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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 16:38 GMT
McDonald's murder appeal rejected
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Ciantar followed his victim out of McDonalds before stabbing him
A man who fatally stabbed a McDonald's customer in the back after accusing him of queue jumping, has failed in his effort to overturn a murder conviction.

Dennis Ciantar chased Gavin McGrath into Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, north London, before killing him. He was jailed for life in July 2004.

Ciantar, 34, from Holloway, was arrested six weeks after the stabbing.

Three appeal judges threw out his challenge to the trial judge allowing certain identification evidence.

Facial mapping

Ciantar had been caught on CCTV at the fast-food restaurant in September 2003, when the argument broke out with Mr McGrath over who should be served first.

Experts were able to use computer facial mapping techniques to show the killer's resemblance to Ciantar.

During the two week trial it was proved that the killer in the CCTV had exactly the same style of standing and walking as Ciantar.

The single stab wound sliced through vital arteries and Mr McGrath, 34, died on the street outside a carwash.

'Strong case'

At the Court of Appeal in London, Lord Justice Moses, sitting with Mr Justice Gibbs and Mr Justice Treacy, said there had been no forensic evidence at the scene and there was only a single positive identification.

"But in our judgment, looked at overall and bearing in mind that the defendant chose not to give evidence, there was a strong case for the jury to consider," he said.

He said identification was a "precarious" category of evidence, where risks should not be taken, and added: "The judge took no such risks and this appeal is dismissed."

After his conviction at the Old Bailey, Ciantar - who had been arrested when the case featured on BBC TV's Crimewatch - was ordered to serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.


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