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Forensic tests link east Belfast man to murder knife, court told

A man charged with a murder in east Belfast is being linked through forensic tests carried out in the US, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said a US expert discovered a match with Alan Irvine's DNA on the handle of a blood-stained knife recovered after George Gray was killed.

Mr Gray's body was discovered lying in a pool of dried blood at his Cregagh Road flat in August 2012.

The father-of-three had suffered severe head and facial injuries.

Irvine (30), of Rosebery Gardens, Belfast, was subsequently arrested and charged with the murder.

A second man, 34-year-old James McVeigh, was also detained but died in police custody.

During a failed bail application the court heard Irvine is linked through CCTV evidence placing him in the building at around the time of the murder. It was claimed that footage depicted a man in similar clothing putting an object in a bin near the property.

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A knife with the victim's blood on it was later recovered from the bin.

Mr McClean said Irvine's DNA has also now been matched to a sample found on the knife's grip.

He told the court: "The amount of DNA involved was too small for facilities here at the time. It was sent to a DNA expert in the US."

Defence lawyers argued that Irvine should be released due to delays and asked for an explanation for why a preliminary enquiry won't be held until March. Refusing bail, the Judge ruled that any delay had not yet tipped the balance towards releasing Irvine.

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