Russell Robertson murder trial hears of DNA match on accused

Russell Robertson died on May 29 last year
Russell Robertson died on May 29 last year

DNA matching that of alleged murder victim Russell Robertson was found on the shirts of the two men accused of killing him, a forensic scientist told a jury.

Emily Service told the High Court in Glasgow yesterday (Tuesday) that she had examined the shirts which were worn by murder accused Mark Munro and James Robertson the night 27-year-old Russell died.

She was giving evidence at the trial of Munro (31), from Denny, and James Robertson (27), now living in Pitlochry, who deny murdering Falkirk man Russell by pushing him over bridge railings at Bainsford Bridge on May 29 last year and causing him to fall into the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Prosecutor Alan Cameron asked Ms Service about what she found on Munro’s shirt and she replied: “DNA from at least two people was found. The major DNA profile matched that of Russell Robertson.”

The same major DNA profile matching Russell was also found on Robertson’s shirt.

The jurors were told the chances of the DNA being from someone else were more than one in a billion.

Ms Service told the jury that a test for a chemical found in saliva proved positive on both shirts.

Ms Service said: “In our opinion the DNA result could be explained by Russell Robertson’s saliva being present on these shirts.”

The court was told that the forensic scientist was asked to check under the arms of both shirts for DNA because of an allegation that Russell had been held in a headlock.

On Munro’s shirt there was a mixed DNA of at least nine people and on Robertson’s at least eight people and no results could be obtained.

She agreed that this could be explained by friends hugging and cuddling outside the Warehouse nightclub which all three men had attended that night.

The jury has heard that Russell’s body recovered from the Forth and Clyde Canal after being submerged for more than an hour.

The court was told that the railings on the bridge were taped, but no DNA result was obtained.

Defence QC Derek Ogg, representing Munro, asked Ms Service: “DNA is capable of being very mobile,” and she replied: “It is capable of being transferred from one thing to another.”

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.