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Murder defence due to start today

PUBLISHED: 10:50 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

THE defence was due to open its case today in the trial of a Suffolk businessman accused of abducting and murdering A' level student Vicky Hall.

After eight days of the trial at Norwich Crown Court, Michael Lawson, QC, closed the prosecution case yesterday.

THE defence was due to open its case today in the trial of a Suffolk businessman accused of abducting and murdering A' level student Vicky Hall.

After eight days of the trial at Norwich Crown Court, Michael Lawson, QC, closed the prosecution case yesterday.

Adrian Bradshaw, 27, of Felnor Walk, Felixstowe, is charged with murdering the Trimley teenager who disappeared on her way home to her family home in the village's Faulkeners Way after spending the evening at Felixstowe's Bandbox nightclub with her best friend Gemma Algar.

Bradshaw – who used to live in The Wheelwrights in Trimley St Mary at the time of the former Orwell High School pupil's disappearance – denies the charge.

The 17-year-old's naked body was found in a ditch 25 miles away in Creeting St Peter on September 24, 1999, five days after she vanished.

For the past four days of the trial, the jury of five women and seven men have heard two geology boffins clash over whether or not grains of soil found in Bradshaw's Porsche came from the ditch where the teenager's semi-submerged body was found.

Prosecution witness Professor Kenneth Pye told the court that soil found in the vehicle's footwell was "remarkably similar" to a sample in the Creeting ditch where the body was discovered by dogwalker James Armour.

But a soil expert for the defence, Dr Andrew Moncrieff, told the jury that the technique used to compare the soil samples was not as reliable as it could have been and that he did not think the two samples came from the same place.

He said: "I think it is quite unlikely that it came from there. The footwell sample has strong similarities with that found in Creeting St Peter but it also has strong similarities with various other places."

Simon Cusworth, a scenes of crime officer with Suffolk police, told the court how he had taken photographs of the ditch and field where the teenager's body was found.

He told how he saw a disturbed area of soil close to the ditch which "appeared to be previously dug".

"It appeared there was a small shallow in that area and it appeared that top soil from that area had been heaped to one side."

The dug out area was between six and eight inches deep and around two-and-a-half feet long, he said.

The trial continues.

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