Man who murdered and dismembered Montrose mother jailed for life

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A depraved murderer who dismembered a Montrose mother-of-three and hid her body parts in bins has been jailed for life.

Steven Jackson was told he would serve a minimum of 26 years and his co-accused Michelle Higgins was jailed for eight years for helping dispose of Kimberley MacKenzie’s body.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Livingston today, judge Lady Rae told the pair: “The behaviour of both of you was despicable and callous.

“The killing appears to have been a wholly motiveless and brutal murder of a defenceless woman.”

She added: “What you both did to the body of the deceased shows a level of depravity thankfully not often seen in these courts.

“You, Mr Jackson, boasted that you were sexually aroused when you were cutting up the body of the deceased.

“You told the social worker that when faced with body in similar circumstances you would be constrained to act in similar fashion.”

She said Jackson, unlike his co-accused, had shown no remorse for his actions.

She told him: “You will not be eligible for parole and release until the whole of the punishment part has expired.

“Thereafter it will be for the parole board, and the parole board alone, to decide if you still present a risk to the public.”

Defence advocate Jonathan Crowe, for Jackson, said his client had never been convicted of any violent crime before and still maintained he was innocent of murder.

He told the court: “His position is that the only part he played in this horrendous incident was to assist in the dismembering and disposal of the deceased.

“Mr Jackson knows full well there can only be one disposal in this case standing verdict of the jury – a very lengthy sentence, standing the seriousness of this crime.”

Mark Stewart QC, defending Higgins, said she had been candid and open with social workers and had answered their questions with “what appears to be some degree of insight into the nature of the offence and the dreadful consequences it had and will continue to have in respect of the family and friends of the deceased”. A jury earlier found Jackson, 40, guilty of battering former partner Kimberley MacKenzie with a hammer and stabbing her with two knives at a flat in Montrose, on 27 October 2015.

Ms MacKenzie, 37, sustained at least 11 blows to the head and was stabbed more than 40 times in the murderous attack. Jackson dismembered her body in a bath the following day and wrapped the parts in plastic bags.

He and his co-accused Michelle Higgins then carried some of her remains through the streets of Montrose before hiding them in bins.

Jackson later boasted to police that he had taken other body parts to a slurry pit and fed them to the pigs.

The murder charge against Higgins. a friend of the victim, was found not proven, but she was convicted of helping to dispose of the remains.

The trial at the end of 2016 was told Jackson targeted Kimberley MacKenzie in a frenzied attack with two knives, a hammer and a large paint scraper.

As she sat in an armchair drinking a cup of tea and chatting to Higgins, Jackson walked up to Ms MacKenzie and hit her on the right side of the head with a hammer.

The force of the blow knocked her to the ground and, as she lay helpless, Jackson stabbed her more than 40 times before bludgeoning her again on the head with the hammer.

The final violent blow to Ms MacKenzie’s head was with a large paint scraper. When officers later spoke to Jackson he told them: “Michelle hit Kim in the head with a hammer. I finished her off by cutting her throat.”

He also confessed to his ex-wife Barbara Whyte that he had killed Ms MacKenzie and dismembered her body.

The trial heard that the pair dragged the body into the bath and butchered it after Higgins went out and bought a saw.

Ms MacKenzie’s body was cut into 12 pieces and her upper torso, lower torso, a leg and feet were dumped in four bins in Montrose.

The rest of her body including the head and thighs was packed into the rucksack and suitcase.

The pair were caught on cctv carrying the bags through the streets of Montrose.

Higgins told of holding open black bin bags into which Jackson would drop body parts and then she would tie up the bags.

Jackson boasted of getting a sexual thrill from cutting up the body.

During the trial, each of the accused blamed the other for murdering Ms MacKenzie. Higgins claimed that she only helped Jackson dispose of Ms MacKenzie’s body because she was so terrified of him.

Ms MacKenzie was reported missing by her father Terence MacKenzie, 66, the day after she was killed.

He last saw her in Montrose High Street about 11.30 on the day she died.

When police visited Market Street days later as part of their missing person investigation they noticed a “smell of death” next to the bins in the communal close.

Jackson’s neighbours also reported seeing him acting suspiciously near the communal bins,

Police immediately sealed off the area and stopped scheduled bin collections while they searched for Ms MacKenzie’s body.

Other body parts were found in a house for which Higgins had the keys.

Jackson has 21 previous conviction, including theft, housebreaking, road traffic offences, breach of the peace, fireraising and misuse of drugs. Higgins has convictions for shoplifting and breach of the peace.