Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Dunedin murder trial: Scientist gives evidence on bloody glove

Murder accused Alexander James William Merritt at the Dunedin High Court. Photo / File
Murder accused Alexander James William Merritt at the Dunedin High Court. Photo / File

A scientist has given evidence of analysing a bloody glove, embroidered with the letter "A", found in the bin of a cleaner accused of murder.

Alexander James William Merritt, 21, is on trial before the High Court at Dunedin accused of beating to death his boss, 51-year-old Karin Ann Ross, with a hammer.

ESR staff member Gary Gillespie said the blue, woollen glove, which was found in a wheelie bin outside the Merritt's Kaikorai home two days after the killing, was "extensively covered" in blood.

In the same bin, police also found a hammer, hooded top and a cloth - all similarly bloodied.

Gillespie said hairs taken from the head of the 25cm claw hammer, as well as the other items, were compared with Ross' hair.

He told the court the hairs were comparable and he could not rule out the fact they all came from the victim; before they were sent for DNA testing.

The witness has spent the day painstakingly detailing blood stains at the scene on Strathallan St where Ross' body was found at 2am on December 2 last year.

She was found face down in a pool of her own blood not far from a white van, which she drove as a supervisor at Spotless Cleaning Services. Inside and outside the van were a variety of different red marks.

Gillespie pointed out blood stains on the vehicle's exterior, some of which came from contact with a bloody object and others which were "spatter". The pattern of the spatter, he said, showed at least two of the stains came from "separate events".

During his examination of the scene Gillespie also found blood under the van, which he said was consistent with it being moved after the incident.

Near Ross' body was a wooden-shafted broom with a blue plastic head, which the court previously heard she regularly used to prop bins open while she loaded rubbish into them.

The item was produced as an exhibit and shown to the jury for the first time this morning before Gillespie pointed out further blood stains he had found upon it.

Some marks, he said, were "consistent with the broom impacting a source of blood".

Two more scientific witnesses are expected to give evidence this afternoon before a telecommunications employee testifies about cellphone towers in reference to Merritt's phone.

The trial is expected to run until the end of this week.

- NZ Herald

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