Elaine's body may have had DNA clues

A SEARCH for clues on the body of murdered Elaine Doyle more than 27 years ago may have captured DNA - even though its use in solving crime was unknown at the time.

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Elaine Doyle was found in June 1986
Elaine Doyle was found in June 1986

An attempt to find tell-tale fibres sticking to her naked body may also have preserved DNA from "a third party", a trial was told.

The High Court in Edinburgh has been hearing about the obstacles confronting police when the 16-year-old's body was found in June 1986.

A veteran forensic scientist said: "It was a particularly difficult crime scene to manage."

The exposed body in an area overlooked by houses meant the examination of the crime scene had to be completed as quickly as possible so the body could be taken away.

Keith Eynon, former head of forensic support with the then Strathclyde Police, said he was called to a lane off Ardgowan Street where the teenager was lying.

He told the court: "The body was exposed. There were people milling around in the area.

"I was told the deceased's parents lived nearby so there were a lot of issues over and above the normal scene examination."

The problems led to "a certain urgency" said Mr Eynon, 68, who retired 20 years in 2006.

Mr Eynon also told the trial: "DNA did not exist as far as forensic scientists were concerned."

He went on to tell how he checked for possible footprints, but the ground was too hard. He said he could see no obvious blood stains.

The next step, said Mr Eynon, was to check for fibres that might be clinging to the body and might link the dead girl to her killer.

He described how broad adhesive tape was used to try to pick up hairs or fibres, something that had to be done before the body was moved.

The tape was then stuck to clear acetate sheets to preserve any traces.

Questioned by advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, Mr Eynon agreed the sticky tape could also pick up flakes of dried blood, skin cells or other cellular material not visible to the naked eye.

John Docherty, 49, of Dunoon, denies murdering Ms Doyle, a jeweller's assistant. He claims that at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled her he was at home with his parents.

The trial continues on Monday.

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