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Teenager’s prints ‘found in murder victim’s bedroom’

A teenager’s fingerprints were found on documents scattered around the bedroom of a pensioner he is accused of killing, a court has heard.

Twenty matching fingerprints were discovered on papers recovered from the floor of Francis O’Neill’s bedroom, it was claimed.

The details emerged yesterday as forensic experts gave evidence on day three of the trial.

The court heard that the youth’s DNA was also found in blood patches on Mr O’Neill’s jumper, and at several locations around his house.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, denies murdering the former psychiatric nurse last April.

Previously Dungannon Crown Court was told the accused admitted taking Mr O’Neill’s wallet and using £80 from it to pay his rent.

Yesterday the court heard that fingerprints which match the accused were discovered on one of three cards contained in a black leather wallet. Another fingerprint found on a pane of glass at the back of the deceased’s home also matches the youth, a police forensic expert said.

She said his fingerprints had been discovered on the financial documents found at Mr O’Neill’s home at Brook Valley, Omagh.

Some 20 prints collected from 12 of the 24 documents matched the accused, she said.

Another expert revealed that blood patches on the chest and left shoulder of Mr O’Neill’s jumper had traces of the youth’s DNA.

She said tests yielded a mixed profile but there had been “a clear major DNA profile that matched (the accused)”.

The court heard that blood had been found at other locations at Mr O’Neill’s home, including the bedroom, a duvet and walls.

Multiple swabs contained “either a full DNA profile or a mixed DNA profile in which (the accused) was the major contributor”.

Defence counsel John McCrudden QC pointed out that the teenager’s DNA was not in a sample found on Mr O’Neill’s collar.

The court was also told that a footprint found on a windowsill outside the rear bedroom matched trainers belonging to the youth.

Earlier a teenage friend recalled a mobile phone conversation between the accused and his housemate on the evening he is alleged to have killed Mr O’Neill.

The housemate asked: “Where are you lad?” To which the accused replied: “I’m leaving (Mr O’Neill’s) park now.”

She said the call had been made at around 6.50pm, about 50 minutes after the accused had left his house, where several young people had been drinking. He returned at 7.45pm but, according to the witness, “he wasn’t himself, something seemed to be bugging him”.

She said the accused went to the toilet and, after returning, produced a wallet containing money.

The trial continues.

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