Law hill, August 2001
As Anne Nicoll walked her parents’ Airedale terrier by the Law on 2nd August 2001, she became the victim of a brutal and senseless killing. Stabbed a total of 29 times, the body of Anne Nicoll had been so savagely mauled that even her bones had been cut. It emerged that her voicebox had been sliced in the attack, preventing her from screaming out for help, as she was mercilessly stabbed to death. Concerned for his girlfriend when she did not return home what should have been a routine walk with the dog, Gordon McKenzie went out to search for her. He quickly found the dog wandering around, and was quickly guided to Nicoll’s lifeless, battered and bloodied body.
Her killer was red-haired teenager, Robbie McIntosh. 15-year old McIntosh had his identity concealed at the start of the investigation, but as more details of his heinous crime were revealed and he appeared in court, he turned 16 and his anonymity was revoked. During the trial, Judge Lord Bonomy quoted a witness as saying she had been “butchered, and no better description could be applied to the way in which she met her death”. It also emerged that McIntosh had stamped on his Nicolls’ head as she lay helplessly at his feet. The murder weapon, believed to be a boning knife, was never recovered.
Police enquiries led them to McIntosh after questioning two shop workers who revealed that McIntosh came into their place of work on the night of August 2nd and told them there had been a murder on the Law, and that the victim had been stabbed and beaten to death. A young boy who had spoken to McIntosh in the days proceeding the murder said that McIntosh had appeared to know far too many details about the murder, which struck him as bizarre. McIntosh also told a care worker during his detention at Rossie School, that he was not willing to go to prison for a crime he did not commit. He then divulged that he had been at the scene of the crime on the night in question, but it was his friend Robbie Soutar who had attacked Nicoll following an altercation between the two.
When Police questioned McIntosh, he constantly changed his story. From outright denial, to claims of smoking cannabis, as well as trying to incriminate a friend, McIntosh weaved a web of lies in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from himself. Indeed, McIntosh had returned home from the Law, showered, dressed and was on his way to meet up with some of his friends when he stopped by a local fish and chip shop to tell two workers of the murder. Forensic analysis linked McIntosh directly to the crime, by matching blood found on his clothing to Nicoll and his fate was sealed.
At the High Court in Forfar, on the 11th day of the trial and following an arduous deliberation, a jury of 15 found McIntosh guilty of murder. Judge Lord Bonomy sentenced him to a minimum of 15 years for his crime, detaining him in custody with no fixed time limit. An appeal was lodged with the Court of Appeal in 2003, claiming that evidence and statements presented were circumstantial and this was not advised to the court at the time of the trial. The motion for appeal was refused, stating that it was “without substance” and no miscarriage of justice had been done in the sentencing of Robbie McIntosh for his violent and savage attack.