THE jury at the Vicky Hamilton murder trial was yesterday told the evidence against a Paisley man accused of killing the 15-year-old schoolgirl is “damning”.
The trial of Peter Tobin, 62, entered its closing phase at the High Court in Dundee as lawyers for both the prosecution and defence made their final speeches.
Paisley-born Tobin is alleged to have abducted Vicky in Bathgate, West Lothian, on February 10, 1991, and then drugged her, sexually assaulted her, murdered her and buried her mutilated body in a garden in Margate, Kent.
Vicky’s fate was described as barbaric, an unspeakable horror and evil by solicitor general Frank Mulholland QC, prosecuting.
But defence QC Donald Findlay claimed there was not a scrap of evidence to show what had happened to Vicky after she was last seen looking for a bus to her home in Redding, Falkirk.
Mr Mulholland told the jury of 12 women and three men: “You don’t need me to tell you these are charges of the utmost gravity.
“To abduct, drug, sexually assault and murder a 15-year-old girl who was doing nothing except going home to her mother is a crime of almost unspeakable horror.”
He continued: “It is a barbaric act.”
Mr Mulholland said the horror of the fate that befell Vicky cannot be over-stated.
He added: “I have searched long and hard in my lexicon to find words which can properly describe what happened to this poor girl.
“The best I can do is describe it as evil.”
Tobin, who previously lived in both Paisley and Renfrew, denies the charges against him.
But Mr Mulholland reminded the jury that a knife with Vicky’s skin on it had been found in the loft of Tobin’s former Bathgate home.
“A damning piece of evidence that the perpetrator of these evil acts is Peter Tobin,” he added.
There had also been a sighting of Tobin, wearing a biker jacket, in Bathgate the night Vicky disappeared.
The trial has also heard that DNA found on Vicky’s purse matched that of Tobin’s son, Daniel, who was three years old at the time.
“How did Peter Tobin get the purse?” asked Mr Mulholland. “The answer is obvious. He took it from Vicky when he murdered her.
“Yet another damning piece of evidence against him and it all fits together.”
Mr Mulholland said that, after Vicky vanished, police kept the file open and looked at it again and again and again.
Addressing the jury, he added: “Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to finally close this file. It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that this man, Peter Tobin, murdered Vicky Hamilton.”
But Mr Findlay countered by telling the jury: “We must rely on facts, not a long series of could bes, possibilities and, even worse, ‘consistent with’.”
He added that there was no evidence of where Vicky died or where she was bisected.
Mr Findlay told the jury: “You and I must deal with facts.”
He also spoke of the torment experienced by Vicky’s family over not knowing what had happened to her.
But he warned: “This is a court of justice, not a court of revenge. This is a trial and not a show trial.”
The jury is expected to be asked to consider its verdicts today.