Forensic experts found a murder accused’s DNA on a Perthshire jeweller’s body and his fingerprints on a frying pan alleged to have been the weapon, a court heard.
Police scientists said there was a billion to one chance that anyone other than accused Nikola Zhulev had contributed to the mixed DNA sample taken from beneath the tape binding Alan Gardner’s ankles.
The High Court at Livingston was told that 30-year-old Zhulev’s fingerprints had also been found on a box of tape found in the kitchen of Mr Gardner’s Balbeggie bungalow and on rolls of tape found lying near his body in a bedroom.
Carol Rogers, 42, a forensic scientist with the Scottish Police Authority in Glasgow, examined the trace DNA samples taken from the victim’s ankles under the tape they were bound with.
She said: “The major contributor of DNA matched the DNA of Alan Gardner. The minor contributor types corresponded to the types in the DNA profile of Nikola Zhulev.
“In assessing the significance of the DNA profiling result in respect of Nicola Zhulev, we carried out a likelihood ratio calculation which considered the following explanations.
“The first is that Alan Gardner and Nicola Zhulev are contributors of the DNA on the tape.
“The second explanation is that Alan Gardner and another unknown male unrelated to Nicola Zhulev are the contributors on the tape.
“We have estimated that this result is greater than one billion times more likely if the DNA on the tape is from Alan Gardener and Nicola Zhulev rather than Alan Gardner and another male unrelated to Nicola Zhulev.”
Rogers told the jury that DNA swabs from the handle of a garden spade recovered from Mr Gardner’s car also corresponded to the profile of Nikola Zhulev, but with a one in 680,000-times likelihood.
She added: “In our opinion an explanation for the finding of DNA matching Nicola Zhulev could be that he had handled the spade.”
Fingerprint expert Claire Echevarria, 34, compared prints taken from Zhulev to productions seized by the police.
She said several of Zhulev’s prints matched a McDonald’s cheeseburger wrapper found in Mr Gardner’s kitchen, and a total of 10 of his finger and palm prints were found on the heavy frying pan which the jury has been told was the alleged murder weapon.
More of the accused’s prints were found on a box of tape found in the kitchen of Mr Gardner’s home and on rolls of tape found beside his body in the bedroom.
Pizza chef Zhulev, a Bulgarian national, denies murdering Mr Gardener at his home in Croft Park, Balbeggie, in April last year and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by planning to conceal the body in a makeshift grave in woodland.
He also denies theft, credit card fraud and possessing and being concerned in the supply of heroin.
The trial continues.