As a regular feature on our blog, we interview people from the field of Forensic Science. Whether a one-on-one with a Think Forensic staff member, someone working in a forensic discipline, or a student paving the way for a career in the industry, we want to highlight as many aspects of the field of forensics as we can.
Crime rates may differ from country to country, and county to county. West Yorkshire, though possibly home to sleepy villages compared to the sprawling metropoleis of London and the south, still has its fair share of grisly murders.
In 2001, during the heady days of summer, a female body was found in Lindley Woods, Otley. The body was eventually identified as Leanne Tiernan, who was reportedly abducted less than a mile from her home, after a Christmas shopping trip, the previous November.
Though the police are usually the ones to have ‘sources’, we’re becoming ‘sources’ ourselves: delivering technical, procedural and forensic detail to authors via crime-writing workshops at our purpose-built crime centre in Huddersfield.
Recently, crime authors such as Lynda La Plante and Peter James openly shared the methods they employ to gain criminal and procedural insight, which helps them to weave authenticity into their plots. Each of the household-name authors interviewed confessed to consulting with police professionals as part of their research.
The starting point of any investigation is probably the hardest. As a police officer, you could be faced with a dead body, the murder weapon, footprints, fingerprints, and a sign on the wall in blood, saying “It was me!”, and yet at that moment, the culprit (and victim) could be anybody. It could be the person stood next to you.
As evidence is gathered, however, pictures start to form. And if a case is straightforward, fingerprints etc., once examined, could result in an outright match to an existing profile. Result: the killer is him!
That depicts a tidy murder case…where there are signposts and pointers all over the place that lead back to the killer.
But, in many cases, there isn’t much for the police to go on. In the case of killer Michael Sams, there wasn’t even evidence at the outset that a crime had even been committed.
Though the page has turned for this year’s Harrogate Crime Writers’ Festival, we wanted to shine a light on our involvement.
One of the most respected literary festivals in Yorkshire, the Harrogate event is traditionally sponsored by Theakston’s Old Peculier. Taking place over a number of days, it brings reader and writer together, with plenty of household names giving talks and interviews.
So, why were Think Forensic in the library, with the blood spatter ‘head’, and a body on the floor? Publisher Pan MacMillan invited us to set up a crime scene at the Old Swan Hotel; the plot for the day was based upon Ann Cleeve’s book ‘The Moth Catcher’, featuring her trusty stalwart ‘Vera Stanhope’, who greeted all would-be detectives on the day.Read More
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