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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds A major incident room was set up to run the murder investigation, led by Detective Chief Inspector Muir, and Ms. Watson was confirmed as the Crime Scene Manager for the case. The investigation team, including Ms. Watson and DI Morrison, met Dr. O’Reilly, the Duty Forensic Pathologist, at the mortuary at approximately 0800 hours the next morning. Around the same time, a detailed examination of the vehicle began by crime scene examiners and a firearms specialist. The examination commenced with a series of general photographs of the vehicle. Close-ups were then taken of the passenger and driver’s doors. These were then examined for fingerprints before the inside of the car was examined.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds The examination of the inside began with the recovery of trace evidence, such as fibres and hairs, by taping the front seat covers and surfaces and the rear seats and surfaces. During the course of the examination, the firearms specialist found a second cartridge case on the floor just underneath the passenger seat, and it was collected, packaged, and labelled. He next searched the rest of the car interior, but there was no signs of live ammunition or of a gun. An essential part of the identification process is to obtain reference fingerprints from anyone who has had access to the car, such as family members, as well as those who had been at the shooting scene, including official personnel.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds The ambulance personnel were wearing gloves as part of their personal protective procedures, and the police officers at the scene– Constables McBride and Bell, DI Morrison, and CSM Watson all wore gloves as part of the standard operating procedure at the scene of a suspicious death. Fingerprints were taken from Mrs. Ward as part of the routine procedure at the postmortem examination. Officers were sent to the hospital and collected samples from Mr. Ward and also to the address given by Mr. Dougan. However, the address given by Mr. Dougan turned out to be false, and an officer was assigned to locate him. Three finger marks of interest were found on the passenger door, and one on the driver’s door.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 seconds These were from the same person, were not from either of the Wards, and were clear enough to suggest that they were of recent origin. The finger marks were compared to prints in the national database, and a match was found with unidentified marks from a scene investigated during an unsolved drug case. Although this supported Mr. Ward’s version of events, DCI Morrison was still not sure. He therefore returned to Ross Priory to interview the staff who had been on duty in the restaurant on the afternoon of the murder. John Andrews, who had served the Wards that day,

Skip to 3 minutes and 21 seconds recalled that when he went to the car park at about 3:30 to drive home, he saw the Ward’s car drive towards the loch, and not to the exit road.

The case study - the crime scene garage

Now let’s go back to the ‘Murder by the Loch’ case.

Let’s see what the progress is in the case study. You’ll get some more information about how the investigation is progressing. You might want to go back and watch the introduction to the scene in Week 1 as well to remind yourself of what has happened so far.

In the video we will discuss the normal type of examinations carried out on the vehicle and the different types of evidence recovered. In particular you will get some information about how fingerprints would be dealt with, what control fingerprints would be taken and from whom, and what fingermarks were recovered from our scene.

You will get some more information about what the fingermark evidence revealed and the subsequent actions taken.

Think again about how the fingerprint evidence in particular can contribute to the 6Ws in the case. Consider the new information you’ve received for the case.

Does the information from the fingerprint examination provide clarity or confusion?

Tell us what you think in the comments area.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Forensic Science

University of Strathclyde