A man accused of murdering a woman in a west Fife village is to return to prison after he was assessed at the state psychiatric hospital.
Aaron Donald, 28, is one of two people charged with the murder of Claire Turnbull, 36, who died following a disturbance at a flat in Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, on Friday October 5 2018.
Donald was made subject to an assessment order at his last court appearance on March 13 and has spent the last few weeks being monitored at the state hospital in Carstairs.
At a continued preliminary hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday, judge Lady Johnston agreed to Donald’s defence solicitor’s request for a further continuation in the case.
The move means he will be sent back to prison before any trial goes ahead.
The case was adjourned to allow the defence to submit a minute in relation to Donald’s fitness to stand trial.
Solicitors will also have an opportunity to lodge any special defences, or raise any issues relating to diminished responsibility at the time of the alleged offence.
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Judge Lady Johnston told the court a report on Donald’s mental health had been compiled by Dr Jon Patrick at Carstairs and the accused would now be committed to prison ahead of any trial proceedings.
“That coincides with Mr Donald’s own wishes,” said defence solicitor advocate Bert Kerrigan.
Donald, from Blairhall, appeared on charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice in relation to Ms Turnbull’s death.
His co-accused Laura McMurdo, 29, also of Blairhall, has previously tendered not guilty pleas and she was released on bail at the March court appearance.
She was back in the dock alongside Donald during Tuesday’s appearance, when defence solicitor advocate Gordon Markie reaffirmed his client’s denial.
Mr Markie described his client as an “interested observer” in the proceedings at this stage and said he had no difficulty in adopting a “neutral position” in relation to the discussions around Donald’s fate.
Both Donald and McMurdo are expected to appear at a further preliminary hearing on May 1.
Police were called to a first floor flat in Blairhall’s Rintoul Avenue on the evening of October 5 and Ms Turnbull was pronounced dead at the scene.
Friends of Ms Turnbull, who was originally from Methil, described her as a “lost soul”, who had lost a baby daughter to cot death two years ago.