Annalise Johnstone’s brother yesterday (Thursday, May 16) blamed his former partner for murdering the 22-year-old Traveller at a notorious witch’s memorial.

Murder accused Jordan Johnstone claimed his ex-girlfriend Angela Newlands cut his sister’s throat with a Stanley knife and left her to bleed to death at Maggie Wall’s Monument in Perthshire.

He told a jury that he cradled dying Annalise in his arms as he tried in vain to staunch the flow of blood from a gaping wound in her neck.

After she stopped breathing, he said he carried her body for at least 40 minutes along a dark country road before dumping it behind a wall two-miles away from the scene of the killing.

He said he had wanted to dispose of her personally because he feared his former co-accused's father was going to “chop my wee sister up and throw her away” to ensure her remains could not be found.

Johnstone, 25, was giving evidence in his own defence at the High Court in Livingston after mother-of-four Newlands, 28, was exonerated of all charges against her.

She was formally found not guilty on Wednesday of murdering Annalise at Maggie Well’s memorial near Dunning in Perthshire on May 10 last year after the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict her.

The prosecution withdrew the final charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice when the court reconvened on Thursday and judge Lady Scott acquitted her of that charge as well.

Johnstone, a prisoner at Edinburgh, denies murder, assault and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Giving evidence, he claimed Newlands and his sister had been taking drugs, winding each other up and trading insults during the journey from Ayrshire to Newlands’ parents’ home in Inchture, Perthshire.

As they neared the monument between Auchterarder and Dunning, where Scotland’s last witch is said to have been burnt to death, he said his sister “jumped at the chance to see something like that” because she was interested in the occult.

He told how both women got out of the car to look at the monument while he stayed with Newlands’ four sleeping children.

A few minutes later, he said, Newlands got back into the car alone, burst two sachets of washing detergent and began to wash her hands with the liquid. 

He said he got out of the car and went to look for Annalise in the dark.

He said: “When I’ve walked up the steps I’ve seen my sister lying face down. 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. By then I could see a lot better and I'd noticed a large patch on her left shoulder going down.

“I thought maybe she was stabbed pretty bad the way she was bleeding. 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 at all.”

He said he ran back to the car and said to Newlands: “What the f**k did you do that for? Phone an ambulance!”

He added: “I went back to my sister thinking she (Newlands) is phoning an ambulance. I’m sitting there and I’ve noticed that the breathing was really, really bad. 

“It was even worse, I don’t think she was even breathing at that point.  My sister died in my arms.”

Soaked in his sister’s blood, he said he told Newlands that Annalise was dead. She hadn't called for help but promised to “sort it”.

He told the jury: “She was really panicked. After she told me she was going to get rid of my sister I couldn’t let that happen.  I told her: ‘I’ll take care of it. I’ll move her.’ 

“After that I moved my sister and put her behind the wall. I told Angela she wouldn't be found so she’d be happy with that.

“I carried her. It took me a while, maybe about 40 minutes, maybe longer. Her head was on my shoulder like you’d hold a child.

“I didn’t want Angela to know where. I thought her dad was going to chop my wee sister up and throw her away.”

He said Newlands picked him up on the B8062 and they returned to the witch’s memorial to collect the Stanley knife, Annalise’s mobile phone and her hat and spectacles, which he said Newlands put in a McDonald’s Happy Meal box.

When they returned to Inchture, he said they both stripped naked outside the front door and put the bloodstained clothes into a bin bag. They then washed with bleach before showering and, on Newlands’ orders, he burned the clothes and buried the murder weapon.

Johnstone, who has ‘Angela’ tattooed on his neck and another reading ‘Family’ across his back said he was blackmailed by Newlands into saying he had dropped Annalise off at an uncle’s house,

He told the jury: “She said if I said anything she was going to get me done for raping her and molesting one of her kids. When she said that I panicked. 

“I was wanting to call the police but obviously that thought worried me. I never slept at all that night.”

He claimed that if he had been accused of rape he would have been ‘disowned’ by the Traveller community and no-one would have talked to him. If he had been accused of sexually abusing one of her children, he said: “Somebody would have taken my life – especially her father”. 

Under cross examination by advocate depute Alex Prentice, Johnstone said he would have done anything to prevent harm to Annalise, insisting: “I didn’t do harm to my sister. I didn't kill her.”

However, he admitted that he had dumped her body, disposed of clothing, cleaned blood from the car, disposed of the murder weapon, changed his appearance and washed with bleach in the immediate aftermath of the murder.

Mr Prentice put to Johnstone: “You told complete and utter lies about the death of your sister.” The accused answered: “Yes I did.”

Mr Prentice said: “You did that because you didn't want to face up to the ghastly crime of killing your sister.” Johnstone replied: “I committed no crime by killing my sister.”

The trial, before Lady Scott, continues.