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The case study – footwear marks, tyre marks and firearms

The case study - footwear marks, tyre marks and ballistics
Tracking the car, finding the gun. The original cordon had been removed after the removal of the car and the failure to find a gun or any of Mrs. Ward’s possessions at the scene of the incident. A new outer cordon was established from the access road from Ross Loan to the Priory. These are indicated on the map that’s available to you. The outer cordon was controlled by police officers at the entry gate, who only permitted essential traffic to pass through and logged all movements in and out of the site.
An inner cordon was set up by blocking the access road from the Priory to the loch and jetty with crime scene tape, with a control point at the Priory end of the road.
The paved access road terminated near a jetty. The weather on the day of the shooting had been dry, but it had been raining heavily the day before and through the night, and the crime scene team believed that any vehicles that had driven down the road would have left tyre tracks in the soft ground at the end of the road, where they would turn around or park. The estate manager was interviewed, and reported that no official vehicles had used the road for more than a week. The area between the end of the road and the jetty and the adjacent ground was searched, and tyre impressions and a partial footwear mark found and recorded.
The tyre impressions and the footwear marks were found where a car could have turned around.
Access to the concrete jetty was blocked by locked gate. There was a shallow stone-covered beach on the right, but deeper water on the left with no beach. Nothing had been found in the search for the gun at the shooting scene, and attention now focused on the loch. A detailed search of the road and verges was conducted, and an underwater search team was requested to search the loch. A gun was subsequently found in the loch in shallow water about 15 metres from the shore at the right of the jetty. The gun was passed to the crime scene examiner, who rendered it safe and packaged and logged it. DI Morrison returned to the hospital and asked Mr.
Ward if he could explain why he had been seen driving to the loch, and why he had left the Priory about an hour before the shooting. Why do you keep bothering me? My wife’s been murdered and I nearly died, too. Why don’t you go and find the killer? He became quite angry at this point, and told the inspector that it was none of his business. He calmed down after a few minutes and explained that it was a nice, clear, and sunny afternoon, their wedding anniversary, and they had driven to the lochside to admire the view of Loch Lomond.
Not that it’s any of your business, but it was a nice day, and we drove down to the loch to admire the view before going home. The forensic investigation now had two related threads. Examination of the gun and examination of the tyre and footwear impressions. Tests confirmed that the cartridge cases found in the car were from rounds fired by the gun. The serial number of the gun had been erased, but was restored in the laboratory. However, there was no record of its registration. The tyre impressions were a similar pattern to those on the Wards’ car, but no marks were found that could link them specifically to their vehicle. The footwear impression was compared to Mr.
Ward’s shoes, which were included in the clothing taken from him at the hospital. There were no distinguishing features in the shoes nor on the impression, and other than saying that the marks could be made by shoes of that size and type, no firm conclusions could be drawn from the examinations.

Given our case involves the discharge of a firearm, there will be an important impression evidence component to the case. This will also include the potential of finding tyre marks and footwear marks which may be associated through the examination of class and individual characteristics to a vehicle or the footwear of an individual.

The recovery of a weapon would be important and this would be used for test fires to create comparison samples. Similarly tyre marks and footwear marks would be recovered from seized vehicles and shoes in order to make impressions for comparison.

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Introduction to Forensic Science

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