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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 16:21 GMT
'Earprint' man cleared of killing
Dorothy Wood (centre)
Dorothy Wood (centre) was smothered at her home in 1996
A man convicted of murder on the basis of his earprint has been freed after spending seven years in prison.

Mark Dallagher, 31, was jailed for life in 1998 after a jury found him guilty of smothering Dorothy Wood, 94, at her home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Experts claimed he had left his unique earprint on the window of her house.

But Dallagher, who now lives in Essex, was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, his solicitor said outside the Old Bailey on Thursday.

No evidence

A retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeal in 2002 after his conviction was found to be unsafe.

Lord Justice Kennedy said that new expert opinion on the reliability of earprint evidence should be tested at the new trial.

But the prosecution offered no evidence against Mr Dallagher and he was formally found not guilty.

Judge Sir Stephen Mitchell told him he hoped he would continue to live peacefully in Essex, where he had been since being released on bail.

Mr Dallagher, who previously lived in Huddersfield, thanked the judge as he left court.

He is now said to be considering seeking compensation.




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