Murder trial hears of ‘scene of carnage’ in flat

Keith Rizzo, 23, is accused of killing Neomi Smith at her flat in Brechin last summer.

Court: Keith Rizzo has been accused of murdering Neomi Smith.
Court: Keith Rizzo has been accused of murdering Neomi Smith.

A woman was found stricken in her flat amid a “scene of carnage” the night she was allegedly killed by her boyfriend.

A neighbour of Neomi Smith told how he tried to save her life after discovering her lying blood-stained in her kitchen with a knife nearby.

Stephen Alexander had gone there after the 23-year-old’s “distressed” partner Keith Rizzo banged on his door for help.

Jurors heard Rizzo claimed to the 59-year-old that Miss Smith had been in a row with someone while he was in the shower at her home.

The 23-year-old ex-farmer denies murdering Miss Smith at her flat in Brechin, Angus, last June 9.

Mr Alexander recalled hearing a “rather disturbing” noise coming from Miss Smith’s home upstairs around midnight.

The High Court in Glasgow heard he was just about to call police when Rizzo turned up at his door.

The witness said: “He was in a state of panic and distress. He was worried about Neomi. There was no response from her.”

Mr Alexander dialled 999 as both men went upstairs. Rizzo told him Miss Smith was in the kitchen.

Mr Alexander then explained: “I entered. I saw a scene of carnage. There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.

“It looked as though a battle had taken place. There were bottles of sauce, fruit and vegetables amongst the broken glass.

“There was a knife at Neomi’s left leg. She was lying on her front between the fridge and the tumble dryer.”

Mr Alexander checked for a pulse, but could not detect one.

As he spoke to the 999 operator, he then began carrying out CPR on Miss Smith.

Mr Alexander remembered there being blood on her head and upper body.

The witness told jurors: “He [Rizzo] was asking me was I getting a response. He just seemed to me to be in a total panic.”

Prosecutor Duncan McPhie asked: “Did he say what had happened?”

Mr Alexander responded: “He informed me that Neomi had been in the kitchen arguing with someone while he was in the shower.”

Rizzo apparently did not state who his partner had been rowing with.

Both men went outside awaiting emergency crews.

Rizzo then shouted towards people leaving a nearby bar that his “girlfriend had been stabbed”.

Miss Smith’s friend, Kayleigh Cameron, earlier told how the pair had been out at a bar in Brechin on June 8.

Rizzo had also been at the pub. The court previously heard how he appeared “angry” at Miss Smith dancing with another man.

Miss Cameron recalled a number of conversations she had with Miss Smith that night.

The 19-year-old witness said her “upset” friend claimed Rizzo had been “belittling” her.

The young women later chatted again outside the bar.

Miss Cameron said: “She confided in me that he had abused her – that he had hit her before.

“This was news to me. She said she had been pushed up against a wall and knocked unconscious by him.

“She was scared and wanted to go home, but if she left him, he would hit her again as he had not hesitated to do it before.”

A former partner of Rizzo later alleged he had been “manipulative and controlling” as well as “blackmailing” her.

She had been in a relationship with Rizzo from July 2018 for a number of months.

Mr McPhie asked the 18-year-old: “With regards the blackmailing, what can you tell us?”

The witness replied: “We broke up a few times. Every time we did, he would not stop harassing me on social media.

“When I would not go to see him, he would threaten to post private photos of me over the internet if I did not talk to him.”

The prosecutor went on: “What was the nature of these pictures?”

The teenager replied: “They were nude.”

Rizzo denies the accusations.

The trial, before Lady Rae, continues.


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