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Alan Mackay reports
"A family party was quickly under way"
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Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Fingerprint accused bailed
David Asbury
David Asbury is led away after his trial
A man at the centre of a murder case which could major implications for Scotland's fingerprinting system has been freed on bail from a life sentence.

David Asbury was granted interim liberation at the High Court in Edinburgh pending his full appeal being heard.

He has served more than three years for the murder of former bank clerkess Marion Ross, 51, at her family home in Kilmarnock, in January 1997.

Shirley McKie, 37, then a Strathclyde Police officer, denied during Asbury's trial that she had entered the crime scene and was charged with perjury.

Experts who gave evidence at her trial insisted a thumb print found at Miss Ross's house was hers, proving she had gone into the house.

Doubts have been cast on fingerprint evidence
Ms McKie was convicted but won an appeal with the help of an American fingerprint expert, who cast doubt on the accuracy of the fingerprinting techniques used by the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO).

She was later completely exonerated by a Scottish Police Inspectorate report.

Four experts who gave evidence in her trial have since been suspended by the SCRO.

No date has yet been set for a full hearing of Asbury's appeal against his conviction for the murder.

Lawyers for Asbury believe that new expert analysis of a crucial fingerprint will lead to his conviction being overturned.

The 24-year-old joiner, from Kilbirnie, was jailed after a biscuit tin found in his house was alleged to have Miss Ross's print on it.

Fresh analysis carried out by Danish experts has now cast doubt on whether it was the deceased woman's print that was on the tin.

Asbury, supported by members of his family, had claimed that the biscuit tin had been in his home for three years.

 Click here to watch Finger of Suspicion, part of BBC Scotland's Frontline series.

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See also:

17 Aug 00 | Scotland
Murder appeal after print error
03 Aug 00 | Scotland
Fingerprint experts suspended
06 Jul 00 | Scotland
Fingerprint perjury inquiry launched
23 Jun 00 | Scotland
Trial chaos fears played down
22 Jun 00 | Scotland
Fingerprints to be 'double-checked'
16 May 00 | Scotland
False impression: transcript
18 Jan 00 | Scotland
Finger of suspicion: transcript
17 Jan 00 | Scotland
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