Widow tells court of last kiss with car death man

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry
The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry
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A TEARFUL widow has told a murder trial jury of the last time she saw her husband off to work with a kiss.

Mobina Jafari, 32, said she later spoke on the phone to Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo, 41, and told him she missed him. However, he never arrived home.

Mr Aryaei Nekoo, a private hire driver, was found severely injured in a park a short time after the phone call and died as passersby and a paramedic tried to save him, the High Court in Edinburgh has heard.

Asked how she would describe him, Ms Jafari replied: “What should I say? He was loving, very kind.”

Stephen Nolan, 48, of Redhall Place, Edinburgh, denies murdering Mr Aryaei Nekoo, of Carrick Knowe Hill, Edinburgh, on 24 March last year in a car parking area near the Fords Road entrance of the city’s Saughton Park. It is alleged that Nolan repeatedly drove a black cab at him, struck him on the body, and drove over him.

Earlier that day, it is claimed, Nolan shouted at Mr Aryaei Nekoo and adopted an aggressive and intimidating manner towards him at a petrol station near the park.

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

Ms Jafari, from Iran, gave evidence through an interpreter and said she had married Mr Aryaei Nekoo in 2010. He had a ten-year-old son from a previous marriage.

She recalled that Mr Aryaei Nekoo left for work on a Friday afternoon, to work through the night. He came home for short breaks about 8pm and again about 11:30pm. On the second occasion, he lay down for a rest. She alerted him that he had a fare, and he left.

“This is the last time I saw him. I kissed him and he left. He asked me to kiss him on his forehead and on his cheeks,” said Ms Jafari.

She phoned him around 6am, and said he must be tired and to come home.

“I said, ‘I miss you.’ I asked him whether he was hungry. He said he had eaten something in a restaurant,” she added.

It was about an hour later that Mr Aryaei Nekoo was found in the park.

The trial has heard that he was still alive, but died at the scene. He was lying on grass about 22 metres from his Vauxhall Zafira private hire car. The driver’s door was open and the engine was running.

Jack McBirnie, 54, a collision investigator with Lothian and Borders Police until he retired last month, said he found tyre marks near the body and the Zafira.

The marks indicated “a vehicle under hard acceleration with the wheels spinning”, said Mr McBirnie.

He added: “The vehicle was being driven vigorously.”

There was no evidence of braking and it had been one continuous manoeuvre. The body lay over one of the tracks, but it might have been moved while attempts had been made to save him. There was no break in the track and no tyre marks on the body.

“It is likely the body had gone under the vehicle between the wheels...(the driver) would certainly feel the bump,” said Mr McBirnie.

The defence counsel, Donald Findlay, QC, said there was evidence that Nolan and Mr Aryaei Nekoo had an argument at a petrol station, and then both appeared to have headed for the park “to pursue the discussion.” Mr Aryaei Nekoo left his car and it was known that he ended up on the ground and the taxi had gone over him.

“There is a gap, and you have no way of knowing what happened during that gap,” Mr Findlay suggested to the witness.

“That’s right,” said Mr McBirnie.

Mr Findlay added: “He is on the ground for the taxi to go over him, but how he comes to be on the ground, you can provide no evidence.”

“No,” agreed Mr McBirnie.

The trial continues next week.