Trial continues of man accused of murdering mother and hiding body under caravan in Kinghorn

The trial continues at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture by Ian Georgeson
The trial continues at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture by Ian Georgeson

A man accused of murdering his mother appeared “upset and agitated” when telling police about her going missing.

PC Alexander Smith (49) had attended with a colleague at the home Carol Taggart shared with her son Ross in Dunfermline following a report of a missing person.

The officer said they initially spoke to the son and a friend of Mrs Taggart who worked in her nursery business during the visit on December 23 last year.

Taggart said he had been involved in an argument with his mother who had left the house and driven away.

His mother was on anti-depressants at the time and she had no mobile phone with her as hers was in the house.

The policeman was asked how Taggart was and responded: “He seemed upset and agitated at the time, anxious.”

He said Taggart told police he was going to go to a caravan they owned at Pettycur Bay in Kinghorn but was told to phone the police and an officer would go in first.

PC Neil Gribbons (32) attended at the caravan park and contacted Taggart and asked where to meet him.

He said Taggart indicated he had already been in the caravan. “It was locked but there were lights on,” he said.

The officer said the caravan was “immaculate” and added: “Everything just appeared spick and span.”

Taggart (31) has denied murdering his mother Carol Taggart (54) between December 21 last year and January 11 this year at an address in Dunfermline, a caravan within the Pettycur Bay Caravan Park in Kinghorn, or elsewhere.

Taggart is alleged to have assaulted his mother and repeatedly struck her on the head “by means unknown”, seized hold of her neck and compressed her throat using his hands or an unidentified item.

A jury was told in agreed evidence that following a post mortem the cause of death was given as “compression of the neck”.

Taggart has also denied attempting to defeat the ends of justice between December 21 last year and January 14 this year.

It is alleged that he hid the body of his mother in a void at a caravan at Pettycur Bay and tidied, cleaned, removed and attempted to remove blood staining and other forensic evidence from an address in Dunfermline, the caravan and the boot of a car.

He is also charged with removing bedding from the home where his mother had resided and the caravan.

He is also alleged to have reported her to the police as a missing person and repeatedly stated to friends, family and associates enquiring about her and to officers investigating her disappearance that on December 22 she had left her home address of her own accord and that he was unaware of her whereabouts.

Taggart is further alleged to have repeatedly stated to police investigating the disappearance that she had driven away from home on December 22 in her car and that he was unaware of where the car was and that he had not driven the vehicle on or after that date.

He is also charged with stealing £700 between December 22 and December 31 last year by using a bank card and PIN belonging to his mother by accessing cash machines in Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Edinburgh.

Taggart is further charged with fraudulently obtaining £380 worth of goods and services by using a credit card in his mother’s name at premises in Dunfermline and Edinburgh between December 22 and December 28 last year.

He is also accused of stealing a bangle and ring belonging to his mother between December 22 and 30.

His is also alleged to have obtained £100 by fraud by exchanging the bangle for money at a pawnbrokers in Edinburgh and attempting to obtain further funds by fraud by trying to exchange the ring for cash.

Defence solicitor advocate John Scott QC earlier told the court that Taggart was pleading not guilty.

The trial continues.