David Brickwood trial: DNA evidence alone is 'not enough' to convict man accused of Northampton grandfather's murder, jury told
"There isn't sufficient evidence for you to safely convict...'Might-bes' are not good enough."
"Might be's are not good enough".
This was the ruling handed down by a judge today as he ordered a jury to end the trial over the murder of Northampton's David Brickwood.
The outcome was heard at Birmingham Crown Court today (April 28) when the man charged with Mr Brickwood's murder was told he was free to go.
Cameron St Rose, of Bristol Street, Forest Gate, has been in custody since August last year.
David Brickwood trial: Jury ordered to enter NOT GUILTY verdict in Northampton murder trialThe 26 year old was arrested after his DNA was found at the scene.
This evidence, which centrally was found on a rubber seal on a ground floor window that the intruders would have used to enter the house, was called "the heart of the case" by prosecutor Mr Peter Grieves-Smith.
But today, a judge ruled that it was not enough by itself to convict.
"The prosecution have proven only that Mr Rose might have been one of the intruders," His Honour Mr Justice Pepperall told the jury today. "That is not enough to convict."
David Brickwood was stabbed to death at his Lindsay Avenue home on September 26, 2015, when intruders broke into his home in search of cash. The case has gone unsolved for over five years.
On the night of the attack, the burglars entered the Abington house by wholly removing a glass pane from a ground floor window.
The prosecution's case was that St Rose's DNA was found on a rubber seal that fell out the frame, therefore allegedly placing him at the scene.
A low-level DNA profile for St Rose was also found on Mr Brickwood's bedroom door.
The chance the DNA belonged to anyone other than St Rose was determined as "one in a billion" by the prosecution.
But the court heard from forensic scientists that they could not rule out if the DNA was left by St Rose himself - or through 'secondary transfer', where his DNA was on one of the intruders who then left it at the scene.
Defence barrister Mr Timothy Maloney also asked if it was possible the DNA was left by "someone who might have been wearing a pair of gloves that might have been worn by Cameron St Rose at some point".
The judge said: "At first blush the finding of a "one in a billlion" match is compelling evidence against him. But the experts explained that the deposit [of DNA] in this case was likely to be a few microscopic skin cells.
"Not only can [the prosecution] not rule out the possibility of secondary transfer, but they cannot say even if it's more or less likely than [St Rose himself leaving it at the scene].
"There isn't sufficient evidence for you to safely convict... 'Might-bes' are not good enough.
"I regret enormously that the police have been unable to bring to justice whoever killed Mr Brickwood."
The decision will not be fought at the Court of Appeal. The trial has now officially concluded.
An inquest heard the popular scrap metal dealer, who was described as a “pillar of the Abington community” by a neighbour, suffered 35 separate injuries, including multiple stab wounds, in the attack.
David initially survived the attack and was able to call the police. Officers performed emergency first aid in an attempt to save the 74-year-old’s life, however, he died a short time later at Northampton General Hospital.
In September this year, it will have been six years since his death.
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police, said: “We are disappointed that the decision has been made not to progress to the conclusion of the trial but must respect the direction of His Honor Mr Justice Pepperall.
“As ever, our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Brickwood. We share their frustration that no one has yet been brought to justice following his death.”