Murder Accused DNA Link To Tights

Knots in tights used to bind a teenage girl killed 37 years ago contained DNA linked to a murder accused, a court has heard.

Images of a ligature from around the wrists of Christine Eadie were shown to the jury today during the trial of Angus Sinclair, who denies murdering and raping her and her friend, Helen Scott.

Both 17-year-olds were last seen at the World's End pub in Edinburgh on October 15 1977.

Christine's body was found the following afternoon at Gosford Bay in Aberlady, East Lothian, while Helen's body was discovered a few hours later in a wheat field near Haddington.

Three knots in a section of tights taken from Christine's wrists were tied on top of each other. They were examined by forensic scientist Geraldine Davidson using specialist techniques, the High Court in Livingston was told.

She said the knots were tightly bound and formed a "closed surface'' which were "systemically untied'', and samples taken at every freshly-exposed area.

The samples were subjected to DNA analysis and components of Sinclair's profile matched parts of the incomplete mixed profile which was detected, meaning they were "unable to exclude'' him as a source, jurors heard.

Parts of the profile of Gordon Hamilton, Sinclair's brother-in-law, were also found.

Sinclair, 69, is accused of carrying out the attacks along with Hamilton, who is now dead.

During questioning from Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, prosecuting, Ms Davidson read from a report prepared for the court.

She said: "As these samples have been recovered from areas which were preserved within knots and tied cut ends this is fitting with DNA having been present at the time the ligature was tied.

"Had Angus Sinclair and/or Gordon Hamilton used the above ligature to bind or strangle Christine Eadie, then we would expect to detect their DNA on the surfaces of this ligature.''

Ms Davidson also said knot-tying was "not a two-person activity'' and DNA could have been left through secondary transfer.

The court further heard about a torn pair of tights and a bra which were used around Christine's neck.

Ms Davidson, who works with the English-based company Cellmark, said a detached part of the strap which had been used in the knotted section was analysed for DNA using the same techniques.

She said components of Sinclair and Hamilton's DNA were found and experts said they could not be excluded as contributors.

Sinclair has submitted three special defences: incrimination - blaming his brother-in-law; alibi - saying he was fishing on the banks of the Firth of Forth near Cockenzie power station at the time; and consent to sexual intercourse.

Jurors have also heard that Sinclair, who denies the charges against him, claims both girls were ''alive and unharmed'' when he left their company.

Sinclair's version of events was read out to the court during the first day of Ms Davidson's evidence yesterday.

The words are contained in a defence report and state: "Mr Sinclair's recollection is that within his caravanette in Holyrood Park he first had consensual sexual intercourse with Christine followed by Helen, and that Mr Hamilton had sex with both girls in the opposite order.

"Angus Sinclair claims that Gordon Hamilton then drove him back to East Lothian as he wanted to continue fishing and that when he left the girls were alive and unharmed.''

Defence QC Ian Duguid has not yet had the opportunity to question the witness.

The trial before Lord Matthews resumes tomorrow, when Ms Davidson will continue giving evidence.

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