DUNDEE MURDER TRIAL: Accused left ‘devastated’ after learning former friend had died

A Dundee man has claimed he was “devastated” to learn the man he is accused of murdering had died as a result of their knife fight.

Arran Fender, 31, is standing trial accused of murdering 44-year-old Gary McMillan at the junction of Lawton Road and Lawton Terrace in the early hours of May 16 last year.

He denies the charge and has lodged a special defence of self-defence.

Arran Fender

The pair had once been close friends but had fallen out months before Mr McMillan’s death due to Fender having a relationship with Jessica Holt, 22, while also still seeing Jill Halliday, 31, the mother of his child, the trial heard.

Jurors were told Mr McMillan and Ms Holt had been drinking at the deceased’s flat on the day of his death when Fender arrived and started shouting up at the window.

Defending, Donald Findlay asked Fender: “You took the life of another man who was once your friend. What do you think about that?”

Fender replied: “I was devastated — there was no need for any of this. Everybody involved is suffering.”

Gary McMillan

Advocate depute Murdo McTaggart referred to WhatsApp messages exchanged between the pair on May 15, which had previously been shown to the jury.

In the messages, Fender threatened to “kill” Mr McMillan and “put him in a box”. However, Fender claimed these were “silly messages” and didn’t mean anything.

Mr McTaggart asked: “But you killed that same man the next day?”

However, Fender simply replied “no” and shrugged his shoulders.

Mr McTaggart added: “You took a knife to Lawton Terrace. There was no other reason why you would take a knife there other than for a confrontation with Gary McMillan.”

Fender replied: “No, not at all. I never went there and threatened Gary in any way. I just shouted to Jessica. I left and then Gary came along and tried to ambush me. I had to fight for my life in that street — I just focused on trying to stay alive.”

Fender said he “swiped” at Mr McMillan but denied trying to stab him. The advocate depute said: “You are saying you were swiping at him and didn’t notice his injuries.

“One of these swipes was 13cm deep and penetrated his chest. That’s the type of swipe you might notice. You weren’t swiping at all, you were stabbing.”

But Fender refuted the allegation, adding: “I didn’t want to hurt Gary — I didn’t want any of this.”

Police on Lawton Road

Mr McTaggart asked: “When you struck him with a knife that night, did you care whether he lived or died?”

Fender replied: “I wasn’t thinking of Gary, I was thinking of myself. I respected Gary and cared about Gary.”

Fender denies murdering Mr McMillan on May 16. He also denies having an offensive weapon in public on May 15.

Not guilty pleas to charges of behaving in a threatening manner, having an offensive weapon in public in Dundee and to attempting to pervert the course of justice have been accepted by the Crown.

The trial, before judge Lady Carmichael, continues.