Montrose murder trial: Jackson found guilty, Higgins’ charge not proven

A Montrose man was today (Thursday) convicted of brutally murdering a local mother-of-three in a frenzied attack with two knives, a hammer and a large paint scraper.

Steven Jackson (40) struck 37-year-old Kimberley MacKenzie over the head at least 11 times and stabbed her more than 40 times on October 27, last year.

Pictured left is Kimberley MacKenzie; pictured top right is Michelle Higgins; pictured bottom right is Steven Jackson.

Pictured left is Kimberley MacKenzie; pictured top right is Michelle Higgins; pictured bottom right is Steven Jackson.

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.

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.

The suitcase and rucksack were dumped by the pair at 73 William Phillips Drive, Montrose, and put in the shower cubicle.

Higgins was convicted of helping to dispose of the body and on an art and part basis of dismembering the body.

Steven Jackson has been found guilty of murdering Kimberley MacKenzie

Steven Jackson has been found guilty of murdering Kimberley MacKenzie

The murder charge against her was found not proven.

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.”

Michelle Higgins was convicted of helping to dispose of Kimberley MacKenzie's body and on an art and part basis of dismembering the body. The murder charge against her was found not proven.

Michelle Higgins was convicted of helping to dispose of Kimberley MacKenzie's body and on an art and part basis of dismembering the body. The murder charge against her was found not proven.

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

Kimberley’s mother, who had been in court throughout the trial, was too upset to comment.

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

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

Kimberley MacKenzie

Kimberley MacKenzie

She said: “These include theft by opening a lockfast place, housebreaking, road traffic offences, breach of the peace, fireraising 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 Kimberley visited the home she and Jackson shared at 40A Market Street, Montrose.

As Kimberley 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.

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

Police presence at Market Street in November 2015

Police presence at Market Street in November 2015

As Kimberley 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 that sick Jackson boasted of getting a sexual thrill from cutting up the body and callously 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 what she had taken “a shot” of sawing up the body.

Higgins told the jury that she was scared of Jackson, whom she described as violent.

The court was told that the initials SJ was carved into Higgins’s thigh.

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

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

Kimberley was reported missing by her dad 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.

And 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 that he had killed Kimberley and chopped up her body.

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

In court each of the accused blamed the other for murdering Kimberley.

Higgins claimed that she was so terrified of Jackson that she helped him dispose of the body after he had killed her.

Lady Rae excused the jurors – nine men and five women – from jury duty for 10 years.

Flowers were left at Market Street as a tribute to Kimberley MacKenzie

Flowers were left at Market Street as a tribute to Kimberley MacKenzie

As Kimberley 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.

As Kimberley 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.