Murder victim’s saliva found on sock

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A sock containing the saliva of the alleged victim in a murder trial was discovered by the bed where the pregnant mother-of-four was found strangled.

The jury was hearing evidence from a forensic practitioner in the trial of a 39-year-old man charged with murdering the mother of his unborn son in Derry.

Jean Teresa Quigley was found strangled in her home in Cornshell Fields, Shantallow on July 26 2008. The 30-year-old was 10 weeks pregnant.

Stephen Cahoon of Harvey Street, Derry admits killing his ex-girlfriend but has pleaded not guilty to murder. The father-of-one went missing after her killing but was arrested in Donegal 10 days later.

Bronagh Tumelty testified yesterday (Monday) that she examined a sock found at the scene and it had a heavy blood stain on its sole. She then screened the sock for amylase, a constituent of saliva.

“Many areas tested positive, including the area on the inner sole,” she said.

She said the DNA profile in both the amylase and blood matched Ms Quigley’s, indicating that the sock had been in contact with her mouth. The court has already heard that any blood found at the scene came from the victim’s nose and mouth.

She said that a partial DNA profile from elsewhere on the sock could have come from the accused, indicating that he had also come into contact with the sock.

The same enzyme was found on Ms Quigley’s nipples, and DNA profiling matched this to Cahoon’s DNA. Parts of his DNA profile were also present under her fingernails.

Ms Tumelty also used DNA profiling to match semen found in the victim’s vagina to Cahoon’s. She said semen with DNA matching his was also found on pink socks, the only clothing Ms Quigley was wearing when her mother found her body.

The jury was shown a top that Ms Quigley was photographed in hours before she died.

One of the straps had been pulled apart and there were many loose and pulled threads, explained Ms Tumelty. This damage was very unlikely to have been caused by normal wear and tear, she added.

Ms Tumelty said she found a small amount of blood on metal handcuffs recovered from the scene.

She found blood with Ms Quigley’s DNA on a number of lengths of parcel tape found there.

A number of cigarette butts found in the house were examined. Most contained the DNA profile of either the victim or the defendant, or both.

Cahoon’s full DNA profile was found on chewing gum recovered from the scene, and DNA retrieved from yellow liquid in Ms Quigley’s toilet was also a match with his.

Meanwhile, Ms Quigley’s DNA profile was found in blood on a t-shirt seized from Cahoon’s flat.

The jury also saw a print-out of text messages sent between Cahoon and Ms Quigley days before she died.

Messages sent on the evening of Wednesday July 23 were amicable and concerned them meeting later that night.

However the tone changed in the early hours of Thursday, when they discussed a fight they had earlier in the night. Ms Quigley told him to stop texting and ringing her.

The jury already heard that Cahoon then arrived to Ms Quigley’s house, leaving after she asked him to go.

The texts continued after he left, with Ms Quigley pleading with him to let her sleep as she was pregnant.

“F**k off out of my life for good please,” she wrote, telling him they would never be friends.

“Bad that I can’t stay in my own house because of the way you go on,” she wrote.

At one stage, Mr Cahoon took offence to her calling him a nutter.

“I might be nuts, nuts about you,” he wrote. “I’m sure there’s hell of a lot worse than me out there.”

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven women and five men.