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Michael Bennison attempted murder trial collapses after police lose DNA swabs
THE trial of a York man accused of trying to murder his girlfriend has had to be abandoned, because police lost crucial DNA evidence.
Michael Bennison, 28, was charged last year with attempted murder and was due to stand trial on that basis this week.
But the charge was dropped after Newcastle Crown Court heard North Yorkshire Police had lost the evidence. Bennison has instead now pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful wounding.
Bennison, of no fixed address, was alleged to have stabbed his then girlfriend Amy Evans, 27, last December and sparked a weekend manhunt around York, before being arrested.
At a previous court hearing, it was stated that Miss Evans suffered chest wounds and a punctured lung in an attack in a car in Harley Grove, near Huntington Road, on December 14.
Miss Evans was treated in hospital for a number of injuries.
But the court heard DNA swabs taken from two knives found after the attack had been misplaced by police.
In court, Mr Justice Ramsey said: “This is something that should never have happened. As there is no way of retrieving the evidence we will have no choice but to proceed with the guilty plea for section 20.”
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) accepted the lesser charge of unlawful wounding.
A CPS spokesperson said: “We fully expected to have the forensic analysis of the knife with us on Wednesday so we would be able to pursue the charge of attempted murder.
“Of course, we are disappointed to find that evidence is not available. On this basis we accepted a guilty plea of unlawful wounding.”
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the matter which came to light during the proceedings at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further until all the facts have been considered.”
The case has been adjourned until October 31 for sentencing.
Bennison remains in custody.