You will need to research the case and answer the following at a minimum.
I The Case
Brief description of the case
Shirley McKie was a police officer in Kilmarnock, Scotland. She was investigating the murder
of Marion Ross when she arrested David Asbury and took him in. She was testifying in the
murder trial against Asbury, when evidence of her fingerprints surfaced from the crime scene,
even though she stated that she had not been present at the scene. One morning a couple months
after the trial, her house was raided by her fellow officers who arrested her and made her shower
and dress herself while being heavily supervised. At the station, she was strip searched and put
in a cell. The Scottish Criminal Record Office identified the print to belong to McKie and she
was charged with perjury for lying about never being at the crime scene. Experts from abroad
who studied the case and testified stated that the latent print did not come from Shirley McKie.
Instead of admitting their mistake and releasing McKie, officers were threatened that they would
lose their jobs if they told the truth. Three years later Scottish authorities ordered an
investigation to be done by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. In 2000, they concluded
that the mark was not made by McKie. David Asbury was also freed because upon another
investigation, results proved that he had not made the fingerprint that linked him to the crime.
Throughout the whole investigation, no UK expert was allowed to look at the case or give his
opinion, only abroad experts would be listened to.
II The Crime
Describe details of the crime
A fingerprint was left behind that was believed to belong to Shirley McKie, a well respected
Victim(s), suspect(s), and their relationship
Any other key players (witnesses, experts, lawyers)
Shirley Mckie-accused of perjury for lying about not being present at the scene of the crime.
David Asbury-suspect who was arrested for the murder
Mr. Ben Gunn-Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire who introduced the idea that fingerprints are
a matter of opinion not fact.
David Grieve and Pat Wertheim-investigators who identified the print as not belonging to McKie
Geographic location (ex., San Diego, CA)-Kilmarnock, Scotland
Physical location-Crime Scene
Time of day-Morning
Who are the suspects?
Suspected of perjury-Shirley McKie
Suspected of the murder-David Asbury
Was a motive established?
No, the major evidence linking both suspects to their accused crimes are the fingerprints.
VI Scene of the crime
Was the scene secured?
The crime scene was not secured by Shirley McKie, and I don’t know if it was secured at all.
Is there anything unusual about the scene?
There was a fingerprint suspected to belong to a police officer who stated that she was never at
the actual crime scene.
Two fingerprints: one from the suspected police officer, and one from the suspected killer.
The investigators who testified during the perjury case stated that based on their investigations
and observations the fingerprint did not belong to the accused Shirley McKie.
How did the suspect become a suspect?
McKie became a suspect of perjury when “her” fingerprint was found at the crime scene that she
stated she had never been to.
Did the suspect have the means/motive/opportunity?
The suspect did not have the motive, because she had already arrested her suspect, and there was
no point for her to lie and say that she never went to the crime scene. I don’t know if the suspect
had the opportunity, but she couldn’t have been at the crime scene during the day while other
officers, were there, because then she would have been recognized.
VIII Laboratory examination
What results did the lab find?
All of the 170 experts not from the UK support the argument that the print does not belong to
IX Results and Discussion
Describe the legal outcome
McKie was not given an apology, or her job back, while Asbury may have to return to jail to
serve his life sentence.
If the case is still open, describe why
Yes, abroad experts are still currently invited to examine the case and the prints to support either
What elements of the crime do you think make it famous?
I think that this case is so famous because of the controversy and how stubborn the Scottish
officials are. 170 experts all are in agreement that the fingerprint is not that of Shirley McKie,
and still they will not admit their mistake or give an apology. Also, a police officer being
possibly involved in a murder is a very big ordeal because everyone expects officers to be
protectors and keep civilians safe, so when they don’t, it’s a very big deal.