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'One in a billion' DNA evidence in £53m raid trial

A FORENSIC expert told the Old Bailey there was a one in a billion chance that a DNA sample from cable ties found at the scene of the Securitas robbery could belong to someone other than defendant Roger Coutts or a member of his family.

Scientist Catherine Whitmore explained how four of the cable ties recovered from the Vale Road depot in Tonbridge, after the £53million robbery in February 2006, had been sent to her for analysis.

On each she discovered a selection of DNA but was able to identify a major profile on the cable tie which held the least DNA.

She was able to match it with samples from Mr Coutts and said there was a one-in-16 million chance that it could have come from someone other than the defendant or someone related to him.

Stronger DNA samples were recovered from the other three ties which also matched Mr Coutts' DNA profile.

The scientist explained to the court the chance of the DNA from these cable ties being from someone other than the defendant was one in a billion.

It was explained that DNA can be transferred to an object by touch or by body fluids like blood, mucus or spit coming into contact with it.

Under cross examination, the scientist conceded that the tests could not identify when the DNA samples had been transferred to the cable ties.

She also agreed that DNA could be transferred by a third party, for example if a person shook the hand of another person and that person then touched an object, the first person's DNA could appear on the object.

Cable ties were used during the robbery to handcuff hostages at the depot.

Coutts, of The Green, Welling; Lea Rusha, of Lambersart Close, Southborough; Stuart Royle, of Allen Street, Maidstone; Jetmir Bucpapa, of Hadlow Road, Tonbridge; John Fowler, of Chart Hill Road, Staplehurst; Ermir Hysenaj, of New Road, Crowborough; and Michelle Hogg, of Brinklow Crescent, Woolwich, have all pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to have in their possession a firearm.

A seventh man, Keith Borer, from Hampstead Lane, Yalding, stands accused of dishonestly receiving £6,100 of stolen Securitas money, which he denies.

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