Jurors' Illness Halts Murder Trial

3 November 2014, 14:37 | Updated: 3 November 2014, 14:38

The trial of a man accused of murdering two teenage girls 37 years ago has been delayed after several members of the jury fell ill.

Angus Sinclair, 69, denies raping and murdering Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, both 17, who were last seen at the World's End pub in Edinburgh on October 15 1977.

He is accused of carrying out the attacks along with his brother-in-law, Gordon Hamilton, who is now dead.

Evidence in the trial at the High Court in Livingston was halted this morning after three jurors reported feeling unwell.

Judge Lord Matthews told the remaining members of the jury: "We will rise for the day and hopefully your colleagues will be fit again to sit again tomorrow.''

The jury had been hearing from forensic scientist Geraldine Davidson, who works with the England-based company Cellmark.

She talked the court through a report on DNA analysis carried out on the belt from Helen's raincoat, which had been used as a ligature around one of her wrists.

Ms Davidson, who was giving evidence for a fourth day, told the jury that the analysis suggested the two girls may have still been together when the ligature was tied.

She told the court that, in relation to one sample which had previously been part of a knot in the belt, there was "very strong support'' for Sinclair to have contributed to the DNA found, and ``moderately strong support'' that Hamilton had also contributed.

Reading from the conclusions of the report, Ms Davidson said: "This is the area we might expect to have been handled when the belt was tied as a ligature around Helen Scott's wrists.''

The jury heard that, while Helen's DNA was present on the belt, it was in fact Christine who was the "major contributor'' to the DNA profiles found.

Ms Davidson said: "This indicates that Christine Eadie had been in direct contact with this belt, but alternatively her DNA could have been transferred on to the belt.''

She added: "In our opinion, the presence of DNA matching Christine Eadie on the ligature used to tie Helen Scott's wrist would provide support for the assertion that the tying of the ligature on Helen Scott's wrists was at a time when Christine Eadie and Helen Scott were still together or had just been separated.''

Jurors have previously heard that Christine's body was found at around 2.25pm on October 16 1977 at Gosford Bay, Aberlady, and Helen's body was discovered at around 6pm that day in a field near Haddington in East Lothian.

They have heard a defence report detailing Sinclair's version of events, in which he said he had ''consensual sexual intercourse'' with both girls in a vehicle in Holyrood Park and later left to go fishing.

He claimed the girls had been "alive and unharmed'' when he left them.

Sinclair has submitted three special defences of incrimination - blaming the deceased Hamilton; 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.

The trial continues tomorrow.