightmare."

Jackson, and Higgins, are accused of murdering Kimberley by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument and striking her with a knife in Market Street, Montrose.

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 between October 27 and November 4, 2015..

Both deny the charges against them.

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