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The case study – an update

The case study - an update
As soon as the fingerprint and firearms specialists were finished, the team was joined by a forensic biology specialist who observed and photographed the following– blood stains on the passenger seat cover, blood stains on the left side of the driver’s seat cover, a pattern of tiny blood spots on the transmission tunnel between the seats, a pattern of tiny blood spots on the fascia and wind screen. Note at this stage, blood means staining with the appearance of blood.
The forensic biologist then set about reconstructing the trajectories of the blood spatters, which showed two areas of origin, one about level of the left shoulder of someone seated in the driver’s seat and one with an origin at the level of the fascia in the centre of the car, between the seats, in line with the gear lever. The trajectories were marked out with strings and photographed to show the convergence of each set at the described origins. The seat covers were removed and sent to the laboratory for examination. Representative areas of the larger stains on the seats were tested for blood with a positive result. The blood patterns were discussed with Ms.
Watson and DI Morrison who agreed that a small area of each that did not display any directional information could be sampled and sent to the laboratory for DNA testing. Given that two people had been shot and there were two separate blood patterns, it was important to establish who this blood could have come from. The laboratory estimated that it would take three days for the DNA results to be available. In the meantime, preliminary results of the post-mortem examination confirmed that the cause of death was a close range gunshot to the right temple area. The initial findings of the blood spatters and the information that the gun shot was made at close range to Mrs. Ward’s right temple conflicted with Mr.
Ward’s account of an unknown gunman shooting her from the passenger side of the car. Detectives therefore went to the hospital and asked him to provide more detail about exactly where he and his wife were when shot. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] -I don’t remember clearly. It was all too sudden and frightening. [END AUDIO PLAYBACK] He explained that he was in shock when interviewed at the scene and his initial account of events was sketchy. He told the detectives that the gunman had gone round to the passenger side and was sitting on the sill of the car with passenger door open, threatening Mrs. Ward. He himself had, in fact, not got out to confront the robber, as he was afraid.
But when he moved across to protect his wife, the gunman had first grabbed Mrs. Ward by the hair and shot her in the head and then shot him in the arm as he was moving towards her. When asked about the appearance of the robber, he said he couldn’t see his face clearly. But he was quite tall, wearing a dark shirt and jeans, and not wearing gloves. The detectives took possession of Mr. Ward’s clothing and sent to the forensic science laboratory for examination. No blood was found, but gunshot residues on the left shirt sleeve indicated that he had been close to a firearm being discharged. The detectives also obtained the notes of Mr. Ward’s treatment in the hospital.
These showed that he had suffered a gunshot injury with a trajectory at an angle of approximately 45 degrees downwards, passing through the inner aspect of the biceps muscle before entering the chest. A bullet was recovered and given to the investigators.
When the testing was completed, the DNA results from the fine blood staining in the car showed that the blood originating from the area at the left of the driver’s seat could have come from Gordon Ward, and the blood originating from a point between the seats could have come from Mrs. Ward.
The finger marks and blood pattern analysis and the changing accounts of events from Mr. Ward presented the senior investigating officer with two competing versions of what happened. Either there was an armed robber prepared to shoot and kill his victims and who had to be identified and found, or Mr. Ward had murdered his wife and attempted to make the incident look like a robbery gone wrong.
It was now approximately 5:30 in the afternoon, and the decision was made to declare the area from the Priory to the Loch a crime scene.

This week’s information relating to the case study is about how BPA on the stains in the car contribute to the investigation.

The identification of the two points of origin inside the car presents the investigators with important evidence that excludes Mr Ward’s initial account of events, as it does (to a lesser degree) the trajectory of his bullet injury.

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Introduction to Forensic Science

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