Sheku Bayoh inquiry: Forensics expert found ‘nothing of relevance’ on Pc’s vest

The inquiry has been told by other officers that Pc Nicole Short was stamped on by the 31-year-old.

17 June 2022

A forensics expert who examined a vest worn by a police constable allegedly stamped on by Sheku Bayoh has told an inquiry she found nothing “of relevance or anything that looked like footwear” on it.

Laura MacPhie, who works at the Scottish Police Authority’s mark enhancement laboratory, examined the police vest worn by Pc Nicole Short on the day of Mr Bayoh’s arrest and death in May 2015.

An inquiry into the circumstances of the 31-year-old’s death, how police handled the aftermath and whether race was a factor is taking place in Edinburgh.

Other police officers have previously told the inquiry they saw Mr Bayoh stamping on Pc Short after she fell to the ground during the incident in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Sheku Bayoh inquiry
A vest worn by Pc Nicole Short was examined (Andrew Milligan/PA)

However other witnesses have cast doubt on whether the stamp took place as the police attempted to detain Mr Bayoh.

A man who watched the arrest from his home said he did not think the stamp could have happened.

Last week, a medical consultant said he would have expected to see more evidence of fractured ribs if this had been the case.

A Scottish Police Federation representative said she saw a mark on the Pc’s vest which appeared as if it was “roughly the shape of a shoe”.

Giving evidence to the inquiry on Friday, Ms MacPhie described the examinations she carried out on the vest worn by Pc Short as part of an investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

Responding to questions from the inquiry’s junior counsel Laura Thomson, Ms MacPhie said she paid particular attention to an “area of discolouration” to the rear of the vest.

Ms MacPhie said: “I gather that what was being asked of as possible footwear was the mark area of discolouration, but I did not see anything of any recordable detail within that.”

She said her colleagues had queried whether the mark might be a partial footwear impression and whether she could enhance it, and that she was aware of the alleged stamp.

Sheku Bayoh inquiry
The inquiry is taking place before Lord Bracadale (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Her statement to the inquiry said a high-intensity light source examination was carried out, adding: “I did not see anything of any relevance or anything that looked like footwear when I carried out my fluorescence exam.”

Earlier on Friday, SPA scene examiner Judith Harley gave evidence to the inquiry.

She said she took photographs of Pc Short, who is now retired, on May 3 and May 8, 2015. The inquiry was shown photos of Pc Short’s face, hands, elbows and knees.

Ms Thomson asked why there were no photographs of Pc Short’s torso or back.

Ms Harley said: “I can only assume it was never asked for or requested.”

The inquiry before Lord Bracadale continues.

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