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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Killer caught by relative's DNA
Craig Harman
Craig Harman admitted manslaughter after giving DNA
A relative of Craig Harman, jailed for killing lorry driver Michael Little, inadvertently led police to their man after officers used pioneering DNA techniques.

DNA taken from a brick thrown through Mr Little's cab on the M3 was checked against the national database.

Using a new technique, 25 people with similar DNA were located and Harman's relative was top of the list.

Harman was then caught after giving a DNA sample which matched exactly.

There is no doubt in my mind that without this groundbreaking technique and the Forensic Science Service, this crime would have remained undetected
Det Chief Insp Graham Hill, of Surrey Police

Mr Little died in March 2003 as he drove his vehicle on the M3 in Surrey.

A brick crashed through his window after being thrown from a footbridge above the motorway, causing him to suffer a fatal heart attack.

On Monday, 20-year-old Craig Harman was jailed for six years for the crime.

Before throwing the brick, Harman had tried to hot wire a car after smashing the window.

Blood found in the Renault Clio, parked in a driveway in Brackendale Road, Camberley, matched DNA found on the brick in Mr Little's cab.

The DNA profile was checked against the national database, but because Harman did not have a criminal record no match came up.

Michael Little
Michael Little was praised by police for keeping his lorry under control
It was then Surrey Police, with the Forensic Science Service, decided to use the intelligence-led DNA screening and familial searching.

The technique, which is based on the fact that individuals who are related are more likely to have similar DNA, had been launched a few months before.

In July last year, a security guard pleaded guilty to murdering Cardiff prostitute Lynette White in 1988 after he was traced using the same technology.

South Wales Police arrested Jeffrey Gafoor from Llanharan, near Bridgend, more than a decade later after DNA evidence at the scene led to a close relative, and so to Gafoor.

Perfect match

In the same way, one of Harman's relatives was found to have similar DNA and soon the killer was tracked down.

A voluntary DNA sample from Harman was found to be a perfect match and in the face of the evidence he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Detective Chief Inspector Graham Hill, from Surrey Police, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that without this groundbreaking technique and the Forensic Science Service, this crime would have remained undetected."

The service will now be used by other police forces, who will have to pay 5,000 a time to the Forensic Science Service.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"This case was a breakthrough in the way the police use DNA evidence"



SEE ALSO:
Brick thrower jailed over death
19 Apr 04  |  England
Tribute to M3 brick death driver
15 Mar 04  |  England
Lorry driver brick murder denied
30 Jan 04  |  England
Life for Lynette White murder
04 Jul 03  |  Wales
How police found Gafoor
04 Jul 03  |  Wales
DNA tests in murder hunt
15 Apr 03  |  England


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