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The Case of Stephen Keogh

By Ben Gunn on 30/11/13

The Case of Stephen Keogh

From Inside Time December 2013

Kevin Monteith was found, by his son Robert, bludgeoned to death in his driveway. It was 10.30pm on the night of 22 November 2008. Kevin Monteith's friend, Stephen Keogh, is now in prison for his murder, vehemently protesting his innocence.

Kevin Monteith and Stephen Keogh had been friends for many years, playing football and socialising together very frequently. It was on one of these social occasions, in their local pub, that Stephen and Kevin were last seen together, on the night Kevin was murdered. Kevin Monteith left the pub around 7.13pm, to go home. He received a 3 second telephone call at 7.47, the last provable moment he was alive.

Stephen Keogh left the pub at 7.29, to go to his son's house. Usually this took him 25 minutes to walk, but on this occasion it took twice as long because, he said, he went to a couple of taxi ranks and waited at a bus-stop for a while. Crucially, Stephen Keogh appears to be visible on CCTV just after 8pm, and his movements are accounted for after that moment. This CCTV sighting is 6 minutes away from the scene of the crime, actually cutting down Stephen's "window of opportunity" to commit the murder to a time of some 5 or 6 minutes.

If Stephen Keogh killed Kevin Monteith, it was in the short time between 7.47 and 8pm. However, one of the many difficult aspects of this case is that no effort was made to establish time of death. Whilst Kevin Monteith was known to be alive at 7.47pm, and found dead at 10.30pm, there is no medical or scientific evidence as to when in that time he was actually killed. If Kevin died after 8pm, then Stephen Keogh could not be his killer.

Why, then, are the authorities so certain that Stephen Keogh is the murderer? The central pieces of evidence against him are that his movements are unaccounted for in the 12 minutes leading up to 8pm; that he was having a relationship with Kevin Monteith's wife, Ann; and DNA recovered from his watch and shoelace.

Ann Monteith and Stephen Keogh were exchanging texts and having rendezvous in quiet country pubs. But there is no evidence that this was a sexual relationship, or that Ann wanted to leave her husband. Ann did not give evidence at the trial and the Prosecution stated that this motive element of their case was peripheral, not particularly important.

The DNA evidence was far more weighty for the prosecution. A minute spot of blood was found on Stephen's watch, which yielded Kevin Monteith's DNA profile. The prosecution expert claimed, in a supplementary report, that this was a "fresh" blood deposit. On Stephen's trainer shoelace, a mixed DNA profile was obtained from an area of a diluted bloodstain. Both Stephen Keogh and Kevin Monteih's DNA profile came from this sample. It was the Prosecution's contention that these bloodspots and the resultant DNA came from Stephen bludgeoning Kevin to death – a particularly bloody event.

Stephen Keogh legal team do not accept these arguments and rely on advice from experts who say blood spots cannot be aged so precisely. Experts say it scientifically improper to claim that a minute bloodspot is of recent origin, there being no known test to determine this. In support of this view they point to the fact that, in any event, the watch was seized some four weeks after the death of Kevin Monteith which, say Stephen Keogh's supporters, make the claim of "freshness" even more questionable. Equally, the Prosecution alleged that Stephen had laundered his trainers – yet provided no evidence whatever to back up that claim. As the two men spent years in each other's company, including playing football, and had been together that day, it is suggested that a minute bloodspot on Stephen Keogh's watch and Kevin Monteith's DNA on his trainer may equally have resulted from innocent transfer in their daily contact.

Stephen Keogh's friends and supporters have worked hard to prove that he could not be the killer by trying to track his exact whereabouts for the small window of opportunity he had to have carried out this violent crime. But their efforts have been thwarted by the poor quality of camera images. Some success came when new witnesses were found after the trial, a couple, who walked past Stephen Keogh on the street just after 8pm. They noticed nothing unusual, and no blood-staining on his clothing.

Unusual facts in this case, including the failure to establish time of death, stand glaringly unresolved. Why were there no defensive wounds on Kevin's hands or arms? Kevin Monteith's body was moved, blood-settling showing that he had been rolled over some time after his death. Who would do this? Would Stephen, having killed his friend, then manipulate the position of the body to no purpose? Would there be time in the 12 minutes in which Stephen Keogh could have killed Kevin for these blood patterns to have formed?

Kevin Monteith's son, Robert, found his father dead in the driveway. It was well lit, the house lights were on, and the front door was open. If Kevin Monteith was killed by Stephen Keogh between 7.47 and 8pm, did no one notice the body and the open doorway for two and a half hours? The victim's next door neighbour left his home at approximately 1948hrs on the night of the murder to return to the Holt Hotel having left earlier with Stephen Keogh. The neighbour walked past Kevin Monteith's house but saw nothing unusual at the house nor anybody on the street. Similarly, two other neighbours walked past Kevin's house around 8.30pm and failed to notice an open, lit doorway. Another witness walked past the house at 9.30pm and also noted nothing unusual but on his return at 10.30pm saw the body.

What happened to the murder weapon? A classic "blunt instrument", this was never found or identified. The movements of Stephen Keogh at the relevant time were confined to a relatively small area, meaning he had limited options for disposing of any weapon. Remember the time factor in this case is overwhelmingly important. Between 7.47 and 8pm Stephen Keogh would have had to lure Kevin Monteith out of his home; bludgeon him to death; wait a short while as the blood settled in Kevin's body; move the body to a different position; conceal or disguise what may have been heavy blood spatter on his own clothing; and disposed of the weapon.

In the face of the equivocal evidence, and the unanswered questions, there are many who support Stephen Keogh in resolutely maintaining that he did not kill Kevin Monteith.


♦ Why was the victim's body moved? Who rolled it over?

♦ Why was the body not seen for 2½ hours, particularly by the neighbours known to have passed by?

♦ Is it possible to enhance the CCTV footage of the area to identify either Stephen Keogh or new witnesses in the area?

♦ Can a new analysis of the cell-site data pinpoint the locations of Stephen's mobile phone that evening?

♦ Why did the initial police call for witnesses give a time of interest beginning at 9pm? What time of death was this based upon?

♦ Given the extremely tight timescale involved if Stephen committed this crime, how was the murder weapon disposed of?

♦ Given the nature of the crime, why was no evidence found which linked Stephen Keogh to the scene?

♦ Was evidence found that actually pointed to another person being responsible?

Were you in the area of Holt Lane or the Whiston Hospital on Warrington Road, Rainhill on the night of 22 November 2008 between the hours of 7.00pm and 10.30pm? If so please contact Inside Justice even if you think you saw nothing relevant.

Inside Justice, part of Inside Time is funded by charitable donations from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Newsum Charitable Trust, Inside Time and the Roddick Foundation.