Date: 10 May 2018
Annalise Johnstone was found dead at the Maggie's Wall memorial near Dunning. Her throat had been slit from ear to ear with a Stanley knife or box cutter.
She was said to have bled to death in minutes.
Two people were tried for her murder in May 2019, Annalise Johnstone's brother and his girlfriend at the time. The girlfriend was found not guilty, whilst Annalise Johnstone's brother was discharged after a not proven verdict was returned.
They had each blamed each other for the murder.
Following the trial the police said in October 2019 that they were reopening the investigation and carried out another search around the monument for the items that Annalise Johnstone's brother said he had buried there, but nothing was found. When Annalise Johnstone's father heard that the police were reopening the case he said, 'This is the first I’m hearing about it but it’s not surprising. However, I’ve lost all faith in the police being able to find out what happened and the Crown getting a successful prosecution. I don’t think it’s ever been treated seriously enough because Annalise was a traveller. If she’d been a doctor or lawyer, I’m sure authorities would have treated it seriously from the start and someone would be in jail. We all know there are just two people who know what happened to Annalise, the two people already tried'.
Annalise Johnstone had lived in a flat in Nursery Place, Ardrossan, North Ayrshire.
Annalise Johnstone's brother had been an unemployed builder at the time and was also a Traveller.
His girlfriend at the time had four children although it was said that she had disputed that she had been Annalise Johnstone's brother's boyfriend at the time.
Annalise Johnstone's body was found by a couple on a hillwalking holiday at a timeshare property near Gleneagles by a drystone wall by the B8062 in Perthshire just after midday on 10 May 2018. They said that they initially thought that it was a mannequin that had been dumped by the roadside. They said that they had to give themselves a reality check first and that they poked her hand with a walking stick to confirm that she was human and then called the police.
The police said that they first thought that she might have been the victim of a road accident until they saw the heavy bloodstains around her neck. A DNA expert said that when she was called out to the place where Annalise Johnstone's body was found that she initially thought she had been the victim of a road accident. She said, 'As I started to examine the body I did notice a rather large incision to the neck. There was extensive saturated bloodstaining to the front of the body, obviously in keeping with what I saw to the neck region'.
However, she went on to say that there was no blood pooled in the vegetation under the body, which she said indicated that her injuries had been inflicted somewhere else.
She said that when she later went to Maggie's Wall memorial she took blood samples from the grass there and found that all three swabs that she had taken gave a full DNA match to Annalise Johnstone. She said that a swab was also taken from blood on the bumper of the Ford Galaxy that had belonged to the girlfriend which also proved to belong to Annalise Johnstone.
She also said that another swab was taken from the boot of the car which proved to contain a mixed DNA profile which she said scientists thought included Annalise Johnstone's DNA as a major contributor but that there was also blood from three minor contributors, one of which, at least, was male.
The DNA expert said, 'This could be accounted for if wet blood from Annalise Johnstone had been deposited on the ground on the bumper and in the boot. In our opinion it wasn’t possible to determine if it was as a result of Annalise Johnstone self-harming or from a cut injury to her throat. There was very little blood. Had we had a lot more bloodstaining in the vehicle it would have given a lot more support either way'.
She added that Annalise Johnstone's top was heavily bloodstained but that there were only ‘passive’ blood spots on her jeans. She said, 'From the bleeding on the clothing in my opinion she wasn’t upright when bleeding from that injury at all. She could have been standing but she would have gone down quite quickly'.
Maggie's Wall memorial was also known as witch's memorial.
Annalise Johnstone's bother and his girlfriend had lived in a house in Raven Grove, Auchterarder but in April 2018 one of the girlfriends children left a tap on in the upstairs bathroom and forgot about it causing flooding and extensive damage. After that they moved about from place to place and on 7 May 2018 they went to stay at Annalise Johnstone's flat in Nursery Place.
The girlfriend said that when they arrived that Annalise Johnstone had seemed upset after having spoken to her girlfriend on the phone.
It was heard that hte following day that that they all visited Glasgow. Her brother said, 'We just floated about because Annalise said she hadn’t been to Glasgow for ages'.
However, it was heard that later on Annalise Johnstone became anxious and cut her arm in an effort to get her brother to take her home.
They spent that night at Annalise Johnstone' flat and the following day went out again. Annalise Johnstone's brother and his girlfriend were seen in CCTV stopping off at the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Stewarton, Kilmarnock, just after 2pm and later at 4.10pm Annalise Johnstone was seen to visit the Alpine Store in Ardrossan. They then dropped Annalise Johnstone's dog off at a friend's house, with Annalise Johnstone telling her friend that she had something to do with her brother and that she would be back in an hour.
The friend later said, 'It was a school night for my kids, so she knew not to be too late'. Annalise Johnstone later sent a message to her friend saying that she would return soon, adding, 'I’m sorry, he’s taking ages'.
The three of them along with the girlfriend's four children were later seen in CCTV in the early hours of 10 May 2018 driving through Tayside in the girlfriend's Ford Galaxy car. They were seen just after midnight at a BP Garage in Kingsway, Dundee after which they were seen in Camperdown Park at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurant. The Ford Galaxy car was then seen to pass onto the Myrekirk Roundabout where the girlfriend said that she was dropped off with her children at a bus stop near the A90 after which she walked home to Green Julian Place in Inchture where she lived.
The trial heard that it was agreed that Annalise Johnstone was killed at Maggie Wall’s monument between 1.28am and 2am.
The court heard that at that same time the lights from the Ford Galaxy car were seen in CCTV at a nearby house that overlooked the monument. The CCTV footage also showed what appeared to be light from a torch or a mobile phone.
When Annalise Johnstone's brother gave evidence he said that he found Annalise Johnstone lying face down at the monument. He said, 'I shook her and turned her over. I thought there was water on my hands, but I could see that it was blood'. He said that he then took off his shirt to staunch the blood and held her in his arms but she died.
He then told the court that he decided to move her body to a place where it would be found.
However, he blamed his girlfriend for the murder.
He said that she had threatened to have him charged for raping her and sexually abusing her daughter if he did not cover up her alleged crime. He said that he picked up Annalise Johnstone's body and carried her in his arms, 'like a child' for two miles before dumping her behind the stone wall or dyke, about two miles away, on the B8062.
He said that he had placed her body where it could be seen by motorists because he was afraid that his girlfriend's family would cut her up and dispose of her body so that she was never found.
He admitted that he had been driving the Ford Galaxy when it stopped at the monument where he said they had gone because Annalise Johnstone had wanted to take some photographs, even though it was dark. He said that Annalise Johnstone and his girlfriend had both got out of the car to take photographs and that he had stayed in the car to look after his girlfriend's children.
He said that a few minutes later that his girlfriend got back into the car alone and burst open two sachet’s of washing detergent and began to wash her hands with the liquid after which he went to look for Annalise Johnstone in the dark and found her lying face down at the foot of the monument.
He said, 'I thought at first she’d been knocked out so I’ve turned her round. I felt what I thought was water on my hand but a couple of seconds later I realised it was blood. It was bad. She was severely struggling to breathe, extremely gasping for air. By that time I’ve got my T-shirt off and I’ve put pressure on it. I didn’t know the wound was on her neck'. He said then that he ran back to the car and said to his girlfriend, 'What the f**k did you do that for? Phone an ambulance!' after which he went back to Annalise Johnstone.
He said, 'I went back to my sister thinking she (girlfriend) is phoning an ambulance. I don’t think she was even breathing at that point. My sister died in my arms'.
He said that they then drove back to his girlfriend's parents’ house in Inchture where they both stripped naked outside the front door and put their bloodstained clothes into a bin bag after which they washed with bleach and then had a shower after which he burnt the clothes and buried the knife on the orders of his girlfriend.
He said that he buried the knife, either a Stanley knife or an expandable box cutter in a Happy Meal box along with Annalise Johnstone's glasses and mobile phone. The details of the Happy Meal box came out at the trial and after Annalise Johnstone's brother was acquitted the police went back to the scene and searched for it but without luck.
He said that if he didn't do what she had told him that she would have accused him of rape and that he would have been disowned by the Traveller community, even if no charges were made as his friends and family would not speak to him. He added that if she had said that he had sexually abused one of her children that somebody would have killed him. He said, 'Somebody would have taken my life, especially her father'.
He added, 'I didn’t do harm to my sister. I didn't kill her'.
However, at the trial it was heard that he had told his father a different version of events, saying that he had left the two women alone at the monument and had then walked back to Auchterarder to the house where they had previously been living. He then said that his girlfriend later returned alone in her car and had started to wash blood off her hands and that he had then sprinted back to Maggie's Wall memorial where he had found Annalise Johnstone who he then cradled and tried to stem the flow of blood. When he was cross-examined he admitted that it would have taken him 12 to 15 minutes to have run back to the monument from the house.
After the cross-examination, the defence for the girlfriend said, 'It is an agreed piece of evidence that Miss Johnstone expired from her injury in a few minutes. We can see how that makes his story impossible'.
Annalise Johnstone's brother was spotted a few hours later burning clothes at the side of the Inchture-Errol road by a hotel worker and said that he also disposed of the murder weapon there. He also admitted to changing his appearance.
He also admitted that both he and his girlfriend had cleaned bloodstains off her Ford Galaxy car.
Annalise Johnstone's brother had falsely reported Annalise Johnstone missing to the police early in the morning about 12 hours before she was found. His report was recorded and later played back in court. He told the police, as well as friends and relatives, that he had dropped Annalise Johnstone off at their uncle’s in Auchterarder on the night of 9 May 2018. However, when the uncle was questioned it turned out that he had recently moved out of the flat in Ruthven Park to a new address in Broxburn sometime before the night of the murder. When he was asked whether Annalise Johnstone had ever visited him in Auchterarder he said, 'No, never'.
Annalise Johnstone was missed soon after by her friend who noted that she had not been active on Facebook. She said, 'She wasn’t active on Facebook and that just wasn’t like Anna. She was taking selfies and posting every day. She was very active on social media'. The friend said that she called Annalise Johnstone's brother to find out what was going on and said that he told her that he had dropped Annalise Johnstone off at his uncle’s and they hadn’t seen her since 3am after which he told her that Annalise Johnstone had gone hitch-hiking.
The friend said, 'I didn’t think that anything untoward had happened. I thought it was a prank at first. I thought they were just pulling my leg. It was a bit sick maybe, but I thought they were having me on.
At the time that Annalise Johnstone's body was found, Annalise Johnstone's brother had been giving a statement to the police at Dundee police station concerning Annalise Johnstone who at the time was supposed to be missing. It was heard that when he heard about her death that he became upset and emotional and repeatedly hit his head on a table.
It was heard that when Annalise Johnstone's brother was arrested and charged with murder that he said, 'I’m saying f**k all' and that after a private consultation with his solicitor that he refused to be interviewed.
When the girlfriend was questioned she said that Annalise Johnstone's brother had dropped her and her four children off in Inchture and that Annalise Johnstone's brother had driven off to Auchterarder with Annalise Johnstone. She added that Annalise Johnstone's brother had told her the same story about having taken Annalise Johnstone to the uncles place. When she was asked by the police where she thought Annalise Johnstone might be she said, 'She won’t be at the caravan park because certain people don’t like her going there because she’s gay'.
However, when she was later questioned she contradicted herself and said that Annalise Johnstone's brother had dropped her off at her home in Inchture after buying fast food in Dundee in the early hours of 10 May 2018.
Following the post mortem the pathologist said that Annalise Johnstone had gashes in her neck that had severed the main arteries and blood vessels to the brain and caused her to choke on her own blood, adding that they were unsurvivable.
At the trial, the girlfriend who had a new boyfriend by that time was said to have said during, a 'pillow talk' chat that Annalise Johnstone's brother had arrived at her house in the early hours of the morning covered in blood. The new boyfriend said that the girlfriend also told him that Annalise Johnstone's brother had also confessed to having 'hurt somebody', but that he would not say who it was. The new boyfriend said that the girlfriend had told him that about a month after the murder.
The new boyfriend said that he had asked the girlfriend about what happened to the girl that was killed and said that she told him that it was nothing to do with her. He said, 'She said that Annalise Johnstone's brother had turned up at the house in Inchture with the Ford Galaxy. She said it was all bashed. She said Annalise Johnstone's brother was covered in blood and that he’d hurt somebody but he never said who. The girlfriend said she had helped him clean up himself and said that he was sure that she had said they had used bleach. They had cleaned the car, burnt his clothes and they got rid of a knife'. He added that from what she said that he got the impression that the knife had been disposed of in a park in Kilwinning, Ayrshire.
He added, 'To be honest this is stuff she said to me on the phone that night and when we were back together, pillow talk. She said she was telling me this because she trusted me and she wanted me to realise how much she cared for me. At no point did she ever say she had been involved other than helping him tidy up and clean him. We genuinely never spoke about the murder very much. I think it was just one night when we were in bed she told me what I’ve told police already. One thing I did ask her when she told me all of this was: 'Were you there?'. She said no, she’d been in Inchture, and Jordan had come there in the early hours covered in blood'.
When Annalise Johnstone's younger sister gave evidence she said that her brother had threatened her with a knife a few days before Annalise was murdered during an incident in Coatbridge. she said that in the same incident that the girlfriend had also thrown iced caramel frappes at her after she refused to give them the keys to her flat in Ayrshire. She said, 'I hate him. I’m not sticking up for him because he’s my brother. He just had it into his hand. He says that he wouldn’t have used it on me. He had it in his hand and he was ready to flick it up but my cousin jumped in'.
It was reported that when the younger sister was led out of court that she glared at her brother and the girlfriend.
A neighbour that had lived next door to the house in Raven Grove, Auchterarder where Annalise Johnstone's brother and his girlfriend had lived before the flood said that he recalled hearing the noise of children shouting outside his home just before midnight on Thursday 10 May 2018. He said that when he looked out that he saw Annalise Johnstone's brother dragging something out of the house and heaving it into the boot of the Ford Galaxy car.
He said, 'They were away for two or three weeks, occasionally coming back to pick stuff up then going away again. It’s usually just to get children’s clothes. This time Annalise Johnstone's brother was dragging something out of the house. It took him all his time to lift it up and get it into the back of the car. It looked to be a large duvet'. He added that the duvet appeared to have been filled with something, saying, 'He kind of lifted it up then he had to use his knee to lift it in the back of the car'.
When the girlfriend was questioned over the murder she said that she had not seen the work trousers or work boots that Annalise Johnstone's brother had been wearing since the murder. In her statement she said, 'I think he had a shower while I was sleeping. He had another two showers that day one in the morning one in the afternoon, I’m not being cheeky but he hardly ever showers. I also noticed that he has shaved his head a lot different. He’d shaved his beard off too. When the police took him he was clean totally. He always had a bit under his chin and it was gone. He told me he’d dropped Annalise off at their uncles. He never mentioned it again until he started crying and said he was really worried at the garage before he phoned the police'.
It was heard that she denied having been in the Ford Galaxy car between 1am and 3am on the morning Annalise Johnstone was murdered. She went on to say, 'I had nothing to do with Annalise’s death and have never seen her brother cause her any injury that would cause her death. He hasn’t told me anything. I’ve been asked if I know where any weapon he used is and I don’t, no way'.
At the trial both Annalise Johnstone's brother and the girlfriend denied murdering Annalise Johnstone as well as attempting to defeat the ends of justice by covering it up.
After the trial Annalise Johnstone's father said that he had given up any hope of her killer being brought to justice. He said, 'It's not that I've just lost my daughter. I've lost everything. Me and my son have fallen out, big time. If the police came to my door tomorrow and told me that my son was dead, I couldn't even be bothered to go and identify the body'. He added, 'I've given up all hope of the police doing anything now. I've no confidence in them anymore. I feel that if my daughter had come from a posh background, or if I was a doctor or something like that, the police would be going out of their way to keep this investigation running. But because she was a Traveller, they've just moved on. It's like they just want to brush things under the carpet and get rid of it’.
Maggie's Wall memorial is a monument in memory of Maggie Wall who was burnt there as a witch in 1657.