Murder accused unfit to stand trial over woodland attacks

David Johnstone is detained at the State Hospital and was not present in court.

A man accused of murdering an 83-year-old man and attempting to murder two 70-year-olds in a woodland is unfit to stand trial.

David Johnstone, 35, is accused of killing Frank Kinnis at Birkenhill Woods near New Elgin on October 21, last year.

He is also charged with attempting to murder Morris and Janette Smith at the Moray location.

Johnstone, 35, was not present in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow when the case called on Monday. He is detained at the State Hospital.

His defence QC Ian Duguid said: “The accused is not present. He is not well enough to be brought to these proceedings.”

Johnstone is alleged to have murdered Mr Kinnis by seizing hold of him, placing his arm round his neck and compressing it, causing him to fall to the ground and punching, kicking and stamping on his head.

It is alleged he repeatedly punched and kicked Mr Smith on the head and stamped on his head rendering him unconscious.

He is accused of repeatedly punching and kicking Mrs Smith on the head and body.

He is further accused of assaulting two police officers.

No plea has been entered on behalf of Johnstone.

An examination of facts lasting three days will take place at the High Court in Edinburgh starting on July 27.

Judge Lord Arthurson ordered Johnstone to be detained at the State Hospital on a temporary compulsion order.