A nightclub security manager told a murder trial he saw a man disappear off a bridge after being assaulted by two men.
Kevin Gibney said: “One minute he was there and the next he was gone.”
Mr Gibney was giving evidence at the trial of Mark Munro (31) from Denny and James Robertson (27) from Pitlochry, who deny murdering 27-year-old Falkirk man Russell Robertson by pushing him over bridge railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk, on May 29, last year.
It is alleged that they repeatedly punched his hands and prised his fingers from the railings causing him to fall into the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Mr Gibney, who works at the Warehouse nightclub in Falkirk, told prosecutor Alan Cameron: “When I was a bit away I first thought it was toy fighting.”
He said as he drive over the bridge he started to slow down and said: “I’m nosey.”
The witness at the High Court in Glasgow added: “I saw two guys hitting into one guy. That’s one of the reasons I got out the car.
“One of them was punching him about the head and shoulders.”
Mr Gibney said: “I stopped my car on the bridge maybe ten to 15 feet past where it was happening. The young man was standing with his feet on a concrete platform and he was holding on to the railings.
“I saw one of the guys was prising the guy’s fingers off one hand and the other guy was punching the other hand.
“One minute he was there and the next he was gone. The two gentlemen ran across the road.”
Mr Cameron asked: “Did either of the men look in the water, “ and Mr Gibney replied: “No they just ran.”
Mr Gibney said he ran over and looked in the canal, but could not see anyone. He also searched the embankment, with no success.
He added: “I didn’t know if he went into the water or went onto the verge.”
Mr Gibney identified the two men as accused Munro and Robertson. He told the jury that Robertson was trying to prise one of Russell’s hands off the railing and Munro was punching the other hand.
Defence QC Derek Ogg, representing Munro, accused Mr Gibney of lying under oath which he denied.
The jury was shown CCTV footage taken in the car park at the Warehouse just two minutes before Russsell disappeared off the bridge.
In it Mr Gibney and two bouncers are approached by Russell who converses with them and then goes away.
Mr Gibney said he was in the car park, getting protein powder from one of the bouncers’ car boot and putting it in his own car, and could not remember seeing Russell or speaking to him.
He told the court he knew Russell from him coming to the club.
Mr Ogg said: “How can you a security manager who is stone cold sober who knows a man and sees him two minutes before he disappears off a bridge not mention this to the police,” and Mr Gibney replied: “I can’t recall having any conversation.”
The QC added: “Surely you would have said ‘I knew the person who disappeared, me and two colleagues saw him two minutes before,” and Mr Gibney said: “No.”
Mr Gibney was asked why he initially told police “ I couldn’t say if the guy on the rail was injured. I only saw hands and arms and I couldn’t tell if it was male or female,” and he replied: “I didn’t know what you’re getting at.”
Mr Ogg went on: “You knew perfectly well who was on the bridge and your dealings with him two minutes before and you deliberately intended to keep that from the police,” and Mr Gibney said: “That’s not the case.”
The court heard that in a police statement Mr Gibney, did not mention an assault, but said: “I saw two men. It looked like they were trying to throw something over the railing into the canal.”
When asked if he had told police this, he replied: “No definitely not.”
The trial before Lady Carmichael continues.