A JURY has been told there was a billion to one chance DNA found on a knuckle-duster did not belong to a man accused of murder.

Paul Watson’s genetic material was found on the weapon by police investigating the killing of Michael Price.

The 36-year-old died 11 days after he was given a severe beating and left for dead outside a house in Victor Street, in Chester-le-Street, in the early hours of January 13.

His blood was found on the striking surface of the metal knuckle-duster and Watson was said to be the primary contributor to the DNA.

Forensic scientist Kate Steer told Newcastle Crown Court DNA from two other woman, as well as Watson’s co-accused, Christopher Hills, had also been identified.

Mrs Steer said: “In my opinion, the findings obtained can be explained by Paul Watson having handled it at some time, as in it has been worn.

“The probability of obtaining a DNA sample that did not originate from Paul Watson is a billion to one.”

Another scientist, Stephen Forth, said marks matching the knuckle-duster, were found on Mr Price’s back.

Christopher Hill’s barrister, Robert Woodcock QC, asked if the sample found could be explained by Price being hit with the knuckle-duster by Paul Watson.

Mrs Steer said it was a ‘possible explanation’.

Earlier in the week, the jury was told drug misuse was at the centre of the case.

Hill, 31, of Gregory Terrace, Houghton-le Spring, and Watson, also 30, of The Crescent, Chester-le-Street, both deny murder.

The jury was told an examination of footwear worn by the defendants found blood on their trainers.

Mr Forth said tests also found similarities between Watson’s trainers and bruises on Mr Price’s body, as well as Hill’s shoes and a mark on the victim’s t-shirt.

Mr Forth said: “When someone is kicked or stamped it can alter the skin and it becomes damaged and that is what gives the bruise.

“If it is hard enough it can give a shape and that can show the pattern of the footwear.

“From looking at the marks on the back against the tread pattern of the shoes from Paul Watson I saw there were similarities in the pattern spacing.”

“It gives moderate support to the proposition that one or both of the training shoes worn by Paul Watson contributed towards those marks.”

The trial continues.