A man accused of sexually assaulting and murdering an Aberdeen gran has been judged fit to stand trial.
Norman Duncan, 42, denies killing Margaret Robertson at her home in the Granite City on September 25, 2019.
Margaret, known as Meg, was found dead after emergency crews were called to her high-rise flat in Promenade Court.
Duncan was arrested over the alleged killing – and put on trial earlier this year charged with murdering the 54-year-old grandmother.
But his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh had to be halted in February after a judge ruled he was “medically unfit” to continue.
A preliminary hearing at the High Court in Livingston today was told that doctors at the State Hospital in Carstairs – where the accused has been held since – agreed that he should now be returned to prison.
His defence counsel Bill Adam told the court: “He is now fit for trial and a restriction order is no longer necessary.
“His medication has been adjusted throughout his term at the State Hospital and it is now seen to be effective.
“He has been made fully aware that he undermined the effectiveness of his medication by taking illicit drugs. His mental health can now be managed in prison.”
He added: “Clearly his position is that he did not commit this offence, but – given the gravity of the alleged offence – I’d like to keep alive any defence or partial defence, given his mental health.”
Duncan previously lodged a special defence of incrimination over the murder charge.
The prosecution alleges that he assaulted Margaret before seizing her and touching her breast.
It’s claimed he sexually penetrated her and repeatedly stabbed her on the head, neck and body with a knife or similar sharp instrument.
He is also accused of trying to defeat the ends of justice by changing out of bloodstained clothing and trainers and washing them, washing or discarding a bloodstained knife or sharp instrument, hiding from police and providing false personal details to officers between September 25 and October 1, 2019.
It’s further alleged he was in possession of the Class ‘A’ drug cocaine at Margaret’s home on 25 September 2019.
Judge Lord Harrower told Duncan’s defence team that the court would have to have sight of any special defence before the next preliminary hearing, which he fixed for 11 February at Edinburgh High Court. He said a new trial was scheduled to begin on 13 February.
Advocate depute Bill McVicar said the Crown was still waiting for police to provide shoes that had been examined and some witness statements which had gone missing would have to be replaced with copies.
He added that a DVD of the accused’s interview by police was corrupted and would have to be repaired for court purposes.
Finally, he said a review of Duncan’s treatment order was no longer necessary and asked the court to revoke the order and commit the accused to prison.
The judge granted the advocate depute’s request to release Duncan to prison but asked the clerk to note that if the accused became non-compliant with his anti-psychotic medication his mental health might deteriorate and cause him to be returned to hospital.