THE ex-wife and lovers of a man who is said to have cut his teenage girlfriend's head off told a court yesterday of their lives of fear.

The four women spoke of their terror at being beaten up by a violent, aggressive, and jealous man who was always falsely accusing them of being unfaithful.

Brian Fairnie, they claimed, punished them with head-butts, punches, and kicks.

The High Court in Glasgow heard of the build-up to the killing of Irvine teenager Angela Thomson, 17, who died on a hot summer's afternoon under a hail of blows in Fairnie's back garden.

Just before he is said to have killed her, Fairnie, 34, claimed she was dabbling in black magic, voodoo, and in contact with evil spirits.

He told one of his former lovers that Angela had put a spell on him and ''a thing'' was following him about.

Mrs Emily Hannah, 46, of Barra Crescent, Irvine, who broke up with him in October 1995, said: ''He said he had something in him. Angela had put a spirit in him.

''He had talked about this kind of thing for years. I suggested he go to a chapel and see a priest.''

Mrs Hannah said that about 7.30am the day Angela died, Fairnie arrived at her door saying there were shadows on some of the houses. She explained to him these were patches on the walls.

Mrs Hannah said: ''I talked to him about the weather because the forecast said it was going to be raining that day. He said: 'No, it's not going to rain. It's going to be a lovely bright, beautiful day today'. He had a smile on his face.''

Asked by Mr Scott Brady, advocate-depute, to describe the smile, Mrs Hannah said: ''An evil smile. I had seen it on a few occasions when he had threatened me.''

Fairnie, of Gigha Lane, Irvine, has been accused of murdering Angela, of Mull Place, Irvine, in his back garden on June 24. He is also accused of assaults on his ex-wife and six other women over an 11-year period.

At the start of yesterday's proceedings, the judge, Lord Caplan, ruled that Fairnie was insane and unfit to plead or stand trial. He then ordered a hearing into the circumstances of the cases.

Last night Fairnie was transferred from Barlinnie Prison, where he was awaiting trial, to the State Hospital at Carstairs.

During the hearing, which is expected to continue today, two young brothers who are neighbours of Fairnie told of seeing him in his back garden with a woman.

She was under a board on the back lawn and they saw him hitting her with ''a big sharp thing'', they said. He had a lot of blood on his head, T-shirt, and hands.

She told the court she left him several times during the violent years she lived with him.

Seven weeks before Angela died she visited him in a psychiatric ward at Crosshouse Hospital at the request of his mother to plead with him to ask for help.

He asked Angela, who was visiting him at the same time, to leave, and told Miss Deans that she (Angela) was filling his head with nonsense.

Miss Deans said: ''He talked about how she could contact evil spirits and said there was something evil in his house.''

Fairnie agreed to stay in hospital but he signed himself out the next day.

Five days before Angela died Miss Deans said Fairnie phoned her and alleged Angela was trying to set up their two children with two paedophiles in the Magnum Centre at Irvine and asked her to ''sort her out''. He told her: ''If you don't do anything about it I will.''

Both Miss Deans and Mrs Hannah spoke of the violence meted out to them during their relationship with Fairnie.

His ex-wife Wilma Stephenson, married him in November 1988 and left him in January 1990.

She told how beaten on a regular basis and falsely accused of having affairs with men at her work. Even when their daughter, Chloe, was born in March 1989, he accused her of sleeping with doctors in the hospital.

She described an occasion while Fairnie, holding their four-month baby, head-butted her, and another when he threatened her with knives.

Another lover, Esther Bell, 32, who had a son by Fairnie in August 1985, also spoke of Fairnie's violence and told how he once brought a girl to their home and took her up to his room.