Annalise Johnstone‘s body was discovered in woodland in May 2018
A woman has been acquitted of murdering her friend’s sister in Perthshire.
Angela Newlands was accused of killing Annalise Johnstone, 22, along with co-accused Jordan Johnstone, at the Maggie’s Wall Memorial near Dunning.
Miss Newlands was acquitted of the murder charge at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case against the couple.
The 19-year-old still faces a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, and the murder charge against Mr Johnstone remains.
Ms Newlands broke down in tears as judge Lady Scott told the jury there was insufficient evidence to convict her of murder.
‘Frustrating for jurors’
The judge said: “I have heard legal submissions made in respect of the second accused in terms of the charge of murder.
“I have made a ruling that there is insufficient evidence which would entitle you to consider the evidence and convict on that charge.
“Accordingly I have acquitted the second accused on charge four. She remains on charge five on the indictment, that’s the attempt to defeat the ends of justice.”
She added: “I know this is a bit frustrating for jurors because you haven’t heard the legal arguments and the decision’s been made in your absence.”
Both accused deny falsely reporting Annalise Johnstone missing last May, cleaning their car, disposing of a knife and burning items of clothing.
During the final day of prosecution evidence, the jury heard Ms Newlands told police her relationship with Jordan Johnstone was not sexual, although they shared a bed when they stayed at her home in Auchterarder and at her parents’ house in Inchture, also in Perthshire.
Mark Stewart QC, defending Ms Newlands, put it to witness Det Con Rachel Webster: “Angela Newlands makes it clear they haven’t had a sexual relationship. Beyond that statement (she) gave you some explanation why that might be so – because she believes him to be gay?”
The officer replied: “Yes.”
Change of clothes
Mr Stewart also asked about clothing Mr Johnstone had been wearing.
He put it to Det Con Webster that Ms Newlands had stated that Jordan Johnstone had taken Annalise away, and later returned wearing entirely different clothes.
Mr Stewart added: “The clothing wasn’t his clothing, it was Angela Newland’s father’s clothing. She wasn’t very happy about it.
“It was Jordan Johnstone alone who took Annalise away from Inchture late on the 9 May into the early hours of the 10th?”
Ms Webster answered: “Yes.”
Mr Stewart then asked: “Throughout this entire interview she’s crystal clear Jordan Johnstone left Inchture with Annalise Johnstone in the Ford Galaxy and they left together and alone?” The officer agreed.
Following the cross examination, Lady Scott warned the jury that any allegations made by one accused against another were not evidence.
Earlier in the trial, the jury heard agreed evidence that the cause of Miss Johnstone‘s death was a deep puncture wound to her neck which severed vital veins and arteries and caused death within a few minutes.
The prosecution and defence also confirmed that Mr Johnstone‘s car was near the Maggie’s Wall Memorial at the time Miss Johnstone was attacked.
The trial at the High Court in Livingston continues.