Kellie Telesford murder – “DNA tests proved inconclusive”

August 13, 2008

The trial of Shanniel Hyatt, the 18 year old man who is accused of strangling Kellie Telesford, continues in ever finer detail.

The Croydon Advertiser carries an update of the discussion in court about the scarf used to strangle Ms Telesford, who “was found on the floor of her bedroom covered in a white blanket with a brown scarf used to choke her, wrapped tightly around her neck”.

The Old Bailey has heard that when paramedics found her body, the scarf was tied so tightly around her neck they could only get the tips of their fingers inside.

However, forensic expert James Cleary said there was “potentially partial DNA evidence from Hyatt on the scarf […] but there was no statistical evidence to conclusively prove the teenager had left traces of himself, either through directly or indirectly handling the scarf”.

Mr Cleary said there were missing DNA components in the sample that he would have expected if they had definitely come from Hyatt.

The expert said tests proved inconclusive whether the sample came directly from the teenager.

There were traces of at least three other people on the scarf, the court heard.

So what are we saying here? That Kellie Telesford was strangled by up to four people? Or are we just paving the way for saying that she was promiscuous and therefore – somehow – deserved being murdered? I can’t help feeling that Joanna Greenberg (the defence barrister) is going to find some way to turn ‘inconclusive’ information into yet another attempt to discredit Ms Telesford.

I wonder if Joanna Greenberg might even try to use the forensic expert’s admission that “a person could handle an item without leaving DNA on the item” as some kind of proof that Mr Hyatt had nothing to do with the murder of Kellie Telesford. Even though apparently no-one other than Mr Hyatt is accused, and even though Mr Hyatt was apparently the last person to see Kellie Telesford alive.

Out of curiosity, can anyone explain to me if, or how, ‘statistical evidence’ could take legal precedence over DNA evidence? I’m afraid the technicalities escape me.

In the meantime the case, as they say, continues.

(My previous posts can be found here and here).

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