Eddie hailed as a hero for sniffing out Attracta killer

Eddie hailed as a hero for sniffing out Attracta killer
5 August 2006
Belfast Telegraph
Brendan McDaid

A Team of Ulster detectives yesterday heaped praise on a heroic sniffer dog which helped them nail evil killer Trevor Hamilton.

Springer Spaniel Eddie, which was brought over from the South Yorkshire Victim Recovery Dog Unit, was hailed as instrumental in securing the conviction against the rapist and murderer.

Hamilton (23) received what could turn out to be the longest prison sentence in Northern Ireland's legal history yesterday. He was jailed for life with no possibility of release for the murder of Attracta Harron.

The investigation into Mrs Harron's murder was accelerated after Eddie sniffed out her blood on a car mat in Hamilton's burnt-out red Hyundai Lantra. The car had been torched at the rear of Hamilton's home on the same day he murdered the 65-year-old grandmother and mother of five.

The blood in the car matched the DNA from the dead woman.

Mrs Harron's body was found by a canine companion of Eddie's from the South Yorkshire unit in a shallow grave near Hamilton's home on April 5.

Speaking about Eddie's contribution to the investigation, a PSNI spokeswoman for the detectives said:

"These dogs were trained to locate any traces of human remains. "Eddie was tasked to examine a number of cars parked in the secure compound at Strabane police station. "One of the cars was a burnt-out shell of a red Hyundai Lantra that had been seized by police investigating the murder of Attracta Harron.

"Trevor Hamilton had admitted driving the car on the day Attracta went missing."

DNA from a piece of cloth removed from the car for testing was found to be a one in a billion match for Attracta.

Eddie was the first recovery dog ever to be tasked to examine a vehicle or scene that had been subjected to so much heat and water.

The spokeswoman added: "At this stage in the investigation, we still had not recovered Mrs Harron's body and this was a very significant development in the case." Mrs Harron was brutally murdered less than four months after Hamilton was released from a seven-year sentence for raping and threatening another woman.

Attracta vanished on her way home from Mass in Lifford, Co Donegal, in late 2003. Her bludgeoned body was discovered in a shallow grave behind Hamilton's home the following April and he was arrested shortly afterwards.

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