MURDER accused Alan Cameron claims that Heather Stacey died while he was out buying her chips.
Cameron, 56, said he left the 44-year-old for just 20 minutes to pick up the food and when he returned she was dead.
He claims that he did not tell police about the death because he “panicked” over an outstanding arrest warrant for him.
But he insisted that he did not assault her and told cops that he assumed she had died from heart failure as a result of heavy drinking.
Cameron made the claims during an interview which was read the jury at Heather’s murder trial at the High Court in Livingston today (Friday).
During an interview on January 8, 2008 at St Leonard’s Police Station in Edinburgh he told officers: “It was the first two weeks of December 2007.
“She said she was hungry and I went to the chip shop to get her something to eat.
“When I came back she was sitting in bed. I went to and said ‘there’s your food’ and, well, she had died.
“I don’t know what had happened or if she had had a heart attack or if it was due to the drink.
“I shook her to see, thinking she was sleeping but there was no life.
“I panicked and, I know any normal human being would have phoned the authorities right away, but I panicked.”
He added: “I stayed there that night. I think I was more shocked, if that’s the word to describe it, more shocked than anything that someone you had been speaking to 20 to 25 minutes beforehand had some time between the time you’d went to the shop and the time you’d got back and they’d passed away.”
Edinburgh Sheriff Court issued a warrant for Cameron on September 5, 2007 after he failed to turn up to answer claims he kicked a dog in July that year.
He said he was worried that if he reported Heather’s death he would be picked up as well and that nobody would believe how Heather died.
Cameron said: “I panicked with me having, I know it sounds selfish, but I panicked with me having the warrant out for my arrest. I should have put that into the background and not given it a second thought but I did panic.”
Instead he spent 2008 raiding the mum-of-four’s Post Office account for almost £5,000 and sent a text to a charity worker who knew Heather to convince people she was still alive.
Cameron stayed in the flat with the body for months until in November 2008 he received a letter from the City of Edinburgh Council telling Heather that she was being evicted over unpaid rent.
He said that he realised his game was coming to an end and that he decided to get rid of the body.
The dad-of-two said: “I know it was near the end of November because that letter came in on I think it was the 18th of November, the 19th of November, something like that.
“I knew it was getting close to being detected and I decided to take her head and well, as you know it was found.
“I take it the body must have been eaten away and it just snapped and we have spoken about the head that was found.
“I put that into a blue bag, tied that up, the torso, I put that into I’m sure it was another blue bag and some bin liners and the legs, that was put into bin liners.”
Heather’s body was later found in pieces scattered around the Granton area of Edinburgh on Hogmanay 2008. Experts say that Heather’s body had decomposed for a year before it was found and Cameron said she died on December 9, 2007.
Officers were hunting Cameron over an alleged attack on a dog after he dodged a court appearance for the case.
They spoke with Heather on October 18, 2007 about Cameron – just weeks before she died – but she told them that he had moved out and was not coming back.
Last night advocate depute Alex Prentice said he concluded the Crown’s case against Cameron.
Cameron’s defence said they were to make legal submissions on Monday and the jury were asked to return on Tuesday.
The trial before Judge Lord Matthews continues.