Date: 30 May 1992
Amanda Duffy was found dead on some wooded wasteland by a car park on Miller Street in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.
She was half naked when she was found.
Her death had been due to head and neck injuries and from inhaling her own blood. Other injuries included a broken nose, bruises and abrasions consistent with stamping, and her jaw had been broken in two places.
At the trial it was heard that Amanda Duffy's murder had been ritualistic and that pieces of wood had been forced into her body and that her body had been mutilated. She had had twigs shoved into her nostrils with such force that they had entered her brain and fractured her skull and branches had been forced into her mouth and private parts.
A man was tried for her murder but acquitted after a verdict of not proven was returned. He was charged after bite marks on Amanda Duffy's nipples were proved to have been caused by his teeth.
The Crown Office attempted to retry him in 2016 but their application to the court of appeal was refused. The man later died in July 2017.
It was later commented that the trial result went against all expectations and that the forensic evidence against the man was strong. However, the judge had said that he was not surprised at the verdict.
At the trial the charge was that he had assaulted Amanda Duffy and murdered her and that he had knocked her down, punched and kicked her, struck her with an unknown object, stamped on her face and neck, compressed her neck, removed parts of her clothing, and forced pieces of wood into various parts of her body.
At the time of the murder the man, who had been 20-years-old, had lived in Douglas Crescent in Eddlewood, Hamilton.
Amanda Duffy was a drama student and the man that was tried was a year older than her and knew her from school. She had been five feet four inches tall with long red hair.
On the night she was murdered Amanda Duffy had been out with some friends to celebrate having had an audition earlier in the day with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.
It was heard that later, as they were going home, they met the man that was tried near a taxi rank and the friend went off leaving Amanda Duffy and the man talking together there.
However, Amanda Duffy was found dead in the wooded wasteland near the car park on Miller Street the following evening. Her post-mortem was carried out soon after at 1.30am and it was determined that she had been dead for about 17 hours, putting the time of her death at about 8.30am.
However, when the man was questioned about meeting Amanda Duffy, he said that he had been chased off by a man called Mark, and that Amanda Duffy went off with Mark.
The man said that he lost his jacket when he took it off to climb a tree.
At the scene of the crime the police found hair samples on a broken branch about 1 1/2 feet above the ground which were quite long and said that they came from the main suspect as he too had long hair. They said that there were about 20 of them and that they could only have got there if a person had been lying down, or if a person had walked by and got their hair caught up with it and the branch had then been broken. The forensic specialist said that he thought that the hair had been violently pulled out.
The police also said that they got a blood sample from one of the hairs which stated that it was of the same blood type as the man tried and which belonged to 3.7% of the population.
However, Amanda Duffy was also found to have had a hair caught in her right hand that didn't belong to her or the man tried. However, the prosecution said that it was a hair that had fallen out naturally and that it could have been anyone’s. At the Crowns appeal to try the man again they said that the jury might have thought that the hair found in Amanda Duffy's hand might have led them to believe that someone else had been present. The prosecution said that the hair could have been blown there, noting that most people lose 80 to 120 hairs a day.
The doctor that carried out her post-mortem at 1.30am the following morning said that she thought that Amanda Duffy had died about 17 hours earlier.
The doctor said that Amanda Duffy had marks around her neck that had been caused by her necklace being pressed or pulled against her skin and added that there were few signs of defensive injuries, indicating that Amanda Duffy had been unconscious when she was being assaulted.
The doctor said that one twig had been forced into Amanda Duffy's nostril with such force that it had broken through her skull and become embedded in the bone. She added that a branch had been forced into Amanda Duffy's mouth and had then been pulled out again, resulting in a wound near her ear, and that there were signs that two attempts had been made to force the branch through her skin.
The doctor also found that Amanda Duffy's nipple had been bitten, leaving teeth marks, and said that it would have been painful, and not just a 'love bite'. It was noted that the man tried for her murder had said that he had given her a love bite before he was chased off, and the prosecution said that based on her injury, if he had done so at the time he had said he had, that there would have been blood in Amanda Duffy's bra after she had replaced it, but that there was no on it when it was found indicating that the 'love bite' had been caused at the place where Amanda Duffy was found after her bra was removed.
At the trial the prosecution said that Amanda Duffy's murder involved ritualistic acts that might have included sexual overtones and that if her murderer had simply wanted to kill her he could have done it quite adequately without mutilating her body.
The court also heard that the use of the twigs suggested that her murderer had wanted to obliterate her face and her identity.
Part of the man's defence stated that psychiatric tests showed him to be an ordinary young man and claimed that the murder must have been carried out by a person with mental problems.
After the man was acquitted the judge said that he was not surprised by the verdict, saying, 'I didn’t think the Crown case was all that good. Some bits of it were very strong, but there were some awful gaps. There was a strong indication of somebody else being there or thereabouts at the time. There was a gap in time when they couldn’t put him and her together. They didn’t find anything from her on him. Now, if he’d been with her in a violent, bloody incident, you would have expected something to be on him. And there were no fibres from his clothing on her, which was curious'.
After the man was acquitted, Amanda Duffy's parents sued him in a civil court and were awarded £50,000 for the loss of their daughter. It was noted that in a civil court the requirement was that the case could be proved on 'the balance of probabilities', as opposed to 'beyond reasonable doubt' required in the criminal court. It was also noted that the man refused to defend his case which denied Amanda Duffy's parents the chance to challenge his version of the events. However, it was also noted that the man never paid a penny of the £50,000 and moved away. He had been living in Nottingham at the time of his death.
Following the trial there was debate over both the Scottish verdict of 'Not Proven' and the double jeopardy laws. The double jeopardy laws were later changed, allowing the Crown to appeal the case, however, their appeal was rejected, and the man later died. The 'Not Proven' verdict was also questioned. It was described by some as the 'Bastard Verdict' and by others as the 'not guilty and don’t do it again' verdict. Amanda Duffy's relatives later raised a petition with 55,000 names on it, and together with support from a Member of Parliament, they petitioned for the 'Not Proven' verdict to be abolished, however, they were unsuccessful.