Glasgow & West Scotland

Elaine Doyle murder: Killer John Docherty to appeal

John Docherty and Elaine Doyle
Image caption Elaine's Doyle's killer John Docherty must serve 21 years before being considered for parole

A former soldier who was jailed for life for murdering Greenock teenager Elaine Doyle more than 28 years ago is to appeal against his conviction.

John Docherty, 50, from Dunoon, Argyll, was convicted of the killing in June and jailed for a minimum of 21 years.

It has now emerged that his legal team has lodged papers with court officials in Edinburgh to begin an appeal.

The body of 16-year-old Elaine was found in a lane close to her parents' flat in Greenock in 1986.

Docherty - who denied murder - was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh after his DNA was later identified on Elaine's body.

DNA evidence

On Thursday, a court official said: "We have received papers which indicate an intention to appeal against conviction and sentence."

A date of his appeal has yet to be set.

Image copyright BBC - police handout
Image caption Elaine Doyle was murdered while going home from a disco at the Greenock Celtic club

The former soldier was arrested in 2012 following a cold case review and found guilty of murdering Elaine as she walked home from a disco in Greenock's Celtic Supporters' Club.

Detectives arrested Docherty, of Dunoon, Argyll, after his DNA was found on sticky tape used in 1986 to lift hairs and fibres off Elaine's body,

The techniques required to match DNA were not available at the time of Elaine's death but cold case detectives reviewed thousands of statements and discovered Docherty had not been questioned after the murder.

When he was asked for a DNA sample, Docherty agreed and appeared "stunned" when he was later charged with Elaine's murder.

During his trial, it emerged Docherty, then 21, and a friend, had been at the Celtic Supporters' Club, and while the friend was interviewed and named Docherty as being with him, officers never approached him.

The ex-Royal Engineer, who moved back to Greenock after leaving the Army, was one of 722 potential suspects and he was tested in May 2012.

Docherty did not give evidence in his defence and his QC, Donald Findlay, branded the investigation "a shambles", after hearing a blanket from a police car was draped over Elaine.

He claimed the crime scene had been contaminated and the DNA evidence was not reliable.

But the jury disagreed and found Docherty guilty.

Jailing Docherty, trial judge Lord Stewart said: "The killing was a brutal one and had a terrible effect."

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