Saturday, 24 November 2007

Dundee Murder trial

Tests show accused grabbed jumper of woodland murder victim, court is told


FORENSIC tests suggest a man on trial for the Templeton Woods murder grabbed the victim's jumper, a court was told yesterday.

Dr Jonathan Whitaker, one of the world's top experts on DNA profiling, said the results of tests on Elizabeth McCabe's clothing, and a hair root, linked her to the alleged killer Vincent Simpson.

Click Here

Taken together, the combined odds of the DNA coming from someone unrelated to Simpson were one in 40 million, he said.

Ms McCabe, 20, disappeared in February 1980 after a night out with friends in Dundee city centre. The nursery nurse's remains were found in Templeton Woods 16 days later.

A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh has seen photos of the naked body with a blue jumper draped over the victim's head and shoulders.

After years in storage, the jumper was sent to a specialist forensic lab in Wetherby, Yorkshire, for further tests after the murder hunt was reopened.

Dr Whitaker yesterday explained how swabs were taken from three different parts of the blue jumper - even though there were no stains visible to the naked eye. Tests for either blood or semen had proved negative.

All results matched the DNA profile of Simpson.

Dr Whitaker said "a fair and reasonable estimate" of the DNA from the right-hand side of the jumper's neck coming from someone else was one in 320,000. A swab from the right arm produced a result which could have come from one in 38 of the population.

The chances of DNA from the back of the jumper coming from someone other than Simpson was one in 105,000.

Dr Whitaker said: "In my opinion, these DNA profile results provide extremely strong support for the assertion that the DNA recovered from the hair and the blue jumper has originated from Vincent Simpson."

Questioned by advocate depute Alex Prentice, QC, prosecuting, about the DNA result from the jumper's neck, the forensic scientist added: "This result is of particular significance since the DNA profile result is what I would expect to find if Vincent Simpson had grabbed the jumper in the area of the neck, thus transferring his DNA to this area."

Earlier, the trial heard that DNA extracted from the root of a hair found on a black plastic sheet had also been sent to Dr Whitaker's lab for testing. The sheet is said to have been used to take Elizabeth's body to Dundee Royal Infirmary's mortuary, although Simpson's defence team claims there is no proof that it was the same sheet.

Dr Whitaker told the trial that the figure of one in 40 million resulted from tests on the jumper and the hair root DNA only.

The forensic scientist also agreed with Mark Stewart, QC, defending, that there were "provisos and caveats" in his report on his findings.

Simpson, 61, now of Camberley, Surrey, denies murdering Ms McCabe, of Lochee, Dundee, in February 1980. At the time Simpson was living in Newtyle, near Dundee, and operating a private-hire taxi business. He has given the court details of an alibi and a list of 13 names - one or more of them the true killer, he claims.

The trial continues.

No comments: