Murder trial accused made ‘smug’ remark about alleged crime, court hears

A woman has told the Lerwick murder trial of how she felt “haunted” after hearing one of the accused make a “smug” remark about the alleged crime during a flight.

Margaret Haughian, 50, said she sat beside Dawn Smith, 28, during a journey between Sumburgh and Aberdeen Airport last August.

Smith and Ross MacDougall, 32, went on trial on Monday 9th November accused of murdering Tracey Walker at Ladies Drive in Lerwick on 30th July 2019. The pair deny murdering Ms Walker. They are also standing trial on four other charges.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Ms Haughian say on Wednesday how she was working as a prison escort officer for a firm called GEOAmey.

She told jurors how as part of her duties she helped transfer Smith and MacDougall from the isles to the Scottish mainland on 1st August

Both the accused were going to be held in HMP Grampian, near Aberdeen.

Ms Haughian said that Smith spoke to her during the flight. She said she contacted the police after hearing the remark.

The witness told prosecution lawyer Steven Borthwick that Smith gestured towards MacDougall as she made the remark.

Speaking about what Smith said, Ms Haughian told jurors: “She said ‘we are going to spend the next 10 to 15 years together for something I’ve done.’”

She also told Mr Borthwick: “It haunted me afterwards. It went round and round my head.”

Ms Haughian, of Sandwick, was giving evidence on the sixth day of proceedings against Smith and McDougall.

On Wednesday, Ms Haughian said that she and her colleagues were tasked with taking the two accused to Aberdeen.

She said she was handcuffed to Smith and they were sat in the very back row of the plane. A colleague sat with MacDougall on the row in front. The party left Sumburgh at 7.40pm.

When Mr Borthwick asked her about the statement which was allegedly made by Smith, Ms Haughian replied: “It was smug.”

Ms Haughian also told the court that Smith remarked about press interest surrounding the case during the flight.

The court heard that Ms Haughian spoke to officers investigating Ms Walker’s death upon returning from the Scottish mainland on 3rd August 2019.

The jury heard that in the statement, Ms Haughian spoke about the alleged remark made by Smith.

In her statement, police recorded the remark allegedly made by Smith as, “We are going to spend at least between 10 to 15 years for something I have done.”

Smith’s advocate Paul Nelson said that Ms Haughian had misheard what Smith had said.

He said that at the end of the remark which jurors had been told about, Smith had actually used the phrase “I have not done”.

Mr Nelson then asked Ms Haughian: “Are you mistaken?”

Ms Haughian replied: “No.”

The trial before judge Lord Uist continues.


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