No DNA was found that could link a north-east murder accused with the man he is accused of killing, a court has heard.
Forensics experts carried out tests on countless items belonging to Steven Sidebottom and his alleged victim, Brian McKandie, without finding any link.
Clothing, vehicles and the two men’s homes were the subject of exhaustive testing, Scottish Police Authority forensic expert Kenneth Brown told the High Court in Aberdeen.
There was no cross-over of DNA found, however, the witness said that should not discount the fact Sidebottom may still have slain Mr McKandie.
In a report produced for investigators and read to the jury, he made clear that searches relating to Sidebottom had not taken place until December 2016, about nine months after Mr McKandie’s body was found.
Sidebottom, 25, is on trial accused of bludgeoning Brian McKandie to death at his rural Badenscoth Cottage in March 2016.
The jurors heard previously that the 67-year-old mechanic had been struck at least 15 times, though it took several days before police treated the death as murder.
Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Brown said patterns of blood found outside Mr McKandie’s home indicated he had been struck while on the ground after he had already been attacked.
The witness added it was possible he had then been dragged into the property or he had made his way inside, before dying.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran asked him about his methodology and said whether he would have produced a possibility of Mr McKandie and Sidebottom having overlapping DNA if any belonging to the accused was recovered. He said: “No such DNA was found.”
Mr Brown replied: “That is correct.”
He explained that no DNA belonging to Sidebottom was found in Mr McKandie’s home in Fairview Cottages.
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In addition, no trace of Mr McKandie’s DNA was found on items belonging to Sidebottom, nor in his vehicle, nor in his home – a chalet on Crannabog Farm in Rothienorman.
Prosecutors asked the witness whether the lack of DNA excluded the possibility that Sidebottom was the assailant.
He said it did not.
Earlier this week, the court heard evidence that Sidebottom lavished his then partner with gifts, including a laptop computer, an iPad and a roll of banknotes, in the days after Mr McKandie’s death.
Thousands of pounds were found concealed in various locations around Mr McKandie’s cottage as investigations were carried out.
Yesterday, however, Mr Brown told the court there was no sign of a “disturbance” of the kind you might expect had someone “rifled around” the property as there were no cupboards or drawers found open.
At the end of the witness’ evidence, Lord Uist asked him: “Do you know if police officers receive training on blood patterns?”
He replied: “I don’t think they do.”
The judge then asked: “Do you think it would be helpful if they did?”
He replied: “Possibly, yes.”
Sidebottom denies the charge against him and has launched a special defence of alibi and incrimination.
The trial continues.