No DNA on stabbing suspect, court told
ARMED police raiding the home of a suspected knifeman found the man wearing blood-stained clothing, a jury has been told.
But not a single strand of the elderly victim's DNA was found during forensic tests, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
James Atkinson, of Langhill Road, in Peverell, is accused of the brutal stabbing of a stranger on July 23 last year.
The 43-year-old is on trial after denying attacking frail Geoffrey Franklin outside the Sewell Court flats, in Langhill Road.
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Mr Franklin, 64, who has a glass eye among other health problems, was walking home from a pal's house using his walking stick when he was followed and set upon by a knifeman.
Residents in flats overlooking the scene, yesterday told the second day of Atkinson's trial how they witnessed the gruesome aftermath of the stabbing.
Steven Sale said he looked out of his window to see Atkinson, a long-time neighbour, stooped over the injured man, then walk away.
He told the court how Mr Franklin had shouted, 'I'm bleeding, I've been stabbed' as he struggled to get to his feet.
"There was nobody else in the road," Mr Sale said. "I'm completely convinced it was him [Atkinson] responsible."
Marion Brown, who also heard a commotion outside at around 10.30pm, said she too recognised Atkinson as he walked away from the scene and towards the flats.
She told the court how she opened her window to ask the man lying in the street what was wrong – to which Mr Franklin replied, 'Help me, help me. I've been stabbed'.
Neither witness saw the attack or any object in either of Atkinson's hands, they told the jury.
Mr Franklin suffered abdominal stab wounds so bad his intestines were spilling out, and was rushed into life-saving surgery.
When police arrived at the scene there was no answer at Atkinson's flat – so officers armed with Tasers, shields and stab vests broke down the door.
One PC told the jury how he found the suspect in darkness, save for a TV screen, sitting with his arms folded and his feet up on a coffee table. The PC shone a light on Atkinson and demanded to know where his knives were, to which he replied, 'Knives? What are you on about?'
A large silver kitchen knife which appeared to have just been washed, was found beside the sink, the officer said. The court also heard how Atkinson had blood on his trousers and a cut to his finger.
But forensic scientist Ruth Shackel, who tested the clothing and suspected weapon, said she found no traces of blood or other DNA relating to Mr Franklin.
She said it would be "likely" that such DNA would be found in a case of repeated stabbing, but the tests proved "inconclusive" in putting Atkinson at the crime scene.
Atkinson has pleaded not guilty to two charges: wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and an alternative charge of unlawful wounding.
The trial continues.