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RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: Man accused of murders will not give evidence in own defence at trial in High Court in Inverness

By Ali Morrison

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The Inverness Justice Centre.
The Inverness Justice Centre.

The man accused of the murders of Renee MacRae and their son decided against giving evidence in his own defence at his High Court trial in Inverness.

The prosecution closed its case against 80-year-old wheelchair bound Bill MacDowell on Monday after nine days of evidence.

MacDowell, who is the father of three-year-old Andrew, denies murdering the 36-year-old housewife and her son at the Dalmagarry lay-by on November 12, 1976.

He is also accused of disposing of their bodies, burning the car, destroying other evidence, and disposing of items including a blue cross pushchair and a Volvo estate boot hatch.

MacDowell has lodged special defences of alibi claiming he was elsewhere in Inverness that night and blames Mrs MacRae's building company director husband, Gordon for the murders.

Juries are normally instructed not to attach any significance to the fact MacDowell elected not to take the witness box because he does not have to prove anything.

His defence counsel Murray McAra KC called two witnesses to speak to being certain they saw Mrs MacRae with a man sporting a handlebar or Mexican moustache.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice objected to the line of questioning, saying: "There is no incrimination of this man lodged."

Mr McAra conceded: "I am not incriminating the man with the handlebar moustache."

The jury had heard previously of a journey north by MacDowell and his handyman, now deceased, convicted criminal Mitchell Yuill. He had been accused by MacDowell of stealing his car and lost his job.

READ MORE: RENEE AND ANDREW MACRAE: Murder suspect 'confessed' to killing duo – before immediate retraction, hears High Court in Inverness

Mr Yuill told police that he had quizzed MacDowell several times about the disappearance and once asked him if he did it. MacDowell replied: "I did and I didn't."

Mr Yuill said the journey was to collect furniture and he was asked to drive the horsebox vehicle for a short time.

He said MacDowell appeared to be asleep on the passenger seat and he felt he didn't want to see something on the road.

MacDowell's son in law, Kenneth Goudie said he travelled to the MacDowell's home in Nairnside, near Inverness with Mr Yuill.

The former motor mechanic recalled it was a Ford Capri pulling a horsebox to collect plants and his toolbox.

He agreed with Mr McAra: "There was nothing noteworthy about the journey."

He was then asked: "Were you ever involved in moving furniture?"

"No." Mr Goudie replied.

The trial before Lord Armstrong continues.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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