Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Detective found 'concealed' blade

Vicky Hamilton
A doctor told the trial that Vicky had the test in November 1990

A retired detective constable has told the Vicky Hamilton murder trial that he found a knife concealed in the former home of accused Peter Tobin.

Graeme Bowie said a radar search of the property's loft had helped him trace the knife and a circular piece of glass.

Earlier, the jury also heard how the murdered schoolgirl had a pregnancy test months before she went missing.

Peter Tobin, 62, denies the abduction and murder of Vicky Hamilton in 1991.

He has claimed he was in the Portsmouth area when she disappeared.

Mr Bowie, a former detective constable with Lothian and Borders Police, told the High Court in Dundee that the radar search of the loft space had identified an area of interest.

When he went for a closer look, Mr Bowie told the court he found a knife and a circular piece of glass at the far end of the room.

In my opinion the knife was in a place of concealment in the loft space
Greame Bowie
Retire detective

He said the blade was on the floor behind the last rafter.

He was asked by Solicitor General Frank Mulholland, prosecuting, if the knife had been in the loft for some time.

"I would say it probably had been, given the degree of dirt and dust lying on top of it," Mr Bowie said.

The former policeman said the knife was about 4.7m away from the loft hatch.

"In reality you would almost have to be standing above the knife to see it," he added.

Asked by Mr Mulholland if it could be seen by anyone raising their head through the hatch, he added: "Absolutely not, there was no skylight or other forms of natural daylight in the loft."

Donald Findlay QC, for the defence, later put it to Mr Bowie that the knife was not concealed.

"Although it's in the loft, it's likely to be found if that loft was searched in detail," Mr Findlay said.

Pregnancy test

The QC said the knife looked as though it had been "deliberately placed there".

But Mr Bowie said: "In my opinion the knife was in a place of concealment in the loft space."

Vicky's remains were found in bin bags buried in the garden of a house in Margate, Kent in November last year.

Earlier the trial heard from the doctor of a medical practice once attended by Vicky that the schoolgirl had undergone a pregnancy test which had proved negative.

Dr Keith Orr was reading from a medical record under cross examination by Mr findlay.

Dr Orr, a GP for 18 years, told the court the test had been carried out in November 1990 when Vicky was aged 14, but said there was no reference in medical records to it being the result of sexual abuse, undue pressure or rape.

The jury later heard from Det Con Louise Freeth, of Lothian and Borders Police, who said she had attended the home of Peter Tobin's former wife Cathy Wilson in Portsmouth on 17 May, 2007.

Ms Freeth said she had been at the property to take a mouth swab from Ms Wilson's son Daniel.

Dundee Sheriff Court
The case is being heard by Lord Emslie at the High Court in Dundee

The following morning, the officer returned to the house to present Ms Wilson with a statement to sign. However, Det Con Freeth accepted Mr Findlay's description that she had "changed demeanour" and refused to sign the statement.

Ms Wilson would not agree to the officer reading the statement aloud then agreeing it, with Ms Wilson eventually signing a box at the foot of the statement saying she did not accept it, Det Con Freeth told the court.

Mr Tobin is accused of abducting Vicky and taking her to Robertson Avenue in Bathgate, West Lothian, on 10 February, 1991, which the Crown alleges was then occupied by him.

The charge also alleges that there or elsewhere he drugged her, struggled with her, compressed her neck, indecently assaulted her and murdered her.

He is also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

It is alleged that he concealed Vicky's body and removed and disposed of a number of items of her clothing and footwear.

He is also accused of cutting her body in two and wrapping it in coverings and bin bags.

Then, allegedly aware that police were conducting a missing persons inquiry, Mr Tobin is said to have put Vicky's purse under a portable cabin to mislead police into believing she had run away from home.

Mr Tobin denies all the charges against him and has lodged a special defence of alibi, saying that between 1700 GMT and midnight on 10 February, 1991, he was in the Portsmouth area and was thereafter travelling to Scotland, arriving in Edinburgh at 0630 GMT the following day.

The trial, before Lord Emslie, continues.

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THE VICKY HAMILTON TRIAL

LATEST NEWS
Peter Tobin Guilty verdict
Peter Tobin is jailed for at least 30 years
ANALYSIS/BACKGROUND
THE COURT CASE
WEEK ONE
 

WEEK TWO
 

WEEK THREE
 

WEEK FOUR
 

AUDIO/VIDEO
Peter Tobin being interviewed Police interview Peter Tobin


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