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Stupid arithmetical mistake in expert report led to life sentence (2009)

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Amount of chloroform in partner’s system overstated by 1000 times in ‘expert’ testimony.

Craig McCreight, 37, was found guilty of murdering mother-of-three Yvonne Davidson in 2002.

Evidence produced at the trial showed that the dead woman’s liver contained 1,064 mgs of chloroform per kilo on analysis. But the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard that the concentration of the chemical had been overstated 1,000 times following an arithmetical error in a laboratory and the true result was 1.064 mg per kilo of chloroform.

We wonder why no independent check was made by his defence at trial.

Taken from the BBC News website:

Mr McCreight had denied murdering his partner at the home they shared at Fairinsfell, Broxburn, in West Lothian, during his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2002.

The Crown alleged he placed chloroform at her mouth and nose and caused her to inhale the poisonous chemical, rendering her unconscious before placing her in a neighbouring garden.

The trial judge told the jury that if they were satisfied that Ms Davidson, 34, had swallowed the chloroform rather than inhaled it they should acquit.

During Mr McCreight’s appeal, fresh evidence was led which challenged the expert testimony at his trial.

Evidence produced at the trial showed that the dead woman’s liver contained 1,064 mgs of chloroform per kilo on analysis.

But the appeal heard that the concentration of the chemical had been overstated 1,000 times following an arithmetical error in a laboratory and the true result was 1.064 mg for kilo of chloroform was present.

Further analysis of the stomach contents also revealed a level of chloroform that would be consistent with ingestion of the chemical.

Pathologist Paul Fineron, who gave evidence at the trial, had also altered his position that the poison was corrosive and now agreed that the signs found were consistent with the chloroform having been swallowed.

Lord Nimmo Smith said: “Not one witness, including Dr Fineron, would now exclude the ingestion hypothesis.”

Lord Clarke said: “We have now had a procession of experts who say the science was bad.

“I cannot get away from the fact that this jury was seriously misled as to the science.”

“Chloroform murder appeal man free” – BBC News

About INNOCENT (134 Articles)
Challenging miscarriages of justice since 1993.

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