‘Distinctive walk’ killer jailed for 16 years

Gordon Veitch was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
Gordon Veitch was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
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A KILLER who was snared by his distinctive walk was jailed for life for the murder of a dad-of-four.

At the High Court in Glasgow 56-year-old Gordon Veitch was ordered to spend at least 16 years behind bars.

Veitch was convicted of the murder of Brian Bathgate

Veitch was convicted of the murder of Brian Bathgate

But, solicitor advocate John Scott QC, defending Veitch, said that his client, who is suffering from cancer, may die in jail.

Veitch was found guilty after trial at the High Court in Edinburgh of murdering 45-year-old joiner Brian Bathgate in a knife attack at Barney Mains Farm, near Haddington, in March 2013.

Judge Sean Murphy QC told Veitch: “On two occasions you went to remonstrate with Mr Bathgate. The circumstances are not clear but you stabbed him in the neck before leaving the scene. The reasons why you did this are also not clear.”

Ground-breaking footprint analysis techniques were used for the first time to lead detectives to unemployed Veitch after an 18-month hunt for Mr Bathgate’s killer.

Forensics experts concluded that the person who left bloody footprints in the cottage where the murder was committed walked with this right foot pointing out.

Veitch denied murdering Mr Bathgate who was found dead in the living room of his cottage at Barney Mains Farm on March 15, 2013.

A number of specialist forensic techniques were used, some of which can determine how people walk.

These had never been used by Police Scotland before.

Veitch, from Tranent, had gone to the country cottage in the early hours, but instead of approaching by the road walked through a field.

He claimed he never went inside the cottage, but had banged on the door a few times and took his glove off knock on the window.

But, CCTV from a camera at the farm showed light coming from the doorway as if the door was opened.

Police were able to calculate from other footage in Haddington that Veitch would have been able to get to the cottage for the door opening. They also found phone evidence that he had been near to the cottage at the time of the murder.

The gloves he wore could have been responsible for blood marks found at the scene.

Forensic experts in footwear and gait were also called and jurors were shown a large-scale photographic recreation of bloody prints found in the hallway of the cottage where the door was unlocked.

They concluded that the person who made the prints walked with the right foot pointing out.

CCTV footage shown to the jury of Veitch showed that his right foot pointed out as he walked. The bloody footprints in the hallway showed that the killer walked in exactly the same way.

Throughout his trial Veitch denied the murder. His defence QC Mr Scott said: “He is 56 and facing a life sentence. He is receiving cancer treatment and there is a question mark over whether he will survive the punishment part.”

The detective who led the investigation said Veitch had been snared by new specialist forensic techniques.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie said: “After an extensive investigation lasting more than a year-and-a-half, officers were in a position to arrest and charge Gordon Veitch for murder.

“In order to reach this conclusion we utilised, for the first time in Police Scotland’s history, a number of specialist forensic techniques such as forensic gait analysis, which through footprint analysis can provide an insight into how a culprit walked.”