Edinburgh vehicle murder trial halted due to juror

Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Lewis Houghton/TSPL
Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Lewis Houghton/TSPL
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A MURDER trial has been halted on its first day after “an issue” arose with one of the jurors.

• Murder trial halted after “issue” with juror arose during case

• A dog-walker tells trial of efforts to save the life of a man allegedly run over by a vehicle

• Stephen Nolan, 48, is accused of murdering Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo, 41

The unspecified problem forced the judge at the High Court in Edinburgh to desert the case overnight for a fresh jury to be selected.

In the only evidence heard, a dog-walker had described how he found an injured man in a park, and the efforts made to save him.

Andrew Minto said the man was still breathing but unable to talk to him, and tracks in the grass made it look as if he had been hit by a vehicle.

Others arrived on the scene and a woman attempted chest compressions while taking instructions over the phone from the emergency services, added Mr Minto, 63.

A paramedic attended and took charge of the patient but, after a time, work on him stopped, and a cover was put over the body.

Stephen Nolan, 48, of Redhall Place, Edinburgh, denies murdering Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo, 41, of Carrick Knowe Hill, Edinburgh, on 24 March last year at a car parking area at the Fords Road entrance to Saughton Park in the city.

It is alleged that Nolan repeatedly drove a vehicle at Mr Aryaei Nekoo and struck him on the body, and drove over him. Earlier that day, it is claimed, he shouted at Mr Aryaei Nekoo and adopted an aggressive and intimidating manner towards him at a petrol station near the park.

In a previous incident, the indictment alleges, Nolan drove in front of his vehicle and caused the two cars to collide.

Nolan also pleads not guilty to other charges, including assaulting and meanacing a motorist, and threatening a fellow taxi driver and putting him in a state of fear and alarm for his safety.

Mr Minto said he was walking his dog in the park on a Saturday about 6:30am when he saw a private hire vehicle with its driver’s door open and the engine running. A man was lying nearby.

“His face was all bruised. His trousers were ripped and his underwear was all covered in blood. His breathing was not very good,” said Mr Minto.

He recalled the man’s eyes being open, but he was unable to respond when Mr Minto asked if he was alright.

A woman arrived but it was too cold for her mobile phone to work. She checked the man and said he had a pulse. She went off to raise the alarm.

Meanwhile, another dog-walker came into the park and he and Mr Minto looked in the car and found a phone. Mr Minto turned off the ignition, and began a call to the emergency services, but as he was speaking, the woman came back with a second woman, wearing a coat over her nightclothes. They were phoning an ambulance and Mr Minto hung up.

He said the first woman tried CPR, pumping the man’s chest, and put him in the recovery position. However, she took instructions over the phone from the emergency services and lay the man on his back again.

“A paramedic arrived. He was on foot because the ambulance had parked at a bridge near the entrance where there are bollards across the road. He took charge of the patient,” said Mr Minto.

The paramedic treated a cut to the man’s leg, trying to stop the bleeding, while the woman continued the chest compressions and the other dog-walker was squeezing a ball on a tube to put air into the man’s lungs.

Mr Minto agreed with the advocate-depute, Douglas Fairley, QC, that work on the man stopped, and the body was covered.

He also agreed that he had spoken to a policeman on the phone, and had stated: “Looking at the tracks, it looks like he has been struck by a vehicle.”

Mr Minto had been due to complete his evidence after the lunch break, but the judge, Lady Wise, announced that an issue had arisen with one of the jurors, and the trial was aborted.