Unsolved Murders

Dorothy Wood

Age: 94

Sex: female

Date: 7 May 1996

Place: Whitby Avenue, Fartown, Huddersfield

Source: www.theguardian.com

Dorothy Wood was murdered during a burglary.

A man was convicted of her murder in 1998 but later appealed and his conviction was quashed in 2002 after it was heard that an ear print that was found on a window that linked him to the murder could not be proven to be his. A retrial was ordered but the prosecution offered no evidence and he was acquitted.

It was heard that new techniques had been developed for the identification of ear prints and that when applied to the case failed to prove a connection between the print and the man tried. It was also heard that his initial conviction had relied on evidence from a prisoner that the man had been in a cell with in prison before the trial but after hearing new confidential information about Dorothy Wood's death, the prosecution decided not to rely on the other prisoner's evidence and dropped the case.

The case had made legal history at the time for being the first case in which ear print evidence was used. However, following the appeal the man's defence said, 'This is another example of dangers of police perhaps following science too closely'.

DNA evidence from the ear print also showed that the ear print didn't belong to the man. It was thought that the new DNA evidence implicated another suspect, but the police said that they had not found any evidence to implicate anyone else in the murder and as such considered the case closed until such a time that further evidence came to light.

Dorothy Wood was found dead on her bed at 8.20am on 7 May 1996 by some friends that had gone round to help her with her breakfast. She had been smothered with a pillow.

She was last seen alive by her care assistant the evening before at 7.30pm.

It was thought that she had been burgled, but it was found that only £10 was missing. Although she had a burglar alarm, she had switched it off as she kept setting if off because she was so deaf.

She had previously been burgled in 1993 and 1996.

She had lived in her home for 60 years.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.