Murder accused denies throwing man into canal

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A murder accused denied that he flung 27-year-old Russell Robertson over a bridge into a canal.

HGV driver Mark Munro, who was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow, claimed that he was trying to help Russell – known as Smeegs – and that it was his co-accused James Robertson who flipped him over the bridge.

Munro (31), from Denny, and Robertson (27), from Pitlochry, deny murdering Russell from Falkirk, by pushing him over bridge railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk, on May 29, last year, and causing him to fall into the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Defence counsel Tony Graham, representing Robertson, accused Munro of lying and said he had given a different version of events in court and in a prepared statement through his lawyer and during a police interview.

Munro said: “The solicitor didn’t want details just basics. He must misheard me.”

He claimed he got confused when speaking to police because he had had no sleep for 40 hours.

Mr Graham said: “You are making up a lie, a complete lie and it’s difficult to remember what you’ve said,” and Munro replied: “I’m telling the truth.”

The defence counsel then said: “You put that man over the bridge,” and Munro responded: “No.”

Mr Graham added: “We will never know why you did it, but you did it,” and he said: “No.”

Munro denied a suggestion from Mr Graham that Robertson had left the bridge before Russell went over the railings.

Earlier, Munro told his QC Derek Ogg that he grabbed at 27-year-old Russell’s left arm as he went over railings on a bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Munro told the jury: “If I hadn’t done that he would have gone straight into the water.”

Mr Ogg asked Munro: “Did you see Russell Robertson going over,” and he replied: “Yes, his whole body went over and I grabbed his left arm. It was more his clothing at the shoulder to stop him going in the water.

“I swung him over to the banking. He nearly pulled me over and I smashed my arm against the wall.”

He was asked if he managed to keep his grip on Russell and replied: “No, I lost my grip.”

Munro said he did not hear a splash and thought Russell was in bushes.

Mr Ogg asked: “Did you look,” and Munro replied: “Yes, I saw him lying there. He was sitting there on his bum. I shouted ‘Are you alright.’ I heard aaah and thought he was saying aye.”

Munro claimed that seconds before Robertson was fighting with Russell and he had to separate them.

He added: “James tried to push him over the railings. He flipped his legs up. He pushed him right over the fence.”

The jury heard that Munro fainted when police told him on May 29, 2016 that Russell was dead. When asked why he had done this, he replied: “I was shocked.”

Munro has still to be cross-examined by prosecutor Alan Cameron.

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.