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Gail McFayden - Circumstantial evidence
The case against Murphy was largely circumstantial. Several witnesses testified that they saw a man in green or grey overalls who could have been Murphy, acting suspiciously in the area Gail would have traversed. He admitted seeing her going to the beach at 11-30am and rubbing Dimp on her legs near the beach shortly after 1-00pm. Murphy had finished work at 2-20pm and was last seen walking through a gap in the hedge beside a road which runs parallel to the beach.
The police thesis was that between 1-45pm and 2-20pm, while Murphy was supposed to be cutting a hedge, he had waited for Gail as she walked back from the beach towards the camping grounds. He then strangled her from behind, dragged her from the path, sexually molested her, then buried her in the sand.

The prosecution case was bolstered by the fact that Gail’s possessions were found at Murphy’s home in Porirua, including her radio, Dimp, bag, jeans, shirt and blouse. He had attempted to burn some of the items, but residual parts were found in the incinerator, along with charred remnants of masking tape of the same type and width as found on the body. Fibres from the masking tape on the body and recovered from under Gail’s fingernails visibly matched fibres found on Murphy’s bag and on a rag found near the grave, that could have come from the park caretaker’s shed. The Dimp packet found near the grave matched the bottle found at Murphy’s home. At some time, Murphy had torn the bottom out of his carry bag and had attempted to burn it. He had also washed the bag along with his clothes that night, and burned a pair of his work overall in the incinerator. He had lied to his boss, to get off work early on the day of the murder. He shaved off his beard and moustache that night and had turned up for work uncharacteristically early the following day, with bleeding scratches on his legs. He seemed to know a lot about the victim, and had joked to his sister-in-law when she phoned him, after seeing him during television coverage of the search. When she joked about him being involved he remarked, ‘anything for a good screw’. His seminal fluid was compatible with semen found in the body. Playboy and Penthouse magazines and literature about criminal investigations and New Zealand law were found at his home.

Next related article: Forward to Gail McFayden - Defence said Murphy had answersGail McFayden - Defence said Murphy had answers
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