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Jury shown images of burned-out car and dead body as nature reserve murder trial begins

Steven Donaldson was found at Loch of Kinnordy Nature Reserve.
Steven Donaldson was found at Loch of Kinnordy Nature Reserve.

A jury in the trial of a woman and two men accused of murdering Angus oil worker Steven Donaldson has been shown graphic images of the 27-year-old lying dead beside his burned out BMW in the car park of an Angus nature reserve.

Opening evidence in the case against Steven Dickie, Callum Davidson and Tasmin Glass also revealed Mr Donaldson died from sharp force injuries to the neck, according to a post mortem report.

All three, who are from Kirriemuir, face a charge of setting fire to Mr Donaldson and his car at Loch of Kinnordy, near Kirriemuir in June last year and murdering him.

The opening stage of proceedings heard the 999 phone call made just before 5am on June 7 by RSPB warden Victoria Turnbull, who arrived there with colleagues and discovered Mr Donaldson’s fire-ravaged BMW 1 series and his body lying beside it.

Ms Turnbull told advocate depute Ashley Edwards she initially thought the burned-out car may have been an incident of fly-tipping, which had happened previously at the reserve.

“We realised there was someone on the ground. I realised the person was dead so I stepped away and started to call the police,” the witness told the trial.

She said the car was “very well burnt, there wasn’t much left”.

The jury was shown a 3D visualisation of the car park as well as 360 degree photos and aerial footage of the area containing the BMW and the body lying near one of its front wheels.

The trial, before Lord Pentland and a jury of eight women and seven men, is expected to last 18 days.

The charges:

All three accused are charged with arranging to meet Mr Donaldson at Kirriemuir’s Peter Pan playpark between June 6 and 7 last year with the intention of attacking him, before repeatedly striking him on the head with unknown instruments.

The indictment further alleges that after being incapacitated, Mr Donaldson was taken to Loch of Kinnordy reserve, where the three accused repeatedly struck him on the head and body with a baseball bat and knife, set him and his vehicle on fire, and murdered him.

Dickie and Davidson each face a number of other charges relating to alleged offences in Angus, Perthshire and Fife dating as far back as 2014.

They include behaving in a threatening manner towards a number of people in separate incidents in Kirriemuir, Alyth and Brechin between January 2014 and June 2018, and between December 2017 and February 2018.

Both men are also charged with putting a kitten in a bag on Lochore Main Street between February and May 2017 before swinging the bag about and punching and kicking the animal.

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