| 9.1°C Dublin

Cut on face is key to Livingstone cold case

A DISTINCTIVE facial wound could hold the key to the murder of a Dublin housewife 17 years ago.

The body of north Dublin housewife Grace Livingstone was found with a cut on the side of her nose, which is believed to have been caused when she was stuck by someone wearing a ring.

Gardai believe that Ms Livingstone sustained the injuries in the same attack which led to her being shot dead.

The Herald understands that the nose injury, and how it was sustained, will now be re-examined as part of a major review of the case.

The housewife was found murdered on December 7, 1992, after being bound and gagged at the family home at The Moorings in Malahide.

The 56-year-old mother-of-two was found face down on her bed. Her feet and hands were tied together and her mouth was sealed with adhesive tape.

She had been shot in the back of the head with a gun owned by her husband James Livingstone.

Along with the fatal shotgun injury, the post mortem discovered a fresh and distinctive wound to her nose, which is believed to have been caused when she was struck shortly before being shot. The cut was on the side of the bridge of Mrs Livingstone's nose, and was consistent with a punch to the eye.

The original investigation team believed that the killer could have been traced by finding the ring, which left a distinctive mark, but no trace of it was ever found.

The case is one of the country's highest profile unsolved killings, and has been the subject of four garda investigations, including the latest by the Serious Crime Review Team.

The High Court last year heard that Mrs Livingstone's husband, tax official James Livingstone, was entitled to a "full presumption of innocence". He had previously been arrested and questioned by officers investigating the murder, but was released without charge.

He claimed that gardai were guilty of negligence and breach of duty in the management of the investigation because they had an irrational fixation that he was the killer.

He was joined in the action by his daughter Tara Beauchamp and son Conor.

The case was settled, with the terms of the settlement undisclosed.

A suspect in the case, a burglar who was living at Harrington Street at the time of the killing and later moved abroad, was questioned and ruled out by the original investigation team. The time and location of the sighting of the suspect did not correlate with the time of Mrs Livingstone's death.

There was no sign of a break in at the house, and no apparent motive for the murder.

Officers from the garda Serious Crime Review Team re-interviewed Mr Livingstone last month about the case, and are currently looking again at a large amount of case evidence.