Cleared of chloroform murder, but still to blame

Craig McCreight, who was accused  of murdering his lover Yvonne Davidson at their home in Broxburn. Picture; Leon Mcgowran

Craig McCreight, who was accused of murdering his lover Yvonne Davidson at their home in Broxburn. Picture; Leon Mcgowran

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A MAN who had his conviction for murdering his partner quashed has failed in a bid for compensation after a judge ruled there was “compelling evidence” he had committed the crime.

Craig McCreight, 44, was jailed for life in 2002 after he was found guilty after a trial of killing Yvonne Davidson by poisoning her with chloroform at their home in Broxburn three years earlier.

Yvonne Davidson. Picture: Deadline

Yvonne Davidson. Picture: Deadline

But judges ruled in 2009 that he had been a victim of a miscarriage of justice after hearing scientific evidence in the case was flawed.

They quashed his conviction and a bid to bring a fresh prosecution against him was refused. He launched a bid for damages against the Scottish Government for the seven years he spent in prison but the application was refused.

Following a judicial review at the Court of Session, his bid to overturn that decision has also been refused.

Lord McEwan said that his murder conviction did not represent “the righting of a mistaken verdict” and that there was strong evidence McCreight carried out the killing.

The law lord said McCreight fell into category of compensation claimants who had been “lucky to escape what was due to them”.

In a written judgment, he said: “I am clearly of the opinion that this petition cannot succeed. I do not find any merit in the petitioner’s case.

“There was strong and compelling evidence against him including two confessions 
. . . also what has happened here with the Appeal Court is merely an example of the vindication of the rule of law, not the righting of a mistaken verdict.”

McCreight had denied murdering Miss Davidson, 34, at the High Court in Edinburgh but following conviction was ordered to serve at least 18 years in jail.

He had been in a relationship with the pub landlady, a mother-of-three, but another woman had claimed he was the father of her child. ­Following the discovery of Miss Davidson’s body in a neighbour’s garden, her death was attributed to hypothermia and amphetamine but McCreight is alleged to have later confessed to two people.

During the later trial, the Crown contended McCreight had used a rag soaked in chloroform and placed it to her mouth and nose, which resulted in inhalation of the vapour. The colourless compound was formerly used as an anaesthetic.

Appeal judges heard forensic scientists had produced a report for the trial that showed a massive concentration of chloroform in Miss Davidson’s liver, but it was later discovered that the calculation was botched, which had resulted in it being magnified 1000-fold.

McCreight said: “I have not had the chance to read the judgment yet so I don’t want to make any comment.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com

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