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Witness tells of moment he saw north-east schoolboy ‘going blue’

Michael McLean suffered fatal injuries while on work placement.
Michael McLean suffered fatal injuries while on work placement.

A man accused of killing a schoolboy in an industrial yard told workmates the teen looked like he was lying down “taking a breather” when he found him, a court has heard.

Dean Reynolds, 23, is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of culpable homicide over the death of Michael McLean.

Man charged over death of Aberdeen schoolboy who died on work experience

Mr McLean, who was just 17 at the time, died after an incident at the premises of Denholm MacNamee Ltd, Inverurie Business Park, on August 14 2015.

Reynolds denies killing the teen by culpably and recklessly operating a cable spooler machine, causing it to rotate while Mr McLean was within the drum of the machine, as a result of which he sustained severe injuries and later died in hospital.

He faces an alternative charge of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons affected by his acts or omissions at work.

Dean Reynolds, 23, leaving the High Court in Aberdeen.

Reynolds – whose address was given in court papers as Regent Street, Keith – also denies a second charge of attempting to pervert the ends of justice by discarding two pairs of work boots belonging to him.

On the second day of the trial evidence was given by Lewis Massie, a water jet technician at the firm’s Inverurie base, who had been working on the spooler machine earlier in the day before the incident.

He said Reynolds had been operating the machinery.

Advocate depute Richard Goddard asked him: “Were you aware that there were any plans to carry out any pranks or anything like that on Mikey because it was his last day?”

He repled: “Not that I’m aware of.”

Mr Massie said he became aware something had happened when everybody began running towards the paint tent. He followed them and described the scene he found as “horrible”.

The court was read a statement Mr Massie made to police in the aftermath of the incident in which he said: “When Dean spoke…later about how he found him, he said he was lying almost like he was taking a breather from painting”.

The witness said the statement “rang a bell”.

Mr Duguid also asked: “Did you say to the police that Dean is not really a practical joker?”

He replied that he did.

Evidence was also given by Ross Christie, 20, a trainee technician at Denholm MacNamee.

The advocate depute asked him, when he first arrived on the scene of the incident: “Was it obvious to you that Mikey was badly hurt?”

Tragic teenager injured at Aberdeenshire work site dies

He said it was adding: “There was blood coming from his ears and he was really pale.”

The prosecution asked: “Did you not just think he was having a breather?”

He said: “Not with blood coming out his ears.”

The court was then shown CCTV of the yard as people rushed to and from the scene of the incident in the paint tent.

Mr Christie added: “I was in shock. I’d never seen anything like this before.

“He was unresponsive and his face was going blue. It was not a normal colour.”

The trial before Lord Beckett continues.

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