On 1 January 1997, Nicola Dixon was murdered in Sutton Coldfield.Colin Waite forced her into the grounds of a rectory in Trinity Hill, smashed her skull repeatedly against a stone step, raped her and left her to die in the snow. Home Office pathologist Dr Peter Jerreat was asked to review the forensic evidence in 1999. He said one possibility for Nicola's neck injuries was that the 17-year-old had tried to escape before being grabbed back by her assailant.A pair of damaged trousers, ripped from the front to back, that had been torn off with 'some force,' were shown to the jury. Her underwear had been used as a gag. Forensic swabs taken from Nicloa's body showed traces of semen and a single Afro-Caribbean hair was found four days later, near to where her body lay.Colin Waite could have been arrested shortly after Nicola's murder as officers had taken a swab from him in July 1997 when they arrested him for assaulting his former girlfriend.
Unfortunately, errors made in packaging the sample meant it failed the standards set by the Forensic Science Service and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act rules stated that another DNA swab could not be taken from Waite at the time. It was only when he was arrestedfor a road rage attack in August 2002 that police were able to take another sample. This provided an exact match with that found at the murder scene.
As it was, Nicola's parents had to wait five years to see justice done.
Waite broke down in tears after the jury returned their unanimous verdict. (Taking just 25 minutes to do so) His relatives and friends caused a near-riot in the public gallery when it was announced and Waite's brother was detained by police after he attacked camera crews waiting outside the court with a walking stick. Waite had carried out a series of violent attacks in the years before he murdered Nicola. His first known offence had been committed in 1979, since when he had been convicted for dishonesty, assault, criminal damage and possession of controlled drugs on many occasions. In 1992, he was jailed for six months for attacking his girlfriend, an assault witnessed by his children, and, just seven months after killing Nicola, he broke the jaw of a woman called Christine Lowndes. He had also been convicted of assault in 1998 and jailed for four-and-a-half years. He had also been imprisoned the previous year for a wounding offence.
Although Waite's brother and two of his sisters provided him with a false alibi for the night of Nicola's murder, no one was ever charged with perjury.Waite, who never showed any remorse for killing Nicola, was jailed fo life.