Stephen Lawrence Murder Trial Day 9: Angela Gallop, Michael Mansfield And Imaginative Forensics
The case is not on any newspaper front page.
The Mirror: “Stephen Lawrence trial: fibres link to teenage victim ‘was tricky’”
Tricky is an understatement.
Angela Gallop examined the clothes of the suspects and the killed teenager.
Dr Gallop told the Old Bailey jury: “It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack and some needles are easier to find than others.”
Both men deny killing Stephen in Eltham, South East London, in 1993.
Dr Angela Gallop IS THE director of science and innovation at LGC forensics. She has been hired her to review the forensic evidence in 1995 ahead of a private prosecution brought by Stephen Lawrence’s parents.
Daily Mail: “Lawrence jury told of forensic ‘breakthrough’: Victim’s jacket fibre found at home of suspects’ friends”
Dr Gallop extended the original investigation and her review increased the number of microscopic fibres examined from 646 to 1,071. However, it was not until she carried out the cold-case review with private lab LGC that stronger results were found.
She tells the court:
“We realised it was really important to understand what happens at a crime scene. We began to realise that if you think imaginatively and hard about things it was very interesting and quite surprising what you could find. It made us realise that it was enough simply to say we look at the transfer of fibres on trousers, these cases could be very dynamic events.”
Referring to other case reviews, she said her team had ‘found extra bits of evidence we didn’t expect’. Dr Gallop said the team re-examined Dobson’s jacket after finding a possible bloodstain on its edge.
A SINGLE fibre which may match Stephen Lawrence’s polo shirt was found at the home of suspects not on trial, the Old Bailey heard yesterday. The tiny piece of red cotton was discovered on a shirt taken from the house of brothers Neil and Jamie Acourt, the jury was told. Police searched the Acourts’ home after Stephen was stabbed to death in Eltham, south London, on April 22, 1993. But the fibre was not found until after a review of the evidence launched in 2007. The Acourts are not on trial but the jury was told police kept their home in Eltham under surveillance… Dr Gallop said a single red fibre found on a shirt at the Acourts’ home may be from Stephen’s polo shirt.
The cold case review she led began in 2007. As well as a more exhaustive search for evidence, backed up by new techniques, the team examined debris in the bags clothing had been stored in since 1993, in case fibres and blood flakes had dropped off.
The team used a traditional test for blood traces, which found none. But then they decided to examine Dobson’s grey jacket under a microscope, something scientists do not usually do because it is so time-consuming. Gallop told the jury: “This revealed a tiny blood stain on the back of the collar.” The prosecution has told the jury there is a one in a billion chance that the microscopic blood stain on Dobson’s jacket collar did not come from Lawrence.
News Shopper: “Stephen Lawrence family lawyer questioned over evidence in 1990s court hearings”
A LAWYER acting for Stephen Lawrence’s family has been questioned over how evidence in the murder of their son was handled during court hearings in the 1990s. Michael Mansfield QC appeared at the Old Bailey today where Gary Dobson, aged 36, and 35-year-old David Norris are on trial for the 1993 murder. Both defendants claim clothing seized from their homes after the murder and garments from Mr Lawrence have been contaminated over the years.
They deny killing Stephen Lawrence.
Jurors heard Mr Mansfield had represented the family in a 1996 private prosecution at the Old Bailey, a 1997 inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court and a public inquiry in 1998. But he denied handling any of the clothing seized from suspects in those hearings, saying police had been in control of them. Mr Mansfield said: “I wouldn’t do it myself because obviously there’s a risk of contamination.”
He said the first trial had not lasted long, adding: “From my recollection I don’t remember any exhibits, save one and that was a weapon in a box.” Under cross-examination by Dobson’s defence barrister Tim Roberts, he was asked about a transcript from the inquest in which Mr Mansfield had asked Dobson: “Do you recognise this jacket?” Mr Mansfield replied: “I can’t be specific because I might not have had anything in my hand at all.” He said that if the jacket had been held up, it would have still been in the windowed brown paper evidence bags used by police.
The trial continues…