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Defence's closing speech in Vicky case

PUBLISHED: 12:50 16 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

THE defence barrister for the man accused of murdering Trimley teenager Vicky Hall today concluded that the prosecution case hinges on a handful of dust which has now been destroyed and cannot be relied upon.

THE defence barrister for the man accused of murdering Trimley teenager Vicky Hall today concluded that the prosecution case hinges on a handful of dust which has now been destroyed and cannot be relied upon.

In his summing up to the jury at Norwich Crown Court today David Cocks QC said the court had earlier heard how soil samples found in Adrian Bradshaw's car matched earth where Vicky's body was found.

Bradshaw, 27, of Felnor Walk, Felixstowe, denies murdering 17-year-old Vicky of Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary. Her body was found in a ditch in Creeting St Peter on September 24, 1999, five days after she went missing.

Mr Cocks said the jury did not have any fingerprints or DNA to consider as evidence.

He said: "With DNA it's very convincing stuff – it's the equivalent of fingerprints, but we are not in the same field here. We are in the field of judgement and opinion.

"The question is not, do the soil samples from the footwell of the Porsche and the site where the body was found match, but how can we be sure the footwell samples haven't come from somewhere else in East Anglia?"

He told the jury: "Unless you are sure that they haven't come from somewhere else, you cannot convict Mr Bradshaw.

"How do we know they weren't put in the car by someone else who owned the car or drove it previously."

He said there was nothing left of the soil samples after prosecution witness Professor Kenneth Pye had analysed them.

Mr Cocks said: "The minute quantity of dust had been destroyed in the analysis," and added that a great poet once said: "I will show you fear in a handful of dust."

Mr Cocks said: "It is on that, which this case depends."

Mr Cocks said Professor Pye's claim that the soil samples matched was a selective statement which left out vital information.

He told the jury that the defence's soil expert Dr Andrew Moncrieff "clearly showed the footwell sample could have come from elsewhere in East Anglia. This is not Dr Moncrieff re-jigging the figures, but using Professor Pye's figures."

He called Professor Pye's evidence "scattered, sporadic and based very often on the most amazing assertions," and added, "to convict someone of murder based on evidence like that, would send a chill down my spine."

He told the jury that one soil sample originally labelled as being from Creeting was later said to be from the site where the body was found and stressed that the footwell sample was startlingly different from soil at the scene where Vicky was found.

Mr Cocks said it was hardly surprising that Bradshaw was not 100 per cent sure where he was dropped off by a taxi after a night out, although the prosecution said Bradshaw was telling a major untruth.

Mr Cocks said Bradshaw had been criticised for his paranoid approach, but said: "Felixstowe must have been a hotbed of gossip about this case. Mr Bradshaw had been arrested and questioned in May and that was going to stoke up the gossip even more. Anyone who was innocent and in his situation would feel persecuted and paranoid."

He added: "Mr Bradshaw was not sensible or rational when he was interviewed by the police, but he was behaving like a man with a persecution complex."

He asked: "What more could Bradshaw say, apart from give an account of his night out and repeat I didn't do it."

Mr Cocks said the case against Bradshaw consisted of "wholly threadbare allegations" and said the jury could not rule out the fact that a witness saw an Astra estate car being driven not far from the body just three and a half hours after Vicky Hall disappeared, and said a van would be far better for carrying a body than a Porsche.

He said: "I have no idea whether that driver was the murderer, but he was a prime suspect for this crime."

He said Bradshaw was a man of good character, who ran a small business.

He said: "He has come close – you may think – to actually proving his innocence. At the very least the question of who killed Vicky Hall must still be shrouded in doubt and mystery. That is terrible for her family, but that is a fact."

He told the jury: "Your verdict must be one of not guilty so that Mr Bradshaw can go back into the community and have an end put to this nightmare, so that we can let him try to rebuild his life."

The judge, The Honourable Mr Justice Moses, is due to sum up today, and then the jury will retire to consider their verdict.

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