THE family of murder victim Amanda Duffy said last night that they have been given fresh hope they will get justice for their daughter in 2015, following reports of a possible retrial against the man who walked free 22 years ago.
It is understood that prosecutors are examining whether a new case can be brought against Francis Auld, 43, following the abolition of the double jeopardy rule.
A retrial can be ordered under certain circumstances including the emergence of “new and compelling evidence.”
The double jeopardy rule, which did not allow defendants to be tried twice on the same charge, was abolished in 2011 in Scotland.
Ms Duffy, a 19-year-old drama student from Hamilton, was found murdered and mutilated in May 1992 after a night out with friends.
Auld, an unemployed mechanic, was tried for her murder in 1992 but the jury returned a not proven verdict.
Last night Joe Duffy, Amanda’s father, said that the family were now pinning their hopes on Auld being retried.
Speaking to The Scotsman, Mr Duffy said: “We just hope it goes ahead and we would be delighted if we could get justice for Amanda this year.
“We know that the police and Crown Office have been looking at an investigation but didn’t know what progress there was. We knew that Amanda’s case was one of several cases listed.
“All we have ever wanted is justice for Amanda and over the years we have had to consider that this might never happen.
“If a new trial does proceed, it will be a massive step forward for our family and it is something we will welcome. But we will not pre-empt anything and we will wait to hear of any developments through the official channels.”
In 1995 Ms Duffy’s parents launched a civil case against Auld. The judge found Auld responsible for the death of their daughter and awarded them £50,000 in damages.
A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The Solicitor General is leading a review programme by COPFS (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) of unresolved homicides that may qualify for an application under the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011.
“This programme is under way and being conducted by our Cold Case Review Unit. COPFS will make full use of the new legislative powers in qualifying cases.
“There is a risk of prejudicing fresh prosecutions by commenting further on individual cases or providing details on how a particular case is being dealt with. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
David Sinclair, head of communications for Victim Support Scotland, said: “As a matter of principle, Victim Support Scotland never comments on individual cases.
“However, we welcome the review currently being undertaken by the Crown Office and the Lord Advocate but recognise that any comment attached to an individual case could be viewed as prejudicial.”
Last November, Angus Sinclair became the first person to be retried and convicted under the new rules. He was found guilty of murdering Christine Eadie and Helen Scott, both 17, following a night out at the World’s End pub in Edinburgh in 1977. A previous prosecution against Sinclair collapsed in 2007.
A brilliant future beckoned but her life was brutally cut short
AMANDA Duffy was a promising drama student on the cusp of a brilliant career when she was brutally murdered and her body mutilated.
The subsequent not proven verdict delivered by a jury shattered many people’s faith and put this unique third verdict of Scottish law under severe scrutiny.
The 19-year-old had been out with friends in May 1992, celebrating the news that she had just won an audition to the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
But that night in her hometown of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Amanda bumped into Francis Auld, someone she had known since school.
The following evening – 30 May – her semi-naked body was discovered in wooded wasteland near the town’s Miller Street car park.
The details of her killing shocked the town. Not only had she been murdered, but sticks had been thrust into her private parts, mouth and nostrils, with such force that one had penetrated her brain.
Detectives highlighted the main significant clue of bitemarks on Amanda’s breast. Auld, an unemployed mechanic, claimed Amanda had left him to go away with a man called “Mark” but dental records proved the teeth marks belonged to Auld and he was subsequently charged.
Auld was represented in court by Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland’s leading defence lawyers. The jury heard how Auld admitted biting Amanda while having a “kiss and a cuddle” but told police he had lost the jacket he was wearing after removing it to climb a tree.
In an unexpected turn of events, Auld walked free under the not proven verdict.
Since their daughter’s death, her parents Joe and Kate, have campaigned relentlessly for justice for Amanda. Describing his daughter, Mr Duffy said: “She was always full of life – she was the noisiest in the house.”
In her memory, her parents set up Petal (People Experiencing Trauma and Loss), a charity for those who have been bereaved through murder or suicide, although they have recently stepped down from the organisation.
In 1995, the Duffys raised a civil action against Auld which found him responsible for the death of their daughter and awarded them £50,000 in damages.