A man returned home looking like he “fell into a ditch” on the night he allegedly murdered his teenage sister, a court has heard.
Connor Gibson was described as dirty and dishevelled while also insisting he had “family issues”.
The 20-year-old reportedly told a worker at his homeless accommodation that he had been arguing with his sister Amber Gibson and wanted a phone to make sure she was safe.
Jurors also heard of claims Gibson made to different witnesses about his time with the 16-year-old on the night of Friday, November 26, 2021.
This included him stating he had had a “bad night” and that “everything was a bit fuzzy”.
Gibson is on trial charged with the sexual assault and murder of Amber at Cadzow Glen in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
‘Dishevelled and dirty’
Jurors heard how Gibson had been a resident at the Blue Triangle project in the town on November 26.
Suzanne Duddy worked there and recalled him returning to the unit around midnight.
He pushed open the door to her office and slumped on a chair.
Ms Duddy described Gibson as “quite a dramatic character”.
The 55-year-old project worker said: “He looked very dishevelled, out of breath.
“His hands were very, very dirty up to his wrist. I asked was he okay, but he did not answer.”
He also had bleeding cut on his left shin, complained of “stings”, but “did not seem bothered about his appearance”.
Gibson went on to ask to make a phone call.
Ms Duddy said: “He explained to me that he had family issues and had an argument with his sister.
“That was why he wanted to use the phone to see if she returned home safely.”
After the call, Gibson was said to have gone for a shower.
Ms Duddy told the trial he went on to leave the building with a carrier bag and – from watching CCTV – he briefly went towards where bins were before returning without it.
Gibson is joined in the dock during the trial by 44-year-old Stephen Corrigan, who does not face the murder charge.
Corrigan’s lawyer Rhonda Anderson questioned the witness about Gibson’s appearance.
Ms Duddy told her: “I actually made a comment to Connor: ‘Oh my God, did you fall in a ditch?’.
“He said: ‘Aye, I fell in a ditch’.”
But, she added Gibson “did not elaborate”.
The trial earlier heard how Amber had been staying at Hillhouse Children’s Unit in Hamilton at the time.
Jurors were previously told how the teenager had left that night “excited” to go and meet her older sibling.
Alison Leonard – a residential worker there – told how she unsuccessfully tried to calling Amber then Gibson when the girl had not returned by around midnight.
Gibson then phoned back a short time later and identified himself as Amber’s brother.
Ms Leonard: “He advised that he had been with Amber, but that he had had a bad night and everything was a bit fuzzy.
“He said he had no recollection of when Amber had left.”
She pressed him for a time, but he insisted he did not know.
Ms Leonard told prosecutor Richard Goddard KC that her “gut instinct” made her feel “something was not adding up”.
She then went out and drove around the local area trying to find Amber.
The witness: “I did not like the conversation (with Gibson). I just had a bad feeling.”
Ms Leonard eventually alerted police around 2am when Amber had not returned.
As a missing person’s hunt was launched, the court heard how Gibson spoke with another worker at the Blue Triangle unit on November 27.
Assistant manager Robert Maitland, 44, said Gibson claimed he and Amber had been going to a party, but had a “big argument” and she ran off.
He had then fallen near to Hamilton Academicals stadium and got muddy.
Gibson was “worried” about Amber and that, if something had happened to her, people would think he was at fault due to the row.
Mr Maitland made suggestions to him about helping trying to find the teenager including making an appeal on social media.
But, the witness said: “He was quite dismissive because they had different friend groups.”
Corrigan is charged with breach of the peace and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. He had lodged a special defence of alibi.
It is claimed Corrigan found Amber’s body, but rather than alert police, he inappropriately touched her and then hid her remains under bushes and branches.
This is said to have occurred sometime between November 26 and November 28, 2021.
The trial, before judge Lord Mulholland, continues.