A prosecutor today (Tuesday) urged a jury to convict two former lovers of the “sustained and brutal” murder of a Montrose mother-of-three.
Ashley Edwards QC told the five women and nine men that the Crown says Steven Jackson and Michelle Higgins murdered Kimberley MacKenzie at 40A Market Street, Montrose, on October 27, last year, and then cut up her body with a saw and dumped body parts in bins and at a house in the town.
Ms Edwards was giving her closing speech at the trial of Jackson (40) and Higgins (29) at the High Court in Glasgow. Both deny murdering Kimberley and then trying to cover up the crime by cutting up her body and disposing of it.
The prosecutor said: “It does not seem to be disputed that both accused took part in dismembering and disposing of the body.
“Who but the murderers would dismember a body, who but the murderers would carry out an act of such depravity.
“Each accused says the other did it.
“They are both right – they both did it.”
Ms Edwards told the 14 jurors that this was a circumstantial case, but added: “There is a red flashing light signalling the guilt of the accused.
“All the evidence comes together to show a clear, straightforward picture.
“It is a picture of Michelle Higgins and Steven Jackson. Both participated in a sustained attack on Kimberley MacKenzie – a joint and murderous attack which resulted in the death of Kimberley MacKenzie.
“An attack involving more than 40 stab wounds, multiple bruising and at least 11 separate blows to the head. And together they set about trying to cover it up by systematically butchering the body of Kimberley MacKenzie. They are callous and self-centred.
“This is a picture of depravity of such horrendous proportions you might have thought could only happen in the pages of crime fiction, not in a small market town.”
Ms Edwards told the jury that the Crown view is that Jackson and Higgins used two knives, a hammer and a large paint scraper to murder Kimberley.
She added: “The evidence shows a murderous attack with multiple weapons. This was a sustained and brutal attack perpetrated by both accused.
“They then left her in her dying moments while they went out to buy heroin.
“You should be satisfied of the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable double and should convict them.”
Defence QC Donald Findlay, representing Jackson, said: “Steven Jackson has not challenged that he played a part in dismembering and decapitation of Kimberley MacKenzie and the dumping of her body parts in various places.
“Does that mean he is a murderer. The answer to that is no, no, no and no again.
“Even if it is proved that Steven Jackson dismembered the dead body of Kimberley MacKenzie that does not make him guilty of murder, however horrific, however distasteful and no matter what you think of him. People do things we can’t understand.
“In death her body was decapitated and dismembered, but that had no part in her murder, because it was in death.
“Overwhelmingly the evidence proves that she died because of blows to the head, nothing else.
“Has the Crown proved it was Steven Jackson wielding the object or objects when she was murdered. The fact the Crown says so does not make it so.”
Defence QC Mark Stewart, representing Higgins, told the jurors: “Michelle Higgins had no problem with Kimberley MacKenzie.”
The QC said: “The question is who did attack Kimberley MacKenzie. It was Steven Jackson. He admitted it not just once. He admitted it to Barbara Whyte his ex-wife and to the police.
“Mr Findlay said there is no motive perhaps there is no motive, perhaps he’s just bad.
“If Steven Jackson had not committed murder why would he say he had.”
Mr Stewart added: “He is instrumental in cutting up the body into parts and sent Michelle Higgins to get a saw. He cut the body up into 12 parts. This was a not inconsiderable job of dismemberment.
“Why would he do all this other than to save his own skin.”
He told the jury that Higgins was scared of Jackson and did what he told her.
Mr Stewart said that she had given evidence and admitted helping Jackson with the disposal of the body parts, but denied having anything to do with the murder or dismemberment.
The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.