The man accused of murdering Renee MacRae and her son more than 45 years ago said her estranged husband was among others responsible for the crime, a court has heard.
William MacDowell, from Penrith, was brought before the High Court in Inverness on Tuesday, where he is accused of killing the 36-year-old and her three-year-old son Andrew in November 1976.
Represented by Murray Macara KC, the court was told the 80-year-old denied the charges against him and had filed a special defense on charges and alibi.
The jury of seven men and eight women was told he was not at the scene of the alleged murder on November 12, 1976 and had spent the night at home.
The defense alleges that Ms MacRae’s husband, Gordon MacRae, from whom she is separated, committed the offenses with persons unknown.
MacDowell, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, is accused of assaulting and subsequently murdering Ms MacRae and her three-year-old son at Dalmagarry rest area off the A9 trunk road or elsewhere by unknown means.
He is also accused of disposing of their bodies and belongings in an unknown manner.
MacDowell is also accused of setting fire to a BMW car, dumping a baby stroller and a Volvo trunk lid, and doing so to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution.
Assistant Attorney Alex Prentice KC is prosecuting, and Lord Armstrong told the jury he expected the trial to take about four weeks.
The court was told that Mr MacRae had married Renee MacRae on 17 May 1963 but they separated in 1975. The court heard that in July of the following year she was taken to Cradlehall Park, near Inverness, in a marriage by her estranged husband provided house drew.