Morningside murder: Accused ‘wasn’t there’

The scene at Morningside Grove following the attack last year. Pic: Greg Macvean

The scene at Morningside Grove following the attack last year. Pic: Greg Macvean

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A MURDER accused has told a jury that he had nothing to do with the killing of 85-year-old Eleanor Whitelaw.

Robert Buczek, a 24-year-old Polish national who was giving evidence through an interpreter, told the High Court in Glasgow: “I’ve never in my life hurt a woman.”

Mrs Whitelaw was found on the floor of her Morningside Grove home covered in blood by her husband of 60 years when he returned from shopping at 4pm on July 11 last year. She died just over two weeks later in hospital.

Forensic experts who examined the house found DNA matching that of Buczek on a pair of blood-stained scissors and a bottle of water.

Buczek, who came to Edinburgh two years ago looking for work, was asked by his defence QC Brian McConnachie: “Did you go to Morningside Grove and attack Mrs Whitelaw?” He replied: “No. I never went to that house. I was never there.”

He admitted working as a labourer in a house in nearby Craiglea Place and said he went there on July 11 around 1pm to collect his wages and stayed for around 30 minutes.

Buczek told the jury he had “no idea” how a bottle and a pair of scissors with his DNA on them were found in the house.

Mr McConnachie said: “It may be suggested that one explanation is that you held the scissors while you stabbed Mrs Whitelaw.”

The accused replied: “No. Never in my life. I’ve never been there in my life and I never attacked that woman in her house.”

Buczek was asked where he was between 3pm and 4.30pm on July 11 and replied: “I was either at home or in the West End.”

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked Buczek how his DNA came to be on the scissors and he replied: “No, I’m not able to explain that.”

Mr Prentice went on: “One explanation could be you used the scissors to kill Mrs Whitelaw, do you agree?” Buczek told him: “No, it wasn’t me. That’s impossible.”

Earlier on Thursday, the court heard how the pensioner suffered irreversible damage to her brain and heart after being stabbed seven times in the neck.

A pathologist said Mrs Whitelaw suffered cuts to the two main arteries in her neck – the jugular vein and the carotid artery.

Dr Ian Wilkinson said that in total there were seven injuries to her neck.

The court was also told that Mrs Whitelaw sustained a fracture to the base of her skull and had bruising to her face and eyes, which the pathologist said could have been caused by a fall.

The damage to her neck was repaired by surgeons but the massive blood loss she suffered resulted in damage to her brain and heart, the court was told.

Buczek denies murdering Mrs Whitelaw at her home on July 11 last year, by stabbing her in the neck with scissors and stealing stamps and a box of spoons.