An avenue to miscarriage: a case report

S Grey, J Lartey, J Millington, R Vardon, J Crane, J Preuß-Wössner, C Buschmann

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Abstract

Two men were wrongfully convicted of murder in 2017 and sentenced to life imprisonment. After a physical altercation inside a flat, the victim (A) was found dead approximately 60 m away outside a residential address. He had sustained a number of injuries including a stab wound to the left side of his neck which was found to have divided the right carotid artery. The location where A was found was not regarded as a crime scene and not subjected to a specialist forensic examination by scientists as it was assumed that the fatal injury was sustained in the flat. The pathologist, who subsequently carried out the autopsy on A, was not asked to attend the scene. A review of the blood distribution at the scene in conjunction with the pathology findings indicated however that the fatal neck wound had been inflicted outside the flat, near to where the victim was found. An appeal against the convictions for murder was upheld in 2021 and a re-trial ordered. Following this second trial, both accused were acquitted of murder and released from custody. The new pathology and blood pattern evidence introduced at the second trial was a major part of the defense strategy which led to the acquittal of the accused. The case illustrates that a more inclusive and detailed crime scene strategy had been undertaken, including an assessment of the bloodstains present, in conjunction with discussion with the pathologist, then the likelihood is that the two men subsequently charged with murder would have been eliminated as suspects and a miscarriage of justice would have been avoided.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForensic science, medicine, and pathology
Early online date07 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Crime scene investigation
  • Ability to act
  • Bloodstain pattern analysis
  • Forensic strategy
  • Miscarriage of justice

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