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Church youth leader horrified at Elaine Doyle murder accusation

A CHURCH youth leader has reacted with horror to the suggestion he might have been responsible for killing Elaine Doyle, 27 years ago.

But, a trial heard, two incidents involving young females had put retired plumber Alan Gray's name on a list of possible suspects.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that just two weeks after Ms Doyle's murder Mr Gray, 67, was quizzed about an incident involving a young girl on a bike - which led to him appearing in sheriff court.

Mr Gray said although he had admitted an offence in court he wished now that he had challenged it. He said the reason he had opened his trouser zip was because of a medical condition which caused intense itching.

Mr Gray - at the time a member of Ardgowan Square evangelical church - was confronted with a police statement about another incident in August 1986.

"I saw a very attractive woman walking towards the town," the statement read.

Mr Gray, according to the statement, turned in a goods yard and went back to have another look.

Defence QC Donald Findlay challenged: "You go, basically, out of your way to ogle her and that is what you did, isn't it?" Mr Gray hesitated, then agreed.

The lawyer said: "These two things are why you would not be entirely surprised when police told you your name was on a special defence of incrimination."

Mr Findlay asked Mr Gray: "What if you had been out, for whatever reason, on the night of June 1 going into June 2 in your car and had seen a young girl walking on the road, alone, late at night, a girl called Elaine Doyle?

"What might have happened?" Mr Gray insisted: "Nothing."

On trial is John Docherty, 49, who denies murdering Ms Doyle. The special defence of incrimination is a list of 41 possible suspects.

Docherty, of Hunters' Quay Holiday Village, Dunoon, claims at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled Ms Doyle he was with his parents - who are no longer alive - at their home.

The trial continues.

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