By PAUL THORNTON & CARA SULIEMAN
A MAN dubbed the “Chloroform Killer” who served seven years in jail for murder before finally being cleared on appeal has enjoyed his first day of freedom – by shopping at Asda.
Scar-faced Craig McCreight, 37, was freed from HMP Addiewell on Wednesday night after his conviction for the murder of his partner Yvonne Davidson was quashed.
And after an emotional reunion with his parents John and Sylvia at their home in Broxburn, his first port of call was to see the lawyer who helped free him – followed by his first shopping spree in seven years so he could stock up on is favourite food and drink.
Dad John said: “We are over the moon to have him back.”
“He was going to his lawyers in the morning and then picking up some of his things from Addiewell before going to Asda on the way home.”
His parents spent the day at home preparing for their son’s return while he spent around an hour with his lawyers deciding on his next course of action.
While in jail he made a bid to purchase the council house where mother-of-three Yvonne died by exercising his ‘Right to Buy’ property clause.
But his attempts were thwarted by West Lothian Council who took legal action in a bid to stop him claiming the property as his own.
Now, the freed man will be able to press forward with his desire to buy the house as he has no criminal conviction to his name.
A spokesman from the council said: “Following the Court of Criminal Appeal ruling, we no longer have any grounds to oppose Mr McCreight’s right to buy application.”
McCreight was set free on Wednesday after an appeal court overturned his 2002 conviction for the killing of pub landlady Yvonne in February 1999.
At the time, prosecutors alleged it had almost been the “perfect murder” and he was ordered to spend at least 18 years behind bars.
The Crown had alleged he had placed chloroform over Yvonne’s mouth and nose causing her to inhale the fatal chemical.
But this week, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard McCreight had been a victim of “bad science” at his original trial.
During the appeal, fresh evidence was heard which challenged the scientific expert’s testimony at his trial and revealed the level of chloroform was consistent with swallowing the substance rather than inhaling it.
Lord Nimmo Smith, sitting with Lord Clarke and Lord Hardie, ruled his conviction must be quashed and refused a Crown motion to grant authority for a fresh prosecution.
The judges said they were “entirely satisfied” that new evidence was of such significance to conclude the jury’s verdict amounted to a miscarriage of justice.
Last night, his delighted mum Sylvia, 64, who always believed her son’s conviction would be overturned, said: “I’m just happy he’s free – his legal team have been brilliant.”
Yesterday there was no-sign of McCreight at the grey, pebble stone terraced house a short drive from his parents’ home.
But his uncle Alec – who now lives at the home Craig shared with Ms Davidson – hinted that his nephew may make a return.
He said: “There are lots of family issues to be sorted out before we can get back to normal. But we are delighted to have him back in the family.
“We have been saying for seven years that there has been a miscarriage of justice.”
McCreight spent part of yesterday morning meeting with his lawyer Gerry Bann from a local solicitors firm.
He refused to say what his client plans to do next.
But he said: “This case has been tragic in a whole number of ways.
“After the ordeal of the last 10 years Craig is relieved to be reunited with his family and now wants to concentrate on rebuilding his life.”
“This has been a complex case which has required us to instruct some of the world’s leading toxicologists.
“We are satisfied we have been able to meet the very significant challenges of this case.”
The family added McCreight didn’t want to comment so soon after his release.