Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 16:29 UK

'Ear print' burglar wins appeal

A burglar jailed after police matched an imprint of his ear to a crime scene has had one of his convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal.

Mark Kempster, 42, of Grange Road, Netley, Southampton, was jailed for 10 years in March 2001 on three counts of burglary and one of attempted burglary.

But judges ruled on Wednesday the ear-print match was unreliable and overturned one count of burglary.

However, Kempster was told his sentence would not be reduced.

Judges said their decision did not affect his other three convictions and they would not "interfere" with the original jail term.

The appeal was granted after Kempster's solicitor said new science could challenge the ear print match.

'Expert evidence'

Michael Mansfield QC said: "At the trial the ear-mark left on the window essentially was unchallenged.

"No expert was called by the defendant to suggest any disparity between the ear-mark at the scene and the ear-print that had been taken from Kempster.

"However, since the trial there have been various developments in relation to this science."

During his trial at Southampton Crown Court specialist ear-print officer Cheryl McGowan told the jury that no two ears were the same and she did not believe the ear could belong to anyone other than the defendant.

Kempster, who worked as a builder, claimed the ear-print was made during work he did on the woman's home earlier in the year.

Announcing the decision, Lord Justice Latham said the court would not give its reasons but would give a written judgment at a later date.

They said evidence relating to ears was an area "which is developing and may well be used in the future".

Kempster is expected to be released in December.

'Ear print' burglar loses appeal
11 Dec 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset

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