Man guilty of murdering mother-of-three and chopping up body

Steven Jackson stabbed Kimberley MacKenzie more than 40 times in Montrose, Angus.

A man has been convicted of murdering a mother-of-three and dismembering her body.

Steven Jackson, 40, bludgeoned Kimberley MacKenzie's head with a hammer and stabbed her more than 40 times on October 27, last year.

The following day he chopped up her body in the bath and, with the assistance of former lover Michelle Higgins, 29, dumped the body parts in four bins in Montrose, Angus.

They were also caught on CCTV walking through the streets of Montrose carrying a child's rucksack and a green suitcase containing more body parts, including Kimberley's head.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, a jury of five women and nine men found Jackson guilty of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by chopping up and disposing of Ms MacKenzie's body.

The jury returned a not proven verdict on the charge of murder levelled at Higgins but she was found guilty of a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice for her part in covering up the 37-year-old's violent death.

She sat with her head bowed and wept as the verdicts were given. Jackson showed no emotion.

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

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

Ms MacKenzie's mother, who had been in court throughout the trial, was too upset to comment.

Lady Rae deferred sentence until January 17 to the High Court at Livingston for background reports.

Prosecutor Ashlie Edwards told the court Jackson has 21 previous convictions.

She said: "These include theft by opening a lockfast place, housebreaking, road traffic offences, breach of the peace, fire-raising and misuse of drugs."

Higgins has convictions for shoplifting and breach of the peace.

She gave evidence and told of how Jackson launched a murderous attack minutes after Ms MacKenzie visited the home she and Jackson shared at 40A Market Street, Montrose.

As Ms MacKenzie sat in an armchair drinking a cup of tea and chatting to Higgins, Jackson walked up to her and violently smashed her on the right side of her 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.

She suffered a final violent blow over the head was with a large paint scraper.

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

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

Kimberley's body was cut it 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 a house at 73 William Phillips Drive, Montrose, for which Higgins had the keys.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Jackson boasted of getting a sexual thrill from cutting up the body and joked about needing two bin bags for her thighs.

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 she had taken "a shot" of sawing up the body.

Higgins told the jury she was scared of Jackson, who she described as violent. The court was told the initials SJ was carved into Higgins' thigh.

Higgins said they initially 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.

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

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

Mr MacKenzie said: "I was driving into High Street and she was walking along. She gave us a wave and a smile."

Days later, when police visited 40A Market Street as part of their missing person investigation, they noticed a "smell of death" next to the bins in the communal close.

When they 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 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.

In court, each of the accused blamed the other for the murder.

Lady Rae excused the jurors - nine men and five women - from jury duty for ten years.

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