Murder case DNA tests may have cost £1m

A POLICE force may have spent £1 million on DNA tests while trying to catch a nursery nurse's killer, a court heard yesterday.

A defence lawyer in the Templeton Woods murder trial suggested the figure to Dr Jonathan Whitaker, a leading expert on DNA profiling, who said "a good average" hourly cost for his lab's services would be 1,200.

Vincent Simpson, 61, of Camberley, Surrey, denies murdering 20-year-old Elizabeth McCabe.

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The High Court in Edinburgh has heard that her naked body was found in a frozen woodland near Dundee in February 1980.

At the time Simpson was living in Newtyle, near Dundee, and running a private-hire taxi firm from his home there.

Mark Stewart QC, defending, questioned Dr Whit-aker yesterday about the results of tests done at a special lab south of the Border.

A quarter of a century after the murder, a blue jumper found on the body and clothes identified as Ms McCabe's were sent to Forensic Science Services in Wetherby, Yorkshire.

Dr Whitaker, who had been responsible for the tests, said he found DNA matching a sample from Simpson.

Mr Stewart asked if the lab had charged 70,000 to examine a skirt submitted by Tayside Police. Dr Whitaker said if it had been cut up and each piece treated as a separate item, that was possible.

"Have you any idea how much Tayside Police spent obtaining results in this inquiry?" asked the lawyer.

"No idea at all," said Dr Whitaker. When 1 million was suggested, he repeated: "No idea."

Trial continues.