Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK


Internet makes mark on fingerprint case

Lord Johnston: Case raises "all sorts of issues"

A policewoman has been cleared of perjury by lying about a fingerprint found at a murder scene in Scotland two years ago.

Detective Constable Shirley McKie's solicitor used the Internet to find two fingerprint experts in America who gave evidence on her behalf.

DC McKie said her life had been a "nightmare" since being charged with lying to the trial of David Asbury, who was convicted of murdering a 51-year-old woman at her home in Kilmarnock in 1997.

[ image: Fingerprint experts gave evidence on Shirley McKie's behalf]
Fingerprint experts gave evidence on Shirley McKie's behalf
The Crown said she must have sneaked into the house to look at the scene but this was denied by the officer.

After the verdict at the High Court in Glasgow, the judge Lord Johnston, took the unusual step by telling DC McKie that he personally respected her "dignity and courage".

He then told the jury that it had been a unique case which raised "all sorts of issues".

The acquittal is a personal victory for solicitor Angela McCracken who believed DC McKie's denials about the fingerpint when no-one else did.

'Wonderful result'

Ms McCracken said: "It's a wonderful result for Shirley McKie, but not for the fingerprint experts from the Scottish Criminal Records Office who all said the print was hers."

Angela McCracken: "A significant victory"
She said that she used the Internet to find two fingerprint experts from America who were flown over to give evidence at the trial and told the jury the thumb mark "definitely" did not belong to DC McKie.

Advocate depute Sean Murphy, prosecuting, said the prints were open to interpretation and asked the jury to accept the evidence of the Scottish experts whose total experience amounted to more than 100 years.

The mother of the man convicted of the murder said his appeal would now go ahead.

Simple search

Ms McCracken told News Online: "The evidence we were challenging is a nationwide system of fingerprinting so we knew we were going to have to go further afield to get someone else to look at the print.

"A search was done under 'fingerprint'. It was as simple as that.

"Sometimes the most brilliant things are very, very simple."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

FBI fingerprint information

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online