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The Shriley McVie Case Study

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

police officer.

III People

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

Marion Ross-victim

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

IV When/where


Geographic location (ex., San Diego, CA)-Kilmarnock, Scotland

Physical location-Crime Scene

Time of day-Morning

V Suspect(s)

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.

VII Evidence

Forensic evidence

Two fingerprints: one from the suspected police officer, and one from the suspected killer.

Witness testimony

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


X Reflection

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.

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