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July 10, 2013

Stefan Millar to appeal Liam Aitchison murder conviction

Stefan Millar to appeal Liam Aitchison murder conviction

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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Stefan Millar, one of the two men jailed for life last month for the murder of 16-year-old male Liam Aitchison in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, is to appeal his conviction. Submission of notice of intent to appeal has been confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh.

Millar’s solicitors are to prepare documents to back his case for appeal across the next two months. The two convicted were given until Friday to submit any plan to appeal. It is not yet known when Millar’s appeal hearing would commence.

Millar and Jonathan MacKinnon, each aged 22, pled not guilty to the November 23, 2011 murder of Liam Aitchison but were both found guilty on June 3. They were both sentenced on June 28 to life imprisonment and ordered to serve at least eighteen years imprisonment before becoming eligible to apply for parole. In excess of a thousand pieces of evidence were reportedly gathered by 126 police officers, in an investigation which also involved more than 500 witnesses.

Claire Aitchison, Liam Aitchison’s step-mother, had previously criticised the sentences MacKinnon and Millar were given, saying they were “getting off lightly” and that “life imprisonment should mean life”.



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June 29, 2013

Judge jails two men for life over Liam Aitchison murder

Judge jails two men for life over Liam Aitchison murder

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

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A High Court judge in Edinburgh, Scotland yesterday sentenced two men to life imprisonment for the murder of 16-year-old male Liam Aitchison in the Outer Hebrides.

22-year-old males Jonathan MacKinnon and Stefan Millar were found guilty of Aitchison’s murder at the High Court in Glasgow on June 3. Judge Lord Kinclaven yesterday ordered both MacKinnon and Millar to serve at least eighteen years imprisonment before becoming eligible to apply for parole. Lord Kinclaven told MacKinnon and Millar they had committed “the brutal murder of a young man who was only 16 years of age”.

Cquote1.svg They killed an innocent boy in cold blood but, by the time they leave jail, they will still be young enough to make plans for the rest of their lives Cquote2.svg

Claire Aitchison, step-mother of Liam Aitchison

The two convicted reportedly murdered Aitchison on November 23, 2011, inside an abandoned building in Steinish, a village located on the island of Lewis. Aitchison, who had originally resided in Lochboisdale on the island of South Uist, moved up to Stornoway in Lewis and began working as a fisherman alongside MacKinnon and Millar, developing a social relationship with them. MacKinnon and Millar pled not guilty to the charges of murder, which police had charged them with in December 2011. Judge Lord Kinclaven presided over the subsequent court trial, which started approximately two months ago.

Aitchison and Millar were listening to music and drinking alongside MacKinnon in his residence on November 22, 2011 and MacKinnon punched Aitchison as “a joke” during this visit, the court was told. The three walked from the house upon receiving noise complaints from MacKinnon’s mother. The court was told MacKinnon commenced fighting with Aitchison when a bottle of aftershave he had apparently stolen from MacKinnon dropped from his pocket. Prior to the murder, MacKinnon had stolen a meat cleaver from a boat he was working on and had been keeping it in his bedroom, the court was also told. The exact motive for the murder is unclear thus far.

Location of the Outer Hebrides within Scotland.
Image: Barryob.

Aitchison died when he was stabbed twenty times, as well as being hit with a bottle and stomped on his head. Some items of clothing he was wearing, that he had borrowed from MacKinnon, were removed from his body following the killing. There were no reports during the trial of any trace of the items of clothing being discovered, nor did police recover any murder weapons. The trial was predominantly inferential due to a lack of solid physical evidence.

Aitchison was likely murdered within a 90 minute period on November 23, 2011, during a “communication silence” in which neither of the accused made use of their mobile phones, the prosecution believed. Blood stains were not discovered on the clothing of the suspects, although blood stains discovered at the scene of the murder matched MacKinnon’s DNA. However, the court was also told MacKinnon had previously cut his hand in the abandoned building several years prior and the blood stains could not be dated. A key piece of evidence in the trial came from Dominic Long, who recalled how Millar boasted about the murder while conversing with him in a jail. Frances McMenamin, QC for Millar, subsequently claimed Long had exaggerated in his recount and was an unreliable witness as he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Aitchison’s father Norrie said following the guilty verdicts MacKinnon and Millar were given would “finally allow Liam to rest in peace and bring his family some closure.” He called this murder case one which “no family should have to endure”, additionally commenting of the convicted: “The cowards who robbed our Liam of his life and his future should never be able to see the outside of a prison ever again.”

Following the sentencing, Claire Aitchison, Liam Aitchison’s step-mother, said: “We are happy that justice has been done and that these two brutal murderers will spend a long time in prison.” However, she criticised the sentences given, saying “they are getting off lightly — life imprisonment should mean life. They killed an innocent boy in cold blood but, by the time they leave jail, they will still be young enough to make plans for the rest of their lives.” Claire and her husband Norrie had criticised the Scottish legal system after the guilty verdicts were given for the way it could allow murder suspects to be granted bail after MacKinnon and Millar were both granted bail in February 2012 and December 2011 respectively. “We want to head up a campaign to keep anyone that is charged with murder on remand until proven innocent or guilty,” Norrie Aitchison said.

In a statement, Detective Inspector Andy Logan, the senior investigator of Aitchison’s murder, said the crime had “caused considerable distress in such a small community.” He also said “Liam’s family have also had to cope with the loss Liam in the most tragic of circumstances and hopefully [these] sentences will help to reassure the community and help the family in coming to terms with their terrible loss.” North of Scotland procurator fiscal Liam Murphy said Aitchison’s murder “caused shock and concern in this small community of Lewis and across Scotland” but stressed there was a low murder rate in this region. “I hope that these murder convictions reassure those communities that when we do have such crimes, justice will be done,” he added.



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  • “Jury finds two men guilty of Liam Aitchison murder” — Wikinews, June 4, 2013

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June 4, 2013

Jury finds two men guilty of Liam Aitchison murder

Jury finds two men guilty of Liam Aitchison murder

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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A High Court jury in Glasgow, Scotland yesterday found two men guilty of the murder of Liam Aitchison. 22-year-old males Jonathan MacKinnon and Stefan Millar reportedly committed the murder on November 23, 2011, inside an abandoned building in the village of Steinish on the Outer Hebrides island of Lewis. Outside the court, Aitchison’s father Norrie said the guilty verdicts would “finally allow Liam to rest in peace and bring his family some closure.” Sentence is scheduled to be passed on the convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh on June 28.

Cquote1.svg The cowards who robbed our Liam of his life and his future should never be able to see the outside of a prison ever again Cquote2.svg

Norrie Aitchison, father of Liam Aitchison

Liam Aitchison, who originally resided in Lochboisdale on the island of South Uist, moved up to Stornoway in Lewis and began working as a fisherman alongside MacKinnon and Millar after developing a social relationship with them. MacKinnon and Millar were both charged with Aitchison’s murder in December 2011. Having pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them, the court trial for the two suspects started approximately one month ago.

The court was told of how Aitchison and Millar were listening to music and drinking alongside MacKinnon in his residence on November 22, 2011. As “a joke”, MacKinnon punched Aitchison during this visit. Upon receiving noise complaints from MacKinnon’s mother, the three walked from the house. The court was told MacKinnon commenced fighting with Aitchison after a bottle of aftershave he had apparently stolen from MacKinnon dropped out of his pocket. Prior to the murder, MacKinnon had stolen a meat cleaver from a boat he was working on and had been keeping it in his bedroom, the court was also told. The exact motive for the murder is unclear thus far.

Aitchison’s death was caused by him being stabbed twenty times, as well as being hit with a bottle and stomped on his head. After he was killed, some items of clothing he was wearing, that he had borrowed from MacKinnon, were removed from his body; no trace of the items of clothing have been discovered since. Police have yet to recover any murder weapons. Due to a lack of solid physical evidence, the trial was predominantly inferential. The prosecuting side, lead by Iain McSporran, believed Aitchison would have been murdered within a 90 minute period on November 23, 2011, during a “communication silence” in which neither of the accused made use of their mobile phones.

No blood stains were discovered on the clothing of the suspects, although blood stains discovered at the scene of the murder matched MacKinnon’s DNA. However, the court was also told that MacKinnon had previously cut his hand in the abandoned building several years prior and that the blood stains could not be dated.

A key piece of evidence in the trial came from Dominic Long, who recalled how Millar boasted about the murder while conversing with him in a jail. Frances McMenamin, QC for Millar, subsequently claimed Long had exaggerated in his recount and was an unreliable witness as he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

During closing speeches to the jury, prosecutor Iain McSporran said he believed the two accused were “laying a false trail” and had “linked their fates together” because of their conspiracy, while defence QC Frances McMenamin said the jury should not have been looking for “someone to blame” for Aitchison’s death. As the jury gave its guilty verdict, a shout from Aitchison’s family could be heard, calling the defendants a “pair of monsters”.

Speaking outside the court, Norrie Aitchison said his son “fought to defend himself but he didn’t stand a chance against the violence he came against that night.” After calling the experience of this murder case one which “no family should have to endure”, Aitchison said of the convicted: “The cowards who robbed our Liam of his life and his future should never be able to see the outside of a prison ever again.”

Liam “had his whole life in front of him”, said Detective Inspector Andy Logan, who was the senior investigator of his murder. He said MacKinnon and Millar had “completely betrayed this trust, and in a most brutal and callous way they killed him in a senseless and sustained attack with weapons.” The Detective Inspector called the murder case “a very rare occurrence in what is normally one of the safest places in Scotland”. The crime rate in the Outer Hebrides is amongst the lowest for any region in the United Kingdom; the last murder enquiry to take place on the islands was in 1968. “It was therefore, very shocking to the close-knit community,” Detective Inspector Logan said.



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November 6, 2012

Liam Aitchison murder accused appear at preliminary hearing

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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Johnathon MacKinnon and Stefan Miller, the suspected murderers of Liam Aitchison, have appeared at a preliminary hearing in Glasgow’s High Court.



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  • “Two remanded after court appearance over Liam Aitchison murder” — Wikinews, December 13, 2011
  • “Scottish police charge two over Liam Aitchison murder” — Wikinews, December 12, 2011

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December 13, 2011

Two remanded after court appearance over Liam Aitchison murder

Two remanded after court appearance over Liam Aitchison murder

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Two men have made a private court appearance in relation to their charges of the murder of Liam Aitchison on the island of Lewis, in the Western Isles of Scotland. 21-year-old Jonathan MacKinnon, from Stornoway, and 20-year-old Stefan Miller, who lives in the Carloway district nearby, were both charged with the murder of the 16-year-old male at a brief court hearing in Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.

The accused made no declarations or pleas at the private court hearing yesterday afternoon. They were subsequently remanded in custody. Examination of this case is to continue.

Aitchison’s body was discovered in an abandoned building in Steinish, in the outer area of Stornoway, on November 22. Prior to the discovery, he had been missing for one week. The revelation of his death came across as “heartbreaking”, according to Aitchison’s family. His murder is the first to have occurred on the island for approximately forty years.



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December 12, 2011

Scottish police charge two over Liam Aitchison murder

Scottish police charge two over Liam Aitchison murder

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Monday, December 12, 2011

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The Northern Constabulary have charged two men, aged 21 and 20, in relation to the murder of Liam Aitchison in Stornoway, located in the Western Isles of Scotland.

The Northern Constabulary stated that a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal. The 21-year-old is currently being retained in custody. Speaking of their “heartbreak” at the news of his death, Aitchison’s family have asked those with any information relating to this matter to inform the police.

Aitchison was last sighted on Anderson Road in Stornoway at approximately 2100 UTC on November 22. His body was found in an abandoned building in Steinish one week later.

Aitchison’s death was the first to prompt a murder inquiry on the island of Lewis for more than forty years. Detective Chief Inspector Kenny Anderson had previously spoken of the “very positive” reaction provided by the residents of Stornoway when Aitchison’s family appealed for assistance.


 
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See Two remanded after court appearance over Liam Aitchison murder, December 13, 2011
 

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December 5, 2011

Scotland: Northern Constabulary launch murder investigation over teen death

Scotland: Northern Constabulary launch murder investigation over teen death

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Monday, December 5, 2011

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In Scotland, the Northern Constabulary are now treating the death of a man in the Western Isles as murder, having performed an autopsy. The police force has now launched a murder inquiry.

Aitchison died on the Isle of Lewis, seen here from satellite.
Image: NASA.

The body of sixteen-year-old Liam Aitchison was discovered in an abandoned building in the village of Steinish, on the island of Lewis, during the last week. Detective Chief Inspector Kenny Anderson has spoken of the major inquiry team drafted in to investigate and of the “very positive” local reaction.

The last time Aitchinson was sighted was at approximately 2200 GMT on November 22 of this year, according to The Guardian. At this time, he was taken “to an address outside Stornoway”, according to a taxi driver hired by him. He was reported missing on November 23.

On the date of his disappearance, Aitchison was due to be sentenced in court on a charge of assault, having allegedly attacked an ambulance driver. The Northern Constabulary has a particular interest in trying to locate “witnesses who may have seen three people wearing hooded type tops, who were seen walking in the Steinish village area shortly after midnight on Tuesday 22 November into the early hours of Wednesday 23 November,” according to Anderson.

The family of Liam Aitchison were brought in to give his body a formal identification. They are currently appealing for witnesses; in a statement, they said: “We beg you: if you have any information and have not brought it forward as yet, we urge you, please go to the police.” They stressed that they would be unable to “get peace” without such assistance.

The crime rate in the Western Isles is amongst the lowest for any region in the United Kingdom. The last murder inquiry in the Western Isles occurred in 1968.

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Those who know any information about this incident can contact by telephone:
  • Stornoway Police Station incident room: 01851 702222
  • Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111



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