Murder accused used Facebook messenger to urge family of missing man ‘stay strong’

The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

A woman accused of murdering her boyfriend used Facebook Messenger to urge his family to “stay strong” after he went missing, a court has heard.

Lori Robertson,31, told a jury how her family became concerned for her brother Steven Donaldson’s welfare during June 7 2018.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the previous evening Steven was “happy” at the prospect of going out to meet friends in Kirriemuir, Angus.

But Ms Robertson said her family became aware of a news story about how a dead body had been discovered in the car park of a nature reserve in the town. The court heard that Steven’s family became concerned and contacted police.

Ms Robertson, a social worker, told prosecution lawyer Ashley Edwards QC that she contacted police and told officers that Steven was going to meet a girlfriend called Tasmin Glass, 20,.

Ms Robertson said the police told her to obtain Tasmin’s details so they could speak to her. The court heard that the pair spoke over Facebook Messenger.

Ms Robertson then read out the message which Tasmin sent to her. When Ms Edwards asked her to read the message Ms Glass sent, Ms Robertson said: “Ok. Love you you all. Please stay strong. All of us have to.”

Ms Robertson, of Arbroath, was giving evidence on the first day of proceedings against Ms Glass, Steven Dickie,24, and Callum Davidson,also 24,.

The trio - who all come from the Kirriemuir area - deny killing Mr Donaldson in the town between June 6 and June 7 2018.

On Monday, Ms Robertson told the court how she had moved in with her parents in Arbroath in January 2018 after her marriage had broken down.

She said her brother, who worked offshore, also lived with his parents. She told the court that she had met Ms Glass after she had came to visit the family at their home.

She said: “We were a close family.”

Ms Robertson told the court that her brother earned a “good wage” and owned property in Arbroath and Aberdeen.

The mum of three said she saw her brother for the last time on the night of June 6 2018. She said Steven was playing with her eldest child outside in the garden of her parents home.

She said: ‘Steven was getting ready to go out. He was his usual self. He was happy. He had a fun day out with his friends and he was going out to see more friends.

“I just remember hearing my eldest crying. Steven was just waving up and he was saying he was fine; that he had fallen over - that was the last time I saw him.”

Friends came to the house and showed the family a news story about how a dead body had been discovered at a nature reserve in Kirriemuir and that police were investigating.

She said she became concerned and spoke to police. She told officers that Steven was visiting Tasmin Glass. The police asked her to obtain Ms Glass’s contact details so they could speak to her.

The court heard that Ms Robertson used Facebook Messenger to contact Ms Glass.

Ms Robertson said Ms Glass told her that Steven didn’t turn up for a meeting she arranged to have with him.

She added: “They had been arguing recently. He didn’t turn up. She assumed that he had changed his mind or had gone off in a huff.”

The court heard that Ms Glass told Ms Robertson that she had tried to contact Steven earlier in the day and that he hadn’t got back in touch. The court heard that Ms Glass thought it was “strange” for Steven not to return her messages.

One of the first police officers to arrive at the Kinnordy car park, PC Paul Hosking,29, said there was a male lying at the front left hand side of a car.

He said: “He appeared to be deceased. He was quite badly charred.” He had three large cuts to the back of his head.”

The vehicle was also “quite badly burnt and charred” and its registration plates were not present. PC Hosking said: “I didn’t know if they had been removed or destroyed by the fire.”

At the start of proceedings on Monday, the jury of eight women and seven men heard the contents of a legal document detailing the charges facing the three accused.

Prosecutors claim that between June 6 2018 and June 7 2018, Mr Dickie, Mr Davidson and Ms Glass arranged to meet Mr Donaldson,27, at Peter Pan Play Park in Kirriemuir, Angus and assaulted him there by repeatedly striking him with “unknown instruments”.

It’s alleged that Mr Donaldson was then “incapacitated” - the trio are then alleged to have taken Mr Donaldson to Loch of Kinnordy nature reserve car park.

Once at the park, the Crown claims that Mr Donaldson was struck on the head and body with a knife, baseball bat, or similar instruments. The trio are then alleged to have struck Mr Donaldson on the head and neck with an “unknown heavy bladed instrument”.

They are then alleged to have set fire to Mr Donaldson and to his car.

Mr Dickie and Mr Davidson also face a number of other charges including assaults and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.

One charge alleges that between February and May 2017 at Main Street, Lochore, Fife, they put a kitten in a bag and swung the bag and punched and kicked the kitten. Prosecutors say the kitten belonging to a person called Demi Young.

The trio have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Mr Dickie is represented by Ian Duguid QC and advocate Jonathan Crowe is acting for Mr Davidson. Mark Stewart QC is representing Ms Glass.

The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues on Tuesday.