Elaine Doyle trial hears of teenager’s final hours

Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
Elaine Doyle. Picture: Contributed
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The Elaine Doyle murder trial has learned about the final hours of the teenager’s life - more than 27 years ago Lynn McCurdy, 44, re-lived in the witness box an evening at a 50p disco followed by a walk to a hamburger stall in Greenock town centre.

Around midnight the best friends went their separate ways when Elaine began to walk home - turning down the offer of a lift with another friend’s brother.

The friend, whose unmarried name then was Lynn Ryan, said her last words to Elaine were “OK I will see you tomorrow.”

But for Mrs McCurdy, June 2 1986 began with an anxious phone call from the Doyle family, asking if Elaine was with her.

By 10am Mrs McCurdy told how she was being questioned by police after the naked body of 16-year-old Elaine had been found just yards from her home in Greenock’s Ardgowan Street.

A post mortem concluded she has been strangled, the High Court in Edinburgh has been told.

As Mrs McCurdy described Elaine’s final weekend, the court was shown a photo of Elaine, taken in a photo booth after a Saturday evening spent in a pool hall, a place where they regularly used to hang out.

That night Elaine stayed at her best friend’s home in Kilmacolm Place.

On Sunday afternoon, Elaine went to a What Every Woman Wants’ store in the town centre to buy leggings for them both.

Elaine went to her own home to get changed, then the two girls met up again to go to a disco at the Celtic Club in Laird Street.

Mrs McCurdy said today that during the evening they each drank two lagers. “I wasn’t falling about. I would just be happy.”

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, asked if she liked to dance.

She told him: “I did. We always carried on. It was just constant laughing.”

The witness said four people - including Elaine - were dancing together.

“We were not really into boys as such,” she said. “We were just friends with a lot of people.”

She told the trial that Elaine would confide in her and, as far as she knew, Elaine was a virgin.

Mrs McCurdy also said she would be surprised if Elaine would go off with a stranger or get into a car with someone she didn’t know.

But the trial has also heard of an incident - described in statements to police - where Elaine’s dad and police searched for her when she did not return home on time.

And Elaine was also said to have told her friend about a man in a car offering her “a lift up the road.”

But Mrs McCurdy said she could not remember the conversation.

John Docherty, 49, now of Dunoon, denies murder and claims at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled Elaine Doyle, 16, he was at home with his parents, who are no longer alive.

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

The charge alleges on 2 June 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 Mr 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.

Mr 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.