Wednesday, April 25 at 9.30pm on CRIME & INVESTIGATION NETWORK
On 9th October 1988, pensioner Elizabeth Smyth was brutally murdered at home in her flat. This was a truly chilling attack and yet no evidence was available to convict the prime suspect, her next door neighbour. With the help of forensic advances nineteen years later, this is the story of how the murderer was finally put behind bars. When police officers came to the scene of the crime they saw that a trail of blood ran all along the hallway and into the bedroom where Lily’s body lay. Her injuries suggested that she had been sexually assaulted and then strangled. As the investigation progressed, the detectives came to the conclusion that Lily knew her attacker because she had opened the door to them. Being security minded it was clear that she wouldn’t have answered to aa stranger One person who soon became a prime suspect was Billy Stevenson her next door neighbour Twenty stranger.
One person who soon became a prime suspect was Billy Stevenson, her next door neighbour. Twenty four year old Stevenson lived alone in one of the three other flats on the 11th floor of the tower block and shared a communal area with Lily. Although forensic teams took fingernail cuttings and confiscated a jacket belonging to Stevenson for analysis, nothing was found to prove that Stevenson had any contact with Lily. The detectives were convinced that Stevenson could be the killer but the lack of any incriminating evidence left them feeling unsure that that they could secure a conviction. As a result, the cas they could secure a conviction.
As a result, the casee was left unresolved. Eighteen years later in 2005, the was left unresolved. Eighteen years later in 2005, the rebranded Police Service of Northern Ireland announced a series of new initiatives that would look into unsolved cases with the hope of using new DNA technology to help conclude a number of open cases. At last, 19 years after the murder, the detectives had hard forensic evidence and could charge Billy Stevenson with Lily’s murder. The trial lasted for three weeks and on the 30th October 2008, William James Stevenson, aged 44, was convicted of Elizabeth Smyth’s murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years.