Coffee cup DNA breakthrough in SA murder

·2-min read

A discarded coffee cup retrieved from a bin provided a vital lead and helped detectives charge a man with the "ferocious" cold-case killing of a woman in Adelaide, a jury has heard.

Matthew Donald Tilley has gone on trial in the South Australian Supreme Court for the 1993 stabbing murder of Suzanne Poll.

Mrs Poll, 36, was found in a pool of blood in the rear of a stationery store where she worked.

She had suffered at least 18 separate wounds, including some that went right through her body.

Opening the crown case on Thursday, prosecutor Carmen Matteo said improvements in DNA techniques ultimately resulted in Tilley being charged.

She said a DNA profile originally extracted from a man's blood at the murder scene returned a familial match with Tilley's brother in late 2017.

That ultimately led detectives to travel to Victoria to question the accused and seek a DNA sample.

"Mr Tilley declined as he was perfectly entitled to do," Ms Matteo said.

But she said one of the detectives had noticed that he had tossed a disposable coffee cup into a bin on the street.

The jury was told the detective retrieved the cup and testing returned a match for the DNA found at the murder scene.

Detectives then returned to Victoria in late 2019 and arrested Tilley.

He was brought back to SA and further DNA samples were taken, again returning a match.

Ms Matteo said an autopsy conducted on Mrs Poll's body found that she died from massive blood loss following the attack in the store.

"On the prosecution case she was killed by a man who entered close to closing time and attacked her in a ferocious manner," she said.

"Her death had been caused by the infliction of multiple stab wounds including some that entered her back and travelled all the way through her chest cavity to exit through the front of her chest."

Ms Matteo said the timing raised the possibility of the murder resulting from an intended robbery.

The trial was continuing.

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