Two men have appeared in court charged with tying up and murdering Inverness dad-of-three Ross MacGillivray.
Craig Hayden, 28, from Alness, and 21-year-old Leon Headey, from Liverpool, are accused of restraining Mr MacGillivray by the wrists and repeatedly striking him on the head.
The 36-year-old – described by his family as a “loving husband, father and friend” – was found by police at a property on St Ninian Drive, in the city’s Dalneigh area, in the early hours of Sunday November 12. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hayden and Headey appeared in private before Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald at Inverness Sheriff Court and made no plea to the allegations.
The murder charge states that the pair, whilst acting with another, restrained Mr MacGillivray and repeatedly struck him on the head and body by means unknown, inflicting blunt force head injuries.
They also made no plea to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
That charge alleges that they cleaned Mr MacGillivray’s body, removed his clothing and other items from the address between November 11 and November 12 and disposed of them in the Caledonian Canal.
It is further alleged that they destroyed a mobile phone by smashing it.
Mr MacGillivray was found in the house in the Dalneigh housing estate shortly after 12am.
Emergency services were called to the scene and an area of the nearby Caledonian Canal was cordoned off.
A heavy police presence was in the estate for several days and police confirmed they were treating his death as murder following the results of a post-mortem.
The man leading the enquiry, DCI Martin MacDougall said “a significant degree of violence” had been used.
In a statement released through the force, his family said: “Ross was a loving husband, a doting father, loved by his family and friends and all who met him.”
Liverpool accused facing further charges
Hayden’s lawyer David Patterson and Headey’s solicitor John MacColl both confirmed that no application had been made for their clients to be released on bail. Their clients were both remanded.
Headey also appeared on a second petition facing a charge of attempted murder after an alleged axe attack on an Alness man in Kirkside in the Easter Ross town on October 23 this year.
Another Alness man, Lee Fraser, has already made a private appearance on this charge at the end of last month. He was released on bail at full committal stage after a successful application by Mr Patterson.
It states that Headey, whilst acting with others, assaulted a man by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with an axe, a hammer, or similar implement, and a quantity of knives, causing him to fall to the ground to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger to his life and did attempt to murder him.
Headey was also charged with possessing an offensive weapon, namely an axe. He was remanded in custody as no application for bail was made by Mr MacColl.