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'O J missing on night of killing'

IN EVIDENCE damaging to O J Simpson, a limousine driver yesterday testified that the sports star was not at home when he called to pick him up to take him to Los Angeles airport on the night of the murder of his former wife, Nicole, and a male acquaintance.

Allan Park told a preliminary hearing that nobody was at home when he first rang the bell on arriving at Mr Simpson's house between 10.40 and 10.50pm. Mr Simpson's white Bronco car was also away. A few minutes later, Mr Park said, he saw a dark figure enter the house and then heard Mr Simpson's voice on the intercom.

None of the prosecution witnesses heard so far - the caretaker for Mr Simpson's house gave evidence yesterday - have done more than show that Mr Simpson had the opportunity to commit the crime. The heart of the prosecution case remains the forensic evidence of bloodstains found in and around his car and also in his bedroom. This has been challenged by the defence on the grounds that it was collected by the police before they had a warrant to search the Simpson home. The prosecution say the police were within their rights because the evidence might otherwise have been destroyed.

The prosecution has wanted to show that Nicole Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered close to 10pm on 12 June, giving Mr Simpson time to commit the crime and return to his house in time to be picked up by a limousine at 11pm.