Murdered pensioner’s blood found on T-shirt in defendants’ flat

John Gogarty
John Gogarty
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A T-shirt stained with the blood of a South Yorkshire pensioner was found at the flat of a couple accused of his murder, a court heard.

Property developer John Gogarty, 65, was stabbed 69 times in his home in Wombwell on July 13.

Sheffield Crown Court heard a search of the flat of murder co-accused Ian Birley and Helen Nichols later that month uncovered an orange ‘Drunken Monkey’ T-shirt in the bedroom.

Forensic scientist Michelle Walton said two small bloodstains on the shirt’s hem matched Mr Gogarty’s DNA.

She said the nature of the stains indicated that either the T-shirt had been worn underneath another piece of clothing when Mr Gogarty was attacked or that somebody had transferred his blood on to it while it was still wet. Ms Walton said further tests on the T-shirt indicated both Birley and Nichols had previously worn it.

She said it was not possible to tell who had worn the T-shirt at the time of the murder, while there was a ‘low level DNA trace’ of another unidentified person on the clothing.

Ms Walton also said her examination of Mr Gogarty’s home indicated that he had first been stabbed by his front door, before falling to his knees and eventually on to the floor of his living room, where he was repeatedly stabbed. The upstairs of his property was then searched by someone wearing bloodstained gloves.

She said her investigations had concluded that a piece of black plastic found underneath Mr Gogarty’s body was part of a knife handle. She said the piece matched the make of a burnt knife found close to the defendants’ property.

Ms Walton said a Tissot watch belonging to Mr Gogarty and with his blood on it was later found in the property of Ian Neish, a man the court has previously been told was a Sheffield drug dealer Birley owed money to.

Birley, 43, and Nichols, 38, both of Mont Walk, Wombwell, deny murder. The trial continues.