THE murder trial of Kyle Watt has concluded after a jury found one of the accused guilty of culpable homicide.

Mark Harrison, 36, had been on trial for the murder since last Tuesday, November 13, after his brother, Barry Harrison, had pleaded guilty to the March 3 murder before the case started.

Mr Watt, 29, was killed in his flat at 15 Pine Grove after being stabbed twice, once in the chest and once in the leg.

The jury was shown CCTV images of the deceased running for his life before being attacked and dragged back inside the property where he was later found dead.

The incident took place amidst a horrendous snowstorm and one victim described fleeing the address barefoot through the snow to get help.

News of the attack spread throughout the commnunity and police officers remained on station through the night and into the next morning.

A number of additional patrols were ordered to reassure residents of the area, after the shock of what had transpired so nearby.

Police later arrested Barry and Mark Harrison and the two were due to stand trial together for murder.

However, Barry pleaded guilty to the offence before proceedings had started, and would later given evidence in the trial of his brother.

The trial at the High Court in Edinburgh began with the testimony of the first policeman on the scene, constable Scott Hencher.

The officer described the bloodbath inside the flat when he and a colleague arrived.

He said: “I observed a blood smear on the wall and door of 15. The door facing [17] also had blood on it. In the hall you could see the body of a man slumped with his head and shoulders on a couch.

“It looked like there was a lot of blood from the top of his head and his mouth and nose were heavily bloodstained. His chest was also heavily bloodstained.

“His eyes were open as if looking back.”

The court was then shown disturbing police video footage from within the property which confirmed the scene PC Hencher described with a couch overturned on its back and a glass table toppled while the television continued to play in the corner.

CCTV footage from the evening was then shown which showed the two brothers arrive at the flat at 19.36 and being let in to the close by someone.

They then made their way up the stairs and into the flat as Mark is seen pulling a baseball bat from his trousers.

Less than a minute later, Mr Watt is seen running from his flat with Mark closely behind him. The victim is then knocked to the ground by the 36-year-old before he drags him to his feet, as two innocent bystanders watch on in shock.

Barry then comes down the stairs and grabs Mr Watt before pushing him back up to his flat with a knife clearly visible as they reach the number 15 property.

The partner of Mr Watt is then observed running barefoot from the flat to call the police from her mother’s home nearby.

Less than four minutes after arriving, the brothers leave the flat having inflicted mortal wounds on Mr Watt.

The court also heard from forensic experts who found that the victim’s blood was discovered on the accused’s clothing.

Jogging bottoms belonging to Mark were found in the bedroom of a property on Menteith Court, Alloa, along with a number of other items.

It contained blood from three different people.

One part of the trouser had some of Mr Watt’s blood, while the right leg had blood belonging to Mark’s brother, Barry. 

Mark’s left shoe was also found to have Mr Watt’s blood on it.

Mandy Bath, a forensic scientist, told the court that one explanation for the blood was that Mr Watt had been “struck” by Mark.

She also highlighted a brown-handled flick knife which was recovered with bloodstains on it, though she went on to say that the knife did not match the description of the murder weapon.

Dr Robert Ainsworth, the pathologist who carried out Mr Watt’s post-mortem examination, later confirmed that the cause of death was stab wounds to the chest and leg.

Dr Ainsworth went on to tell the court that a 12cm deep wound to the right cavity of the chest cut through  the rib cage and spinal cord, damaging the right lung in the process.

There was also a 16cm deep stab wound to the top of the right leg with two major veins being cut.

In addition, there were “several wounds to the head and chin which could have come from a baseball bat”.

The worst of the blunt trauma injuries was sustained on the top of the head where a deep laceration was caused which, according to Dr Ainsworth, almost led through to the skull.

Despite the nasty injuries to the head, the doctor confirmed that there was no significant head trauma or brain injury whatsoever.

When pressed for more detail by Mr Keith Stewart, defending Mark, Dr Ainsworth confirmed that the injuries sustained by the baseball bat would not have killed him if he had not been stabbed as well.

On the third day of evidence, Barry took the stand and told the court: “I deserve what happens to me”.

Barry said that the murder was the “biggest mistake of his life” and he “deserves whatever he gets”.

According to the 44-year-old, whose birthday it was on the day of the murder, he went to 15 Pine Grove to get Valium “on tick” and advised Mark to take a baseball bat because a previous witness might be there.

The brothers had been drinking together in Mark’s house on Menteith Court to celebrate the birthday.

When they got there, Barry alleges that he spoke to the victim who refused him drugs and “degraded” him with the way he spoke to him.

An argument then evolved into a fight in which Barry sustained a stab wound to the arm.

In response, Barry picked up the baseball and struck Mr Watt “two or three times”.
Barry insisted that while this was taking place, Mark was elsewhere arguing with his former partner, who was within the property.

Mr Watt then tried to escape before being brought back upstairs by the brothers.
Barry, at this point in possession of a kitchen knife from the property, said he was feeling “threatened” because he “thought they were going to jump me”.

He added that Mr Watt then came at him, leading the accused to inflicting the mortal wounds.

After the incident, Barry left to go to a family member’s address and discarded the murder weapon on the way before phoning police when he heard that Mr Watt was dead.

In court, when Barry was asked if he was just trying to protect his younger brother, he refused, calling Mark the “most gentle person” and adding: “I’m the black sheep of the family.”

He continued: “I’ve mucked up two lives. Pie’s [Mr Watt] and my brother’s. I deserve what happens to me.  I made a bad choice. It’s the biggest regret of my life.”

On the final day of evidence, on Friday, November 16, the former partner of the deceased described the horrific night to the jurors.

She said she saw Mr Watt being attacked before running barefoot in the snow to her mum’s house to phone the police.

She told the court that her and Mr Watt had “plans for the future” and admitted that Barry regularly bought drugs from him and was at the flat two days prior, confirming some of the 44-year-old’s testimony from the day before. 

Mr Stewart, defending, then put it to her that she had “made up” her evidence, citing a number of claims that contradicts earlier statements to police.

This provoked an angry reaction, with the woman saying: “Don’t treat me as if I’m silly. How dare you. I would never make this up.”

She then produced a framed photograph of Mr Watt from beneath her jumper.

After all the evidence was concluded, the jury heard speeches from the Crown and from the defence.

Both lawyers described the awful incident as a “needless tragedy”.

Mr Stewart told the jurors on Monday: “Do not judge the case on emotion and the emotions of the witnesses.

“Some witnesses may have had their own loyalties and agendas.”

Speaking of Mr Watt’s partner who witnessed the incident, Mr Stewart said she was “coloured with vengeance” and “wanted to damage Mark with her evidence”.

The prosecution team was equally dismissive of some evidence as they urged the jury to consider that Mark and Barry were working “in concert”.

Bill McVicar, advocate depute, said Mark should be convicted of murder based on the fact that by chasing and catching Mr Watt, he facilitated the death which followed just moments later.

He said: “Mark knew from the start that there was a baseball bat and there was potential for it to be used.

“He chased and caught Mr Watt which allowed the murder to happen.”

Lord Kinclaven then told the jury that if they had any doubt whatsoever then they should not find Mark Harrison guilty of murder.

He added, however, that if they felt he did participate in the attack at 15 Pine Grove then they could find him guilty of culpable homicide.

After three hours the jury opted for the latter, finding that Mark had acted with his brother Barry in the commission of the assault, but that he was not guilty of murder.

The case has now been deferred for the preparation of criminal justice social work reports and both brothers will find out their sentence on December 12 at the High Court in Glasgow.