Elaine Doyle murder: TV appeal ‘touched nerve’

John Docherty is charged with murdering Elaine Doyle. Picture: ContributedJohn Docherty is charged with murdering Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
John Docherty is charged with murdering Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
A CONVICTED killer told a court today how the plight of Elaine Doyle’s grieving mother “touched a nerve” with him.

Brian Buckley, 45, from Ardrossan, is serving a life sentence for the killing of a 25-year-old mother of two in Wrexham, Wales.

He told the court that after watching a TV programme, he phoned police to point an accusing finger at a former friend and criminal associate.

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“I had seen something on TV with Elaine’s mum in it. I think it was Crimewatch,” he told the High Court in Edinburgh.

“Seeing Elaine’s family, it touched a nerve with me.”

Mr Buckley - convicted of murder in 2010 - was brought back to Scotland to recall the night, more than 27 years ago, when Elaine was found naked and strangled near her Greenock home.

That night Mr Buckley and a friend, Robert Brown, were in the general area on a house-breaking expedition.

Mr Buckley told how they found a large semi-detached house with a window open and he climbed inside while Brown waited.

“He was to keep edgy, keep watch,” he said. “But his bottle crashed, he lost his nerve.”

When Mr Buckley staggered from the house with a guitar, a keyboard and bottles of booze, his friend had vanished.

Mr Buckley said that was what he told murder hunt detectives in June 2008 after the televised appeal for information.

On trial is John Docherty, 49, now of Hunters’ Quay, Holiday Village, Dunoon. He denies murder and claims that at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled Elaine Doyle, 16, he was with his parents - who are no longer alive - at their home in Anne Street.

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Docherty has also lodged a so-called special defence of incrimination, claiming the culprit might be among a list of 41 names taken from files of the police investigation into the murder.

The charge alleges that on June 2 1986 in a lane near Elaine Doyle’s home in Ardgowan Street, Greenock, he seized her by the hair, struck her on the head and either removed or compelled her to remove her clothing.

The charge goes on to allege 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.


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