Stain on sari 'points to accused'

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
tdn blood stand
Shanal Sajesh Kumar's DNA profile corresponded to the DNA found on the blood stain from Mrs Patel's sari

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Blood on the sari of an Indian woman traced to the man accused of murdering her was probably freshly deposited at the time of her death, the High Court in New Plymouth heard yesterday.

Shanal Sajesh Kumar, 29, a Fijian Indian, denies he murdered Dipti Patel, his 42-year-old former lover.

The Crown has told the jury that Kumar murdered Mrs Patel in her Gaine St garage on April 7, 2009 then made it appear she hanged herself.

Kumar was charged with murder last year after experts were called in to review the evidence.

Kumar's defence lawyer Peter Winter has accused Mrs Patel's husband of killing his wife or arranging for her to be killed.

The trial, now in its third week, was late to start yesterday after one of the jurors became ill.

Susan Kathleen Vintiner, an Auckland-based ESR forensic scientist, who specialises in DNA profiling, gave evidence that Kumar's DNA profile corresponded to the DNA found on the blood stain from Mrs Patel's sari.

The DNA results were at least 30 million times more likely to have originated from Mr Kumar than anyone else chosen at random from the general New Zealand population, Ms Vintiner said.

The DNA evidence therefore provided "extremely strong support for the proposition that most of the DNA from the blood stain from the sari originated from Mr Kumar", Ms Vintiner said.

It was also her opinion that it was likely the DNA had originated from blood.

Given that the sari fabric was polyester, a fabric that cleaned well, and taking on board the fact that the blood stain was visible and the DNA profile was obtained from it, it was her opinion that the blood had been deposited after the sari was last laundered, Ms Vintiner said.

She said fingernail scrapings from Mrs Patel revealed a partial profile that corresponded with her husband's DNA.

A vaginal swab for semen found seminal fluid but no DNA profile because no sperm were present.

Ms Vintiner agreed with Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke that the result was a consistent for a male who had had a vasectomy.

The court has already heard from Mr Patel who said he and his wife had sex the night before she died and that he had a vasectomy.

Earlier, another forensic scientist Stephen John Cordiner agreed with Mr Winter that forensic science was unable to date a blood sample.

However, the blood was deposited on the front of the sari rather than the back, Dr Cordiner said.

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It was more likely the garment had not been washed after the blood stain was deposited, Dr Cordiner told Mr Winter.

The doctor said he was made aware Kumar had a long-standing sexual relationship with Mrs Patel before she died.

"You can't exclude that stain being there previously?" Mr Winter asked.

"I've already said I can't tell you the age of the blood stain," Dr Cordiner said.

The trial continues on Monday.

- Taranaki Daily News

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