Victim’s blood ‘on suspect’s trainer’

THE blood of a man found dead in his Scarborough home was discovered on a trainer belonging to the person accused of his murder, a jury heard yesterday.

Forensic scientist Mark Bates said he had found two “microscopic” specks of blood which matched the DNA of Gary Virr on two stitches on a Nike trainer worn by John Stamford.

Stamford, 51, of Wooler Street, denies murdering 48-year-old Mr Virr in a flat in Eastborough on December 19 last year.

Mr Bates, who is North Yorkshire Police’s head of forensic services, told Leeds Crown Court: “I found a very small amount of blood on the inner aspect of the right shoe.”

Defence barrister Simon Bourne-Arton QC, cross examining Mr Bates, said: “Blood can get on to shoes and clothing in a number of ways.

“Blood on a trainer is not evidence of being responsible for an assault, is it?” to which Mr Bates replied: “No it is not.”

The jury also heard evidence from PC Nick Durkin, who discovered Mr Virr’s body on December 23.

PC Durkin attended Mr Virr’s flat after he had been reported missing by his girlfriend and he immediately noticed blood stains on the exterior door of the block of flats where Mr Virr died.

“As I progressed up the stairs I noticed a number of blood stains on bannisters and the wall,” PC Durkin added. “I tried the door handle and it afforded me entry. I saw someone I believed to be Mr Virr on a mattress.

“He appeared to have massive swelling to his mouth and his nose was in such a state that I did not believe there could have been breathing. I touched him with the back of my hand and he was cold.”

Earlier, Daniel McKenna, a Queen’s Terrace resident, described Stamford visiting his flat in the early hours of December 20 in an “edgy and nervous” state wearing blood-stained clothing.

McKenna said he knew who Stamford was and that he was a previous tenant of his flat, but that they were not friends.

Stamford left the property after around half an hour, but returned shortly afterwards and knocked on the back door, Mr McKenna said. He told the jury that Stamford said the police were outside and asked McKenna not to let them in before he left once again.

Stamford also visited another Queen’s Terrace resident, Stephen Thomas, in the early hours of December 20.

PC Kenneth Gunn described finding a “terrified” Mr Thomas in Queen’s Parade at around 2:30am.

PC Gunn said: “He told me he was frightened to go back into his flat. He said he had a visitor, John Stamford. He said John Stamford had a very strange demeanour and had said he had assaulted someone and possibly killed someone.”

PC Gunn called for back-up and then searched the block of flats but Stamford was nowhere to be seen.

Phillip Harrison, another forensic scientist, said that a footprint found on a plastic bag in the flat where Mr Virr was killed may have come from Stamford’s trainer.

The trial continues.