Murder trial: ‘Victim’s blood found on t-shirt in Moneymore man’s apartment’

Stephen Cahoon.
Stephen Cahoon.
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The jury in the trial of the man accused of murdering Derry woman, Jean Quigley, has heard that blood matching the DNA of the deceased was found on a white T-shirt found at the apartment of the accused man.

Stephen Cahoon (43) from Moneymore but with an address at Harvey Street has pleaded not guilty to murdering the pregnant Derry woman (30) at Cornshell Fields in Derry on July 26th, 2008.

Jean Quigley

Jean Quigley

Taking to the stand at the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Forensic Scientist for the Northern Ireland Laboratory, Bronagh Tumulty, told Mr. Patrick Marrinan, S.C. prosecuting, that she had examined blood stains found at the house in Cornshell Fields.

When questioned about droplets of blood found on the wall and floor of the bedroom near the head of where the deceased lay on July 27th, 2008, Miss Tumulty said: “Blood of that nature has been airborne before it has landed on a surface forming droplets before it dries.”

“It could have been (caused by) force of breath - if there is a small impact into wet blood, then this can cause droplets,” she added.

The court heard that Miss Tumulty received a number of items on July 29th including two vaginal swabs, a pair of handcuffs, an LG mobile phone and a Samsung mobile phone.

A partial profile matching Mr. Cahoon was found following examination of the fingernail swabs.

Miss Tumulty received additional items on July 30th and August 1st, including a white T-shirt that was taken from an apartment on Harvey Street, a toilet water sample from Cornshell Fields, a number of swabs and cigarette butts as well as damaged female clothing.

Following an examination of items, Miss Tumulty found that semen present on the vaginal swabs had a DNA profile that matched that of Stephen Cahoon.

A partial profile matching Mr. Cahoon was found following examination of the fingernail swabs.

The court heard that the cigarette butts examined showed mixed DNA profiles with the majority matching Jean Quigley and the minority matching Stephen Cahoon.

Miss Tumulty confirmed that a blood sample from the mid-front of a plain white T-shirt found at Harvey Street with three small blood spots matched the DNA profile of Jean Quigley.

Blood smears under the right arm matched the DNA of both the accused man and the deceased.

In summary, the jury heard that the semen found on the vaginal swabs indicated that recent sexual activity had taken place and that there was one in a billion chance that the DNA matched somebody other than Stephen Cahoon.