One-in-a-billion DNA match ‘links killer’

Alan Ross died after a fatal wound to the neck
Alan Ross died after a fatal wound to the neck
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A ONE-IN-A-BILLION DNA match linked an alleged killer to a murder, a jury has been told.

Swabs taken from the blood-soaked clothes and footwear of David Nairne matched the DNA of the murder victim almost perfectly.

Forensic analysis showed that Nairne’s bloody palm print, containing a mix of his DNA and that of the victim was found on an envelope in the Edinburgh flat where Alan Ross was killed.

Scrapings taken from underneath Nairne’s fingernails also proved a partial match for the dead man’s DNA, with the chances of it being anyone else’s put at 367 million to one against.

Nairne, 26, of Viewforth, Edinburgh, is on trial at the High Court in Livingston accused of murdering Mr Ross in his flat in North Pilton Drive, Edinburgh, in February this year. He denies the charge.

He further pleads not guilty to attempting to defeat the ends of justice by setting fire to the corpse, making an explosive device by putting household chemicals in a microwave and disposing of evidence, including clothing and two knives.

He also denies headbutting Mr Ross in Mathers Bar, Edinburgh, seven months before the killing.

Stephen Whitson and Lesley Baird, Nairne’s former neighbours in Yeaman Place, Edinburgh, told how they saw him dump a carrier bag in a communal bin outside their flat the day after the killing.

Pc Mark Robertson, 39, said he later searched the bin and recovered a carrier bag containing bloodstained boots, jeans and a top, which were sent for forensic analysis.

Forensic biologist Tracey Gavan, 32, told the jury she found the DNA of both Nairne and Mr Ross on the items.

She said there was so much blood on the boots and clothing that it was difficult to take an uncontaminated “wearer DNA” swab to establish that it was Nairne’s.

However, the jeans produced a major DNA sample consistent with odds of one in more than a billion that he was the wearer.

The same garment produced a full match with odds of one in more than a billion that the blood was that of Mr Ross.

When she visited Mr Ross’ flat, she found that the bedroom where his body was found was “literally covered in blood”.

She said: “There was blood on the walls, on the floor and significant amounts of blood on the bed consistent with a violent incident having taken place in the bedroom.

“The top end of the bed, the pillows and the wall behind the bed were heavily bloodstained, including contact blood staining and many small and minute spots and splashes of blood.

“There was a large volume of blood on the bed and more on the walls in the corner of the room consistent with someone crouching or lying down on the floor and being assaulted in this area.” She agreed that the stains were consistent with Mr Ross having been subject to two attacks, one on the bed and the second on the floor.

Dr Kerryann McEwan, consultant forensic pathologist, said Mr Ross had died from a single stab wound to the neck but had suffered ten further knife wounds to his face and neck and 19 more minor cuts and bruises. The horrific fatal wound cut through the main jugular veins on both sides of his neck and also severed an artery. He would have bled to death very quickly, she said.

A post mortem showed that severe burn injuries, especially around the trunk and groin area, had been caused post mortem.

The trial continues.