Nikki Allan: DNA technology advances played role in probe into 1992 murder of girl, court hears

Seven-year-old Nikki Allan was killed in Sunderland in 1992. Credit: Northumbria Police

Advances in DNA technology since 1992 played a part in the investigation into the murder of Nikki Allan, a court heard.

David Boyd is standing trial for the murder of the seven-year-old in Sunderland in October 1992.

DNA profiling in criminal cases was “extremely limited” in 1992, jurors trying the 55-year-old have been told.

Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: “The science was in its infancy and in the intervening 30 years the use of DNA evidence in criminal cases has become almost routine.

“More importantly, much more sensitive tests are now available that detect DNA in much smaller quantities.”

Nikki’s body was found in a derelict building in Hendon, Sunderland, on the evening of 7 October 1992.

A man is standing trial for the murder of Nikki Allan in 1992. Credit: Family

Mr Wright explained the development of Y DNA profiling, which looks at male DNA passed from father to son.

None of Boyd’s DNA was found on Nikki’s coat but traces that were a one in 28,000 match were found on her cycling shorts, and a one in 5,100 match on her T-shirt, the court heard.

“It is the clothing that her killer would have inevitably had to handle when forcing her into the building, picking her up inside and manhandling her,” Mr Wright said.

Mass DNA screening of people in the area was carried out as part of a reinvestigation by police.

Mr Wright told jurors: “It is of course not possible to exclude every male person who may theoretically have been in the area on the night of the killing.

“However, of the hundreds tested, no DNA profile other than that of Boyd matches the male DNA profile obtained from the T-shirt and cycle shorts.”

Boyd denies murder. The trial continues.

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