Mum’s friend gives evidence in Bonnybridge child abduction case

The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

A Bonnybridge mum rushed outside when she heard her best friend screaming in the back garden that her son had been taken.

The 23-year-old told the High Court in Livingston yesterday that the other mother had just been inside to borrow a cardigan.

She said her friend had left her own two children, aged three and five, alone in the garden at dusk.

When the mum went downstairs moments later, the jury heard, she saw through the kitchen window that a man was lifting her youngest child over the fence.

The friend, who has two children of her own, said she got to the garden in time to see her friend coming back towards the house with the two children.

She told the jury: “She was just in floods of tears. She said that a man had taken (her son) out of the garden. I ran down that back path between the two houses, but I saw no-one.”

The mum’s friend also said the incident had happened at around 8pm.

As soon as she returned from her search of the dimly lit path she told her friend to phone the police.

The accused Derek Hornall (40) denies reaching over the garden fence, seizing the child under the arms, lifting him over the fence and carrying him away and detaining him against his will on April 25, 2015.

He also denies behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at another address in Bonnybridge on October 5 last year by chasing and threatening to kidnap a nine-year-old girl and two boys aged seven and 11, as well as possessing cannabis at Falkirk Police office the same day.

The friend said she and the mum had spent a nice day together with their children and their boyfriends.

Earlier, she said, they had been coming back from the supermarket they encountered a man standing in the middle of the road.

She said: “I had to slam on the brakes. He just stared right in the car.”

She told the jury she didn’t know or recognise the pedestrian but later identified the accused in a police ID parade.

She admitted that her boyfriend Steven Watson had been arrested that night for assaulting Hornall.

Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith asked her: “Had you said anything to cause him to go and assault Derek?” She replied: “I don’t think so. No.”

Earlier the mum of the child who was allegedly snatched answered questions posed by Hornall’s defence counsel Krista Johnston.

The 24-year-old mother, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, was asked if she’d picked out the accused because he was “Alky Des, hanging about drinking in the street” and the man her friend had nearly run over.

She replied: “No. I picked him out because he was the man who lifted my son.”

The trial, before Lord Woolman, continues.

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