A MAN accused of murdering a friend told police his pal had gone for chips two days earlier and failed to return.

William Cameron, 39, made the claim while speaking to an officer who had just seen the lifeless body of Darryl Fitch lying in a pool of water.

Cameron denies murdering Mr Fitch during a camping trip to the Locher Water, near Bridge of Weir, between July 10 and 13, 2015.

It is alleged that he repeatedly struck 43-year-old Mr Fitch on the head with a blunt object or against a hard surface, causing him to fall and drown.

Giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, Constable Andrew Whiteford told how he and a colleague raced to the scene after receiving a 999 call from two fishermen who found Mr Fitch’s body.

The two fishermen went back to the scene with the police officers a different way from the way they had previously got there and they saw Cameron sitting by the riverbank, shivering.

A collapsed tent and camping gear was nearby.

Constable Whiteford said he and his colleague, Constable Alan McConnachie, had carried on to where Mr Fitch’s body was lying in the water.

He told the court it was round a bend in the river from the campsite where Cameron was sitting and could not be seen from there.

Constable Whiteford told the jury that he could see injuries to Mr Fitch’s head.

He then walked back to the campsite to speak to Cameron, while Constable McConnachie guarded the body.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard asked Constable Whiteford what Cameron said to him.

The officer replied: “He said he had been camping with a friend, Darryl Fitch, and that the friend had left two days earlier to get chips and hadn’t returned back.”

Mr Goddard then asked: “How long did Mr Cameron say he had been camping for?”

Constable Whiteford replied: “Two or three days.”

The prosecutor then asked: “Did he complain about being attacked in the middle of the night?”

Constable Whiteford replied: “No.”

The court was told that Cameron, of Hollows Avenue, Foxbar, Paisley, was taken to hospital, where it was discovered he had a broken leg.

Defence QC John Scullion asked the officer: “You were speaking to a man lying at the river’s edge, he was shivering, smelled of urine and said he had been drinking water from a puddle?”

Constable Whiteford replied: “Yes.”

Mr Scullion added: “He didn’t tell you he had a broken femur, he didn’t complain about the fact he had broken the biggest bone in his body?”

The witness replied: “No.”

The trial before judge Lord Mulholland continues.