A TEAM of forensic scientists in Huntingdon have been given a top award after they helped bring a killer to justice – 27 years after he murdered and raped a shopkeeper. Wayne Doherty, 51, from Thongsley, Huntingdon, was linked to the murder of Norah Trott
A TEAM of forensic scientists in Huntingdon have been given a top award after they helped bring a killer to justice - 27 years after he murdered and raped a shopkeeper.
Wayne Doherty, 51, from Thongsley, Huntingdon, was linked to the murder of Norah Trott, 63, through his DNA, which was taken after he was arrested for drink-driving.
The evidence previously available had been insufficient to bring Doherty to justice and the case had remained on file since 1978.
On Thursday, Liz Wilson, who was among the scientists from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) laboratory to be given a High Sheriff's Award for Excellence, said when DNA reporting was permitted in 1996 it allowed samples from the Trott murder to be put on a national database awaiting a match.
She added: "As a scientist, an unsolved case niggles away at you. That's why the Trott case is so satisfying."
Mrs Trott's naked body was found dumped by the side of her garage in Rochford, Essex, in November 1978.
Doherty's DNA was obtained in 2003. He was charged with rape and murder and given a life sentence after being found guilty by a jury in November last year.
Judith Cunnison, another of the FSS scientists, said: "The defence only had one sentence to say in court about the DNA: 'The DNA evidence will not be challenged'".
The High Sheriff's Award for Excellence was given in recognition of the team's breakthrough.
Mrs Wilson, who originally worked on the case in 1978, said she was "amazed, delighted and thrilled" with the award.
"It really is a great honour for just doing my every day job," she said. "It is nice to be appreciated."
Mrs Cunnison added: "It has given the team a real boost. I have worked as a scientist for 24 years and I have never known anything like this.
"Many of the guys are quite emotional. We all had strong feelings about the case and through diligence, hard work and perseverance the team achieved incredible results."
FSS general manager, David Reardon, said: "Awards are not normally given to people working away in the background. We are all delighted".