Boots not Macdonald's, court told
There is "no way in the world" the footprints made by Scott Guy's killer came from Ewen Macdonald's size 9 boots, because some of the prints were size 12, Macdonald's murder trial has been told.
It was a point hammered home by his lawyer, Greg King, yesterday as forensic evidence from the murder scene, including a detailed description of Mr Guy's gunshot wounds, dominated proceedings in the High Court at Wellington.
Police found more than 50 boot impressions with a distinctive wavy pattern on Mr Guy's rural Feilding property after he was gunned down at the end of his driveway in July 2010.
The Crown says those prints were made by Macdonald, who was wearing a pair of Pro Line dive boots, which suppressed the sound of his footsteps.
Forensic scientist David Neale told the court he determined the boots were size 9 by measuring the width of the heel and forefoot.
But Mr King had a different unit of measurement up his sleeve. He got Mr Neale to count the rows of waves on the forefoot of three plaster impressions. Mr Neale did so and told the court they had between 32 and 33 rows.
He was then asked to do the same on a sample size 9 Pro Line boot that had been produced as evidence – it had only 29 rows.
"So, on the basis of what you've seen, could the size 9 exhibit we have in court today have made the impression?" Mr King asked.
"No, it could not," Mr Neale said.
Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk then asked Mr Neale to explain why there was a difference between the tread on the boots in court and the impressions found at the scene.
The act of rolling the heel and toe as you walk could account for a few extra rows, as could deviations in the way different batches of boots were manufactured, Mr Neale said.
Whanganui farmer Laurence Patterson, who went with Macdonald on a hunting trip to Stewart Island in March 2005, told the court he and Macdonald both owned Pro Line dive boots, though he never saw Macdonald hunt in them.
Mr Neale told the court later in the day that blood testing was done on the Guy family farm shotgun after a tiny amount of blood was found on the barrel, but there was not enough to determine if it was human or animal. Forensic scientist Jayshree Patel said DNA belonging to Macdonald, Mr Guy and others was found on the trigger of the gun.
But defence lawyer Peter Coles pointed out that the gun was not seized until about a month after the murder and Macdonald had used it to put down two cows the week before.
Forensic pathologist John Rutherford, who carried out Mr Guy's autopsy, said between 258 and 260 shotgun pellets were found inside his body and head.
The bulk of the pellet mass was found in the mid to lower portion of his neck. A piece of shotgun wadding was also found next to his voice box, Dr Rutherford said.
Pellet marks were also found on the underside of one of Mr Guy's arms, suggesting he raised it to shield his face. All of the injuries could be explained by one shotgun discharge, but more than one shot could not be excluded.
The last of the Crown witnesses are expected to be called today.
The Dominion Post