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The last days of Perthshire witch monument murder victim Annalise Johnstone

last days Annalise Johnstone
Annalise Johnstone, Jordan Johnstone, police searching at Maggie Wall's Monument

On the third anniversary of Annalise Johnstone’s death, we look back at her final days using witness testimonies, statements and evidence heard at the high court trial which led to her brother and his girlfriend being cleared of her murder.

It started with a flood.

On a weekend in April 2018, one of Angela Newlands’ four children turned on a tap in the upstairs bathroom of the family’s Auchterarder home.

Somehow, they got distracted and wandered away.

Before anyone had noticed, the deluge had swept through the two-storey property, causing extensive damage.

Newlands and Johnstone, who had moved into the house earlier that year, found themselves temporarily without a home.

last days Annalise Johnstone
Police outside Raven’s Grove, Auchterarder

For weeks afterwards, the pair moved from place to place, staying with friends and family.

On May 7, they arrived at Annalise’s flat in Nursery Place, Ardrossan, North Ayrshire.

Newlands later told police about the visit, saying that Annalise had seemed upset that night after speaking with her girlfriend on the phone.

A fateful trip

The next day, they visited Glasgow.

In his statement to police, Johnstone said: “We just floated about because Annalise said she hadn’t been to Glasgow for ages.”

The day-out took a dark turn when Annalise became anxious and cut her arm in an effort to persuade her brother to take her home.

After spending the night at Annalise’s home, the trio set out on another road trip.

last days Annalise Johnstone
One of many selfies posted by Annalise Johnstone

CCTV shows Newlands and Johnstone stopping off at Sainsbury’s in Stewarton, Kilmarnock, just after 2pm.

At around 4.10pm, Annalise visited the Alpine Store in Ardrossan, before dropping off her beloved dog Sadie at friend Donna Paton’s house.

She told Ms Paton she had to go and do something with her brother, but promised she would be back in about an hour.

last days Annalise Johnstone
Jordan Johnstone.

“It was a school night for my kids, so she knew not to be too late,” Ms Paton said.

Later that evening, Annalise sent a message to Ms Paton telling her she would be return soon. “I’m sorry, he’s taking ages,” she wrote.

Arrival in Tayside

In the early hours of May 10, CCTV captured Newlands, Johnstone and his sister – and Newlands’ four children – driving across Tayside in Newlands’ Ford Galaxy.

Just after midnight, the seven-seater vehicle was spotted at the BP Garage at Kingsway, Dundee, before arriving at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru at Camperdown Park.

last days Annalise Johnstone
Police outside Green Julian Place, where Johnstone and Newlands were staying at the time of the murder

It travelled on passed the Myrekirk Roundabout. According to Newlands, she was dropped off at a bus stop off the A90 and walked with her children to her family home in Green Julian Place, Inchture.

It was agreed at the trial Annalise was killed at Maggie Wall’s monument between 1.28am and 2am.

Her throat was cut from ear to ear and she bled to death in minutes.

At the same time, the headlights of the Ford Galaxy car were caught on CCTV from a house overlooking the site.

In a dramatic testimony, Johnstone told the court he had found his sister lying face down in front of the memorial cairn.

“I shook her and turned her over. I thought there was water on my hands, but I could see that it was blood,” he said.

last days Annalise Johnstone
Maggie Wall’s Monument

Johnstone said he took off his T-shirt to try and staunch the flow of blood, but Annalise died in his arms.

He told jurors he decided to move his sister’s body so that “she would be found”.

Hours later, he was spotted by a hotel worker burning clothes at the side of the Inchture-Errol road, where he claims to have buried the weapon that killed his sister.

last days Annalise Johnstone
Annalise was killed at Maggie Wall’s Monument, near Perth

The next morning, Ms Paton became concerned about her friend’s whereabouts.

“She wasn’t active on Facebook and that just wasn’t like Anna,” she said.

“She was taking selfies and posting every day. She was very active on social media.”

She called Jordan Johnstone’s mobile to find out what was going on.

“He said he dropped her off at his uncle’s and they hadn’t seen her since 3am. And then he said she had gone hitch-hiking.”

last days Annalise Johnstone
Donna Paton

Ms Paton said: “I didn’t think that anything untoward had happened. I thought it was a prank at first. I thought they were just pulling my leg.

“It was a bit sick maybe, but I thought they were having me on.”

Annalise was found at the drystone wall just after midday by hillwalkers Elaine and Stephen Bailey.

The pair, from Nairn, who had a timeshare property near Gleneagles, initially thought it was a mannequin that had been dumped by the roadside.

Mrs Bailey said they gave themselves a “reality check” before calling 999.

“We could see a hand and it was extremely white, so we thought it might be artificial, like a mannequin,” she said. “My husband poked it with a walking pole and we confirmed it was a real person.”

The next day, while making a statement about his missing sister at Dundee police station, Johnstone was told that a body matching Annalise’s description had been found near Dunning.

The court heard he became “upset and emotional” and repeatedly hit his head on a table.