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Forensic experts called to give evidence at rape trial

High Court in Aberdeen
High Court in Aberdeen

A forensic scientist has said DNA found on the clothing of a woman who claims she was raped in an Aberdeen park was “one billion times more likely” to have come from the man standing trial for attacking her than any other person.

Morna McNish, a forensic biologist with the Scottish Police Authority, appeared at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday to give evidence in the trial of Daniel Sangster.

The 29-year-old, of the city’s Gaitside Drive, denies the allegation that he raped a woman in Union Terrace Gardens on March 27, 2016.

Witnesses from the night in question also gave evidence yesterday and said the alleged victim had “tears rolling down her face” as she told them she had been raped.

As part of investigations into the incident, Ms McNish extracted DNA samples from the woman’s underwear and took mouth swabs from both her and the accused.

Advocate depute Margaret Barron said: “A mixed DNA profile was found, with a major contribution from the woman and a minor contribution from Sangster. Is this correct?”

Ms McNish replied: “Yes”.

She added: “We calculated that it was one billion times more likely that the mixed DNA profile belonged to Sangster and the victim, rather than the victim and an unrelated male.”

Sangster’s counsel, solicitor-advocate Chris Fyffe presented a different scenario to the forensic biologist, asking if the DNA could have also been transferred by the accused simply placing his hands underneath the victim’s underwear, which Ms McNish also agreed was possible.

Dr Nandish Jayappa, a GP who worked as a forensic medical expert at the time of the incident, examined both the victim and the accused on the day of the assault.

He told the court Sangster had showered since the incident, while the victim had not.

Dr Jayappa said he found no internal or external injuries on the victim, with the exception of a 3cm by 3cm bruise on the woman’s left buttock.

He said that had been caused by blunt force trauma.

Mr Fyffe said: “Are you able to express your opinion on the lack of injuries found in the examination?”

The GP replied that examinations “depend on the person and the context involved”.

The trial, before Lord Alan Turnbull and a jury, continues.

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