Woman ‘found stab victim pilot with lover nearby’

Darren McLauchlan is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of the fatal knife attack. Picture: Bill Henry
Darren McLauchlan is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of the fatal knife attack. Picture: Bill Henry
Have your say

A WOMAN told how she found a former RAF pilot lying in a bedroom with a stab wound next to his heart and his lover nearby.

Shannon Nisbet said she discovered Steven Barrett, 27, still conscious despite the bloody wound which would later prove fatal. The 24-year-old was giving evidence at the murder trial of Mr Barrett’s partner, Darren McLauchlan, who is accused of the fatal knife attack at a flat in Lochend Butterfly Way.

Steven Barrett. Picture: contributed

Steven Barrett. Picture: contributed

She told the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday that McLauchlan asked her to clean the knife – which prosecutors say was used to kill Steven – but she refused to do so. Ms Nisbet said she had been on a night out with Mr Barrett and the accused, but the group left the Opal Lounge nightclub on George Street after only one drink.

After returning to the Lochend flat with a takeaway from a chip shop on April 6 last year, Ms Nisbet said Mr Barrett and McLauchlan argued over the food and the pilot went to bed.

Ms Nisbet said she fell asleep but heard banging from a bedroom and later Mr McLauchlan shouted, “Shannon, Shannon, Shannon”.

Finding Mr Barrett with the horrific injury, Ms Nisbet said she asked Mr McLauchlan: “What the f*** has happened?”

The witness said McLauchlan told her to say Mr Barrett – who later died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary – had been ­attacked outside the flat.

Ms Nisbet said the victim was still conscious. She added: “He said to Steven ‘where are you going to say it happened?’. Steven said ‘outside’.”

Ms Nisbet told the court she saw a knife lying close by and that McLauchlan phoned for an ambulance. While waiting for paramedics, McLauchlan allegedly asked Ms Nisbet to wash the knife but she refused.

When police arrived at the scene, Ms Nisbet said she told officers lies about what had happened.

Ms Nisbet said: “To be honest I was saying what Darren was telling me to say.”

She said she later told the truth about what happened ­after her mother “went mental” when she revealed to her what actually occurred.

She added: “I felt terrible. I just felt disgusted with myself.”

Ms Nisbet, from Glasgow, was giving evidence on the first day of the trial of McLauchlan, who denies murdering Mr ­Barrett.

Ms Nisbet told prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC she had known McLauchlan for many years, and her friend had been in a relationship with Mr Barrett since meeting him on holiday in Gran Canaria.

McLauchlan, from Birmingham, is also accused of glassing Mr Barrett in the face in an Edinburgh pub in March last year.

Another charge alleges McLauchlan threw beer over Mr Barrett and punched him on the face at an Aberdeen hotel in February last year.

Prosecutors also allege he compelled Mr Barrett to falsely state to people treating his injuries that he had been attacked and injured outside the flat.

They say he tried to compel Ms Nisbet to clean the knife he used to commit the murder.

McLauchlan denies all the charges. The trial continues.