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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Accused man’s DNA found on victim – expert

By Staff Reporter

A FORENSIC expert told a rape trial yesterday that there was just a one in 81 million chance that swabs taken from the victim did not contain the accused’s DNA.

Thomas Browbank, 57, a lorry driver of Howrigg Bank, Wigton, denies three charges of raping an 18-year-old girl last May, and two of other serious sexual assaults against her.

She was stalked through the streets of Wigton before being dragged by her neck and hair into a field in the early hours of the morning. The teenager said the man threatened to blindfold her before raping her and forcing her to commit other sex acts, telling her that if she looked at him he would kill her.

Forensic scientist Susan Carney told the jury at Carlisle Crown Court that swabs were taken from the victim, her underwear, and Browbank’s mouth.

No semen was discovered but that did not mean sex had not taken place, Miss Carney said.

Experts matched saliva swabs from the girl’s bra with the DNA profile of Browbank, taken from his mouth swab.

“It is estimated that the chance of obtaining this matching profile, if not from Mr Browbank but an unrelated male, would be one in 81 million,” Miss Carney told the court.

“If we are considering the chances of obtaining a matching profile from a relative of Mr Browbank, it would be much less rare, more common.”

Three of Browbank’s relatives were DNA tested, she said, and had all been excluded as a source of the profile found on the victim’s underwear.

“The presence of DNA matching Mr Browbank’s is what might be expected as a result of him sucking or kissing the breasts,” Miss Carney added.

“The absence of semen neither supports or negates the view that sexual intercourse took place.”

The jury was told earlier in the trial there is no dispute about whether the girl was raped – just about the identity of her attacker.

Browbank told police he could not remember anything about that night between 1am and being home in bed. He had been out on a stag night.

The trial continues.

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