Our Forensic Services
A building that has been the subject of an extensive fire may on first impressions appear to be gutted and have no forensic value.
However, an examination of the burn patterns inside the property and an assessment of the case circumstances can enable the experienced forensic fire investigator to determine where and how the fire started.
Accelerants such as petrol or white spirit are commonly used to start fires and the finding of such residues in the debris, or multiple seats of fire, can indicate the fire was started deliberately. When a person uses an accelerant to start a fire it is possible that the accelerant may splash or spill onto their clothing.
Clothing items can be examined for residues of an accelerant using sensitive instrumentation. Items of clothing can also be examined for the presence of ‘flash-burning’; microscopic flame damage to fibres that could indicate the wearer had been in contact with a flammable vapour cloud when it was ignited.
It is a common misconception that all glass is the same. The nature of the raw materials, manufacturing process and final application results in variations in the physical and chemical characteristics of the glass.
Forensic techniques often enable samples of glass from different sources to be differentiated from each other.
This allows a forensic scientist to determine whether or not the findings are likely that the glass fragments found on the suspect’s clothing originated from the window (or other glass object) at the scene. Glass is therefore an extremely useful evidence type at any scene where broken glass is encountered: robberies, burglaries, assaults with bottles, road traffic accidents, criminal damage etc.
Fibres are ubiquitous in the environment and are often transferred between shedding surfaces (clothing, car seats, bedding, carpets, twines etc) that have been in contact; sometimes even if the contact has been fleeting.
There is potentially a significant amount of discrimination that is possible between fibres relating to their type, colour, size and other microscopic physical and chemical characteristics.
For example, two red tracksuit tops from the same manufacturer, that appear visually similar, may be differentiated from each other following a forensic examination of their constituent fibres.
When a person walks on a surface the impression of the shoe’s tread pattern may be left behind either from the deposition of material on the sole, or by removing material from the receiving surface.
Also, if an assailant kicks the head or body of a person the imprint of the upper or sole of the shoe may be left in bruising on the victim’s skin.
A forensic examination considering factors such as the make & model of the training shoe, size, pattern, wear characteristics and damage features can show conclusively that a particular shoe made the mark. Conversely, it is also possible to conclusively eliminate a suspect’s shoe from having made the mark at the scene.
DNA profiling is one of the most powerful and well known forensic techniques used by the police in order to associate, or eliminate, a suspect with a crime.
Whilst nowadays the courts rarely question the technique itself, an understanding of the nature of the deposition of the body fluid and the attribution of the DNA profile to a particular crime stain itself, is absolutely vital in the interpretation of the profile in the context of the case.
Forensic UK’s expertise in understanding the processes and protocols involved in the collection, profiling and interpretation of DNA evidence can identify whether contamination could be a factor in a case.