Witness Colin McIntyre, 44, described how he had been terrified by threats of violence from officers who did not believe he was at home with his family watching television on the night the teenager died.
“The police were bullying me into making a confession,” he said, recalling the interview just days after 16-year-old Elaine’s body was found near her Greenock home. “They tried to blame me for it.”
Mr McIntyre continued: “The more I was denying it the more angry they were getting. The more angry they were getting the more scared I was getting.”
Defence QC Donald Findlay suggested the statement shown to the court was either a sick joke by an attention-seeking teenager or a true confession by someone who was at the scene of the murder.
The lawyer asked why Mr McIntyre thought officers should put their careers and pensions on the line by fabricating a story and he replied: “I think about it a lot and I don’t know why.”
Elaine was found naked and strangled early on 2 June 1986. She had not returned from a Sunday-night disco at the Celtic Club in the town’s Laird Street.
At the time 16-year-old Mr McIntyre had a part-time job in the Shamrock Club, another Celtic supporters’ club in Greenock. Police visited him there on 7 June and he told where he had been the previous Sunday.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that later that day Mr McIntyre had apparently made another statement.
Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, read what was supposed to be a graphic account of Elaine’s death.
Pausing frequently he repeatedly asked Mr McIntyre: “Is that information accurate?”
Mr McIntyre told him each time: “No, it all came from the police.”
The statement told how Mr McIntyre had left his home in John Street, met three friends in the town centre and had also met Elaine.
The four youths walked her home and they all went down a lane off Ardgowan Street – where the girl’s body was found.
As they talked, one of Mr McIntyre’s friends began kissing Elaine and taking her clothes off. The four youths gathered round her as she started to struggle.
Mr McIntyre, according to the disputed statement, became aroused as he touched the back of Elaine’s leg.
“It was obviously going to be a ‘gang bang’ but she didn’t want to do it,” the statement read.
The account went on to describe how the girl sat down with no clothes on and another youth approached, swinging something which was about one and a half feet long and thin.
Elaine tried to stand but fell back, hitting her head and did not move.
“Willie then picked up a piece of string and put it round her neck.”
The statement said that afterwards the youths picked up Elaine’s body and put her beside bushes on the other side of the lane.
The account concluded by saying they put Elaine’s clothes beside her then left in a panic.
Mr Findlay disputed Mr McIntyre’s claim that detectives had simply written the unsigned statement for him.
“You did, in fact, confess to the murder of Elaine Doyle and there could be two reasons.
“One would be it was something of a sick joke on your part, attention seeking, who knows what, some perverted reason.
“The other, of course, is that the confession was true and you were involved in the killing of Elaine Doyle.”
Mr McIntyre – who said he was released by police hours after the statement was written – denied this. “I was forced to confess with threats of violence,” he said. “I was scared. I was petrified.”
Mr Findlay pointed out that the statement attributed to Mr McIntyre, who was only 16 years old at the time, included considerable accurate detail.
On trial is John Docherty, 49, now of Hunters’ Quay, Holiday Village, Dunoon. He denies murder.
The trial continues.