Killer snared by police thanks to distinctive walk

Gordon Veitch was convicted of murdering Brian Bathgate. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
Gordon Veitch was convicted of murdering Brian Bathgate. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
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A KILLER who evaded police for 18 months after stabbing a father-of-four in the neck in his own home was finally snared – by the way he walks.

Ground-breaking footprint analysis techniques were used for the first time to lead detectives to unemployed Gordon Veitch, 56.

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

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

There were emotional scenes amongst relatives of Mr Bathgate in the public benches as a jury convicted Veitch on a majority verdict following a trial.

Afterwards, 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.

“It is testament to the hard work of the officers involved in this inquiry that we were then able to trace Veitch and ensure he faced justice. I want to commend not only the professionalism shown by the officers but also the tremendous dignity shown by the family of Mr Bathgate who have been understanding and patient throughout.

“My thoughts are with them and I sincerely hope the verdict brings them a sense of closure.”

Veitch, from McNeill Walk in Tranent, had denied striking Mr Bathgate on the neck and hand with a knife.

He stabbed the victim through the neck, cutting his windpipe and carotid artery. Mr Bathgate’s body was later found by his brother.

Police were able to work out using CCTV footage from the farm and elsewhere in Haddington, as well as mobile phone records, that Veitch was in the cottage at the time of the murder.

Forensic experts in footwear and gait gave evidence, and jurors were shown a large photographic recreation of bloody prints found in the hallway.

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

Jurors were told that there was “moderate support” for the proposition that a person seen on CCTV, who was Veitch, was the same person who made the prints in the hallway with footwear.