Witness in murder trial left ‘distraught’

A man has told the Lerwick murder trial how he phoned 999 after finding Tracey Walker lying motionless.

Gary Latham, 45, said he had looked out a window and seen a “motionless person lying” and made a 999 call.

Ross MacDougall, 32, and Dawn Smith, 28, went on trial on Monday accused of murdering Ms Walker at Ladies Drive in the town on 30th July 2019.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Mr Latham say on Friday that he had gone up an alleyway at the side of his flat in Lerwick and found Ms Walker lying on grass.

He said: “I went straight over to see if she was alright.”

Mr Latham was asked by prosecution lawyer Steven Borthwick: “What did you notice about her?”

He replied: “That she weren’t (CORR) breathing. There was no response whatsoever. There was a big gash in her throat. It looked horrific.”

Mr Latham said he was giving advice by the operator over what to do and was asked to give her mouth to mouth.

He said: “I said to them ‘she’s already dead’.”

He said he was asked to try with mouth to mouth and said: “I was just hearing air coming straight out her throat.”

Mr Latham said he was also asked to perform chest compressions and that he did that.

He said: “There was just blood bubbling from her throat.”

Mr Latham said he was left feeling “hysterical, distraught.. torn apart”.

Mr Latham was giving evidence on the third day of proceedings against McDougall and Smith.

The pair deny murdering Ms Walker at Ladies Drive. They are also standing trial on four other charges.

Mr Latham told the court that he previously lived at 21 Ladies Drive in Lerwick after moving to Shetland in 2017 from England.

He said that in July last year, he was a heroin user. He said that on 29th July, MacDougall and Smith had been visitors to his flat.

Mr Latham said at one point both of them seemed to be “irate”. He said that they had been talking about how to get money “to score” and were talking about borrowing off someone or robbing someone.

Mr Borthwick asked how they were behaving when they were having this conversation and he replied: “Almost giddy.”

He said that he had already asked them to leave as he knew Ms Walker was on her way over following an earlier phone call.

He said: “I just had a feeling there was going to be some trouble.”

Mr Latham said Ms Walker had called again and he spoke to her. He told her to wait for half an hour.

He was asked why and replied: “Because I thought those two were going to try and rob her and take the money off her.”

Mr Latham said he received another call from Ms Walker and he went down and told her to “get out the way” and he thought she agreed.

He said: “She said ‘she was desperate she was rattling to get some drugs.”

He said MacDougall and Smith left and he later repeatedly tried to call Ms Walker. Mr Latham said he was in his flat with others and heard a commotion and muffled moaning coming from the direction of a grassy bank close to his property.

Mr Latham said that MacDougall and Smith were “just playing about” and when asked what he meant replied: “Having sex basically.”

He said that when he went to the window he could just see the outline of MacDougall on top of someone else.

Mr Latham agreed that he had told police in a statement that he had seen MacDougall “roaring with anger” and attacking someone.

Both MacDougall and Smith have entered not guilty pleas to all charges on the indictment.

The trial before judge Lord Uist continues.

By James Mulholland and Dave Finlay.


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