Elaine Doyle murder trial shown police sketches

John Docherty is charged with murdering Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
John Docherty is charged with murdering Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
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AN acquaintance of murdered teenager Elaine Doyle was today shown a sketch of a suspect who might have killed her - and denied it was him.

The picture was drawn by a police artist after a sighting of a young man acting suspiciously in a Greenock stairwell the night the teenager died, more than 27 years ago.

A trial has seen two versions, one black and white and another in colour - showing distinctive ginger or auburn hair.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, William Campbell, 51, agreed that in 1986 his hair was auburn but had turned grey.

Looking at the sketch he told the jury: “My hair may have been the same colour but it was a completely different style.”

He also said the blue V-neck pullover the suspect was wearing would not have been his choice of clothes. Mr Campbell said that he preferred tee shirts or sweatshirts.

Mr Campbell ‘on defence list’

John Docherty, 49, who denies murder and claims the true killer may be one of a list of 41 names drawn up by his defence team.

Mr Campbell, whose name is on the list, was asked today if he killed 16-year-old Elaine and replied: “No”.

Mr Campbell described how he attended a special school in Greenock for the whole of his education, hampered by learning difficulties, and had also been diagnosed as epileptic which further blurred his memory of the time when Elaine’s naked body was found near her Greenock home.

A police report from 1986 described the relationship between him and Elaine as “on talking terms at pool hall.”

Mr Campbell told the trial that Elaine was his friend and would joke about him being her boyfriend to cheer him up when he felt low and depressed.

Another witness, who like Elaine and her friends hung around a pool hall in Greenock town centre said it was “ridiculous” his name was on the same list of suspects.

Port operator Martin Docherty, 45, said he would sometimes walk Elaine home but they were “just friends.”

Balding Mr Docherty also said that when Elaine was murdered he had blond streaks in his dark brown hair.

He said soon afterwards he stopped going to the pool hall because of a growing interest in motorbikes.

John Docherty, now of Hunters’ Quay, Holiday Village, Dunoon, denies murder and claims that at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled Elaine he was with his parents - who are no longer alive - at their home in Anne Street.

It is alleged that, on 2 June 1986, John Docherty seized Doyle in a lane near her home in Ardgowan Street, Greenock. He is alleged to have struck her on the head and either removed or compelled her to remove her clothing.

The charge also alleges that Docherty forced Elaine to the ground, pushed her face into the ground, sat or knelt on the teenager then placed a ligature round her neck and strangled her.

Docherty also denies stealing a handbag from Ardgowan Street on the same date.

He further denies a charge of attacking another woman, Linda Hargie, on various occasions between 1990 and 1995 at an address in Anne Street, Greenock by seizing her and pushing her and punching her on the head.

The trial continues.