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Murder trial jury told of DNA tests

PUBLISHED: 13:57 22 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

A JURY in the trial of two men accused of killing Ipswich barmaid Janet Fleming today heard how there is a one in 14 million chance of DNA samples taken from the scene not being the DNA of one of the accused.

A JURY in the trial of two men accused of killing Ipswich barmaid Janet Fleming today heard how there is a one in 14 million chance of DNA samples taken from the scene not being the DNA of one of the accused.

Forensic scientist Catherine Reeves told Norwich Crown Court that she tested DNA on a knife found at Harleys pub following the brutal attack on December 10 last year.

She said that DNA taken from the knife matched the DNA of Leon Sobers.

Sobers, 23, of Birkfield Drive, Ipswich, stands accused of the murder of Janet Fleming along with Damien Duberry, 21, of Moorland Road, Ipswich.

Also both are accused of robbing temporary pub landlord Andrew Hull of a gold bracelet and £2,845. Both deny the charges.

Miss Reeves told the court today: "I would like to say that I believe there is a one in 14 million chance of the DNA found on the knife not being that of Leon Sobers."

She also told the court how she tested hair and blood stains found on masks and coats that the prosecution allege are that of Sobers and Duberry and also how she tested materials on clothes found on Janet Fleming.

Miss Reeves was questioned as to her findings by Sobers' barrister Nigel Lithman QC, who asked: "Do your findings mean that Mr Sobers could have handled the knife at any time?"

To which Miss Reeves replied: "Yes, I suppose it does."

Mr Lithman continued: "Are you able to say when?"

The reply was "No".

Mr Lithman inquired: "Are there any parameters at all as to when Mr Sobers could have handled the knife?"

Miss Reeves replied again: "No".

Mr Litham concluded by asking: "Surely it can not be excluded that more than one person may have touched the knife?"

Miss Reeves agreed that that was possible but said: "The DNA that I have obtained did not show any DNA deposited by any other person."

Earlier today the court heard of the injuries suffered by Mr Hull. A report carried out by a police surgeon stated that Mr Hull suffered three serious head wounds after being hit with what was described as "a hard object". One of the injuries required staples in his head.

He also received a cut and bruising to one eye forcing it shut as well as severe bruising to a shoulder blade, a fractured finger and lacerations to his elbow and wrist.

Tests were carried out on Mr Hull on December 13, three days after the attack, and the report concluded by saying "the injuries are compatible with having been sustained two to three days previously."

The trial continues.

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