Case Studies in Forensicsadmin / January 4, 2019
There is absolutely no dought that technological advancements have made human beings to work more easily. One area that has benefited immensely from new technological advancements is the area of crime investigations.
The use of scientific methods and techniques in investigations and gathering of evidence in crimes has increased in popularity allover the world because of its reliability and high degree of accuracy.
These forensic methods have made court processes much easier and faster due to the fact that evidence can now be gathered more easily. Forensic science experts invent new forensic methods each and every day to make criminal investigations easier and faster.
The murder of Leanne Tiernan in the year 2000 and the discovery of her body nine months later sparked the forensic Science Service (FSS) experts into action as reported by Fred (2006).The case was so complex that (FSS) experts from different forensic fields were called upon to dig out concrete and substantial evidence that would aid in the case proceedings (Fred, 2006).
After the discovery of Leanne’s body nine months after her disappearance, a serious police investigation was launched by West Yorkshire police (Fred, 2006) .The FSS experts who had been drafted into the murder investigations immediately began the most complicated process of gathering forensic evidence for this case.
At this point, they had managed to link a suspect known as John Tailor to this murder crime. According to Fred (2006), Leanne’s body had been discovered lying in the forest. According to Fred (2006), some items were collected from the scene that would help the forensic experts in their investigations.
The FSS scientists suffered a setback in the initial stages of their investigations because they could neither obtain the DNA profile nor fingerprint as they had earlier thought due to the contaminated nature of Leanne’s body (Fred, 2006).
According to Aticlesbase (2008), The DNA profiling is a chemical process that is very elaborate and advanced in which the fingerprint of a person is matched with that from a selected sample for identification purposes .DNA profiling is an advanced modern science that has been proved to give clear identity (Articlesbase,2008).
According to Forensic Science Service (2008), Leanne’s body was contaminated and all the tests done for DNA profiling failed. This failures made the FSS scientists to conduct mitochondrial DNA testing ,analysis of fibers and twine and even dog DNA testing( Forensic Science Service,2008).
All this efforts were aimed at finding the slightest possible clue that would lead them to the girl’s killer. The FSS experts concentrated their efforts in gathering forensic evidence the would lead them to the offender (Fred, 2006). These concerted efforts led them to the supplier of the dog collar and cable ties as the key suspect in the case.
According to Fred (2006), the police identified a man called John Tailor and linked him to the murder of Leanne. Detailed forensic investigations had been carried out and substantial evidence was available to prosecute him. The scarf, twine and carpet fibers recovered from Leanne’s jumper helped the police a great deal in their investigations (Fred, 2006).
Fred (2006) reported that the Lean had a scarf tied around her neck and some hairs were trapped in the knot. Several tests were done on these hairs and failed to bear any fruits forcing the experts to extract a sample from the hair shafts and carryout DNA profiling on them (Explosive Forensics, 2011).
The DNA profile obtained matched Taylor the suspect (Explosive Forensics, 2011). The unusual composition in the twine found at the scene generated some interest. The experts examined the twine found at Taylor’s home and the results revealed that it completely matched the one found at the scene (Fred, 2006). This information was found from a manufacturer in Devon who was cooperative in giving out the twine details (Fred, 2006).
According to Explosive Forensics (2011), the red nylon carpet fibers recovered from Leanne’s jumper were carefully examined and the experts found out that there was a clear distinction in the fibers because their dying was quite unusual.
The FSS experts later examined the carpet fibers that belonged to Taylor and a match was evident despite Tailor tying to burn them (Fred, 2006). Some hairs were found on Leanne’s body and it is believed that the hairs were from a dog. The scientists took a sample of the hairs for DNA profiling (Explosive Forensics, 2011).
According to Fred (2006), the forensic experts managed to obtain a partial DNA profile of the dog hairs found at the scene. The DNA profile results from the dog hairs obtained did not help and the effort proved futile because the experts found out that the dog Tailor owned at the time Leanne was reported missing had already died (Fred, 2006).
This could have changed the direction of this case because this was a clear weakness. Although Tailor admitted to have committed the crimes leveled against him of murder and abduction, he would have appealed this case (Fred, 2006).
Despite enjoying great success, DNA profiling has its limitations (Beta Health Channel, 2010). The process has got various shortcomings and the technology can give incorrect results due to errors arising from contamination of samples. According to Beta Health Channel (2010), some DNA profiling technologies are old and can lead to errors in results are prone to errors.
A DNA profile only offers some percentage of accuracy and the results are not always certain. According to Beta Health Channel (2010), the most crucial problem associated with this technology is that it is vulnerable to exploitation.
Companies that have access to a person’s DNA profile information can use it for wrong reasons (Beta Health Channe, 2010). DNA profile information stored computers can be stolen at any time increasing the risk of manipulation (Beta Health Channel, 2010). Holding a person’s DNA status is not acceptable as it adds up to a violation of their rights. DNA evidence can easily be planted at a crime scene to set up an innocent person or to distort evidence (Beta Health Channel, 2010).
In conclusion, forensic science criminal investigation methods are still very important in helping the police in their investigations. Forensic laboratories are very expensive to equip and governments should allocate more funds to this department. We can only get better and more accurate results if modern forensic technologies that have high degrees of accuracy are used.
Governments should also put in place proper legislation to reduce the possibility of forensic information being manipulated by some people. Despite the challenges forensic criminal investigation faces, it still remains the most popular evidence collection method around the world.
Articlesbase. (2008). DNA profiling –a forensic tool. Retrieved on 2011-02-22 from – http://www.articlesbase.com/science-articles/dna-profiling-a-forensic-tool-531196.html.
Beta Health Channel. (2010). DNA profiling. Retrieved on 2011-02-22 from -http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/DNA_Profiling.
Explosive Forensics. (2011).Forensic cases: The murder of Leanne Tiernan. Retrieved on 2011-02-22 from – http://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/forensic-cases-murder-leanne-tiernan.html.
Forensic Science Service. (2008).Leanne Tiernan. Retrieved on 2011-02-22 from – http://www.forensic.gov.uk/html/media/case-studies/f-28.html.
Fred, H. (2006). Leanne Tiernan case. Retrieved on 2011-02-22 from – http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=5154&pst=394727.