Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Footprint analysis helped snare Gordon Veitch over Brian Bathgate's death

Gordon Veitch Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Gordon Veitch had denied murdering Brian Bathgate

Footprint analysis helped to snare a 56-year-old man who killed another man by stabbing him in the neck.

Gordon Veitch denied murdering Brian Bathgate, 45, at a house in Haddington, East Lothian, but was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The father-of-four was found dead in the living room of his cottage at Barney Mains Farm on 15 March 2013.

Police said a number of specialist forensic techniques were used, some of which can determine how people walk.

They had never been used by Police Scotland before.

The court heard that Veitch, from Tranent, had gone to the country cottage in the early hours of the day but left the roadway on his approach and went through a field.

He said he never went into the cottage but was there at the time when the Crown contended that the murder took place.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Brian Bathgate died in the living room of his home in Haddington in March 2013

He told police he had banged on the door a few times and took a glove off to knock on the window.

CCTV from a camera at the farm was analysed to show light coming from the doorway as if the door was opened.

Police were able to calculate from other footage in Haddington that Veitch would have been able to get to the cottage for the door opening. They also found that the sim card in his mobile phone was connecting to masts covering the farm cottages.

The court heard that gloves he wore could have been responsible for blood marks found at the scene.

Forensic experts in footwear and gait were also called and jurors were shown a large-scale photographic recreation of bloody prints found in the hallway of the cottage where the door was unlocked.

Experts concluded that the person who made the prints walked with the right foot pointing out.

'Tremendous dignity'

Jurors were told that there was "moderate support" for the proposition that a person seen on CCTV, who was Veitch, was the same person who made the prints in the hallway with footwear.

Following the conviction, Det Ch Insp Keith Hardie, of the MIT, said: "After an extensive investigation lasting more than a year-and-a-half, officers from the MIT were in a position to arrest and charge Gordon Veitch for murder.

"In order to reach this conclusion we utilised, for the first time in Police Scotland's history, a number of specialist forensic techniques such as Forensic Gait Analysis, which through footprint analysis can provide an insight into how culprit walked.

"It is testament to the hard work of the officers involved in this inquiry that we were then able to trace Veitch and ensure he faced justice."

He added: "I want to commend not only professionalism shown by the officers but also the tremendous dignity shown by the family of Mr Bathgate who have been understanding and patient throughout.

"My thoughts are with them and I sincerely hope today's verdict brings them a sense of closure."

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