A daughter has told how her murder-accused father controlled, manipulated and repeatedly threatened to kill her mother throughout their “toxic” relationship.
Ebony Lizanec said she made a secret plan with her mum Michelle to move her into a new house at Scone, away from “abusive” husband John.
She said her mother was happy and “excited about starting her new life” after finally leaving the marital home at Inchture.
Just weeks later, police found her body in the bathroom of the Carse of Gowrie property.
John Lizanec, 49, is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of murdering his wife at his home in Inchture on February 13 2021 and hiding her body in a cupboard.
He denies the allegations.
The trial heard former fashion student Ebony, 27, told police: “He (her father) would say if she ever left him for another man or cheated on him, he would slit the other guy’s throat while she watched and then kill her.
“He said this numerous times.
“It was something that had been on my mind since I was a little girl.
“It made me afraid about them being alone.”
Asked by advocate depute Shanti Maguire if she still called her father “dad”, Miss Lizanec replied: “Not any more – I would refer to him as the accused now.”
She described the atmosphere at the family home as “extremely toxic.”
Miss Lizanec said her father was “extremely abusive.”
She told the court: “He would isolate her (Michelle) so she didn’t have any friends.
“The only times she left the house was to walk the dogs but even then he was watching her from the window.
“She wasn’t allowed to be on her own. She wasn’t allowed to dress the way she wanted to dress.”
Her mum, she said, was not allowed to show skin and had to wear black.
Miss Lizanec said her dad “chucked her out” after she stood up to him when she was 15.
She told the court her mum set up two “secret” email addresses to keep in contact with her, as well as a family Snapchat account that automatically deleted messages once they were posted.
Miss Lizanec went to Glasgow University to study fashion design but returned to live with her parents after she was badly injured in a car crash.
When they moved to Inchture, the atmosphere continued to be toxic, she said.
She told the jury Lizanec told her mum if she ever left her, he would “come after her and kill her” and kill any new partner she had.
Police called after threats
The court heard she called police after her dad made threats to “kick f*** out” of her younger brother John.
When officers came to the door, she made a gesture to indicate her father was there.
”They knew instantly to create a story and lie as to why they were there,” she said.
“They said they were making inquiries about a car being vandalised.”
When the officers left, she said her father “kicked off” and became “paranoid” that someone had called police.
After that, she said she formed a plan with her mum to get her into a new house.
They arranged to move to a new-build property at Scone but pretended it was for Ebony.
“I was to fall out with him two weeks prior,” she said.
“It was to ensure he wouldn’t come when my mum signed the papers for the new house – because it was actually for my mum, not me.”
Her mother was happy when she moved to Scone, she said.
“She was relieved and excited to start her new life.
”She was making plans about buying clothes and having days out shopping.
“I had never seen her so happy.”
John Lizanec went to stay with Ebony’s older sister Sophie at Elie, near St Andrews, the court heard.
Texts on final day
Miss Lizanec said the last time she saw her mother was at about 2pm on February 13 2021.
“She was going to my sister’s to do laundry because her washing machine was broken,” she said.
She texted her mum later, asking if she had left Sophie’s and received the return message at around 8pm: “Yeah soz, won’t be long.”
Her brother later got a text from his dad saying he and his mum were going to Dundee to get fuel.
Miss Lizanec said her sister told her mum and dad had both left her house at about 5.30pm.
She said: ”I was going crazy. I was just thinking of all the threats he had made towards her.
“I just thought he was capable of doing something bad.”
Urged police to break down door
The trial was played a recording of a call Miss Lizanec made to police.
She discussed with the operator reporting her mother missing, before asking police to go to the house at Inchture.
”They said they went round and the lights were on but no one answered the door.
“I thought it was extremely weird. I asked them to go back and break down the door if they had to, because I knew something was wrong.
“And that’s what they did.
“They then went to my sister’s house and told her they had found mum dead lying on the bathroom floor.”
During cross-examination, solicitor advocate Iain Paterson asked Miss Lizanec if her father had shown love for her mother.
She replied: “I wouldn’t call it love, I would call it an obsession.”
She added: “I didn’t hate my dad. I wanted him to be the dad I remembered from when I was younger but he doesn’t exist any more.”
Jurors were later shown “graphic and distressing” photographs during a post mortem examination of Ms Lizanec.
Pathologist Helen Brownlow, a senior lecturer in forensic medicine at Dundee University, told the court Ms Lizanec died from a deep 16cm incision that ran “from ear to ear, effectively.”
Dr Brownlow, 44, said the mother-of-three would have suffered “catastrophic” blood loss, but would have taken perhaps half a minute to lose consciousness.
Prosecutors claim he struck Mrs Lizanec on the neck with a knife, having previously shown “malice and ill-will” towards her.
It is further alleged that he hid her body inside a cupboard, cleaned blood off himself, changed his clothes and footwear and fled the scene.
He is accused of then barricading himself inside his mother Francis Flood’s home at Balunie Street, Dundee.
Lizanec faces a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive way by refusing to leave the property, arming himself with a knife and repeatedly holding it to his neck while threatening to kill himself and self harm in the presence of police and his 68-year-old mother.
He further faces allegations of engaging in an abusive course of behaviour against his wife between April 1 2019 and February 13 2021 at their then homes in Chaise Road, Bridge of Earn, and Orchard Way, Inchture.
Prosecutors accuse him of restricting her access to rooms within the home, dictating her choice of clothing, isolating her from her friends and family and making threats of violence towards her family.
It is alleged he made threats to kill himself, threats to kill any of his wife’s future partners and threats to harm her pet dogs.
He is further accused of restricting her movements outside their home and monitoring her personal calls, messages and emails.
It is alleged he recorded her conversations, accused her of infidelity and threatened to kill her.
The trial before Lord Fairley continues.