Belfast Telegraph

Murderer's appeal told of doubts over DNA

A woman's conviction for the murder of her drinking partner at a flat near Belfast is unsafe, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Lawyers for Alison Michelle Martin yesterday argued that the quality of DNA evidence cast doubt over the verdict that she stabbed George McDowell to death more than seven years ago.

It was also claimed that a jury was either wrongly told she previously carried knives, or else given insufficient guidance to deal with the disclosure.

Martin (38) was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder of Mr McDowell (47) in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, in July 2004.

The former alcoholic had arranged for the victim, whom she had met a week earlier, to stay at the flat of her friend.

Her trial heard how she had been drinking for several days before the killing.

According to the prosecutioncounsel, she turned up at the flat and ordered him to leave, before getting a knife from the kitchen and stabbing him in the neck.

Forensic examinations of the scene were said to have revealed her footprint in the victim's blood in the living room doorway. Her clothes and trainers were also stained with Mr McDowell's blood.

Martin's barrister Karen Quinlivan QC set out a possible alternative version of events where another person carried out the killing and then gave fabricated evidence against her client.

Martin's legal team further contended that bad character evidence that she often carried knives should not have been allowed.

Ms Quinlivan said: "In this case, the conviction cannot be considered to be safe."

The three judges who heard the appeal reserved their decision.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph