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How Dundee changed court cases all over the world

How Dundee changed court cases all over the world

In 2007, scientists at Dundee University pioneered a technique that changed courts all over the world.

The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) has helped on everything from murder cases to training police officers, and even helped break up Scotland’s biggest paedophile ring in 2009.

This is hardly surprising given the college of life sciences is the best in Scotland and one of the top five UK-wide.

It pioneered a groundbreaking technique, which has helped identify criminals using only their hands.

This has since led to numerous life sentences and a number of child abuse convictions.

With so many offenders masking their faces, the technique is a vital tool in the fight against crime and, in a special one-off event Dr Helen Meadows, a member of the award-winning CAHID staff, will be giving an insight into how it all works later tonight.

Forensics: Your Life in Your Hands will be the latest Cafe Science Extra event at Dundee Science Centre.

The informal lecture series aims to introduce some of the most cutting edge technology and work being done in and around Dundee to the public in a down-to-earth and easily-accessible manner.

At tonight's event, Dr Meadows will be giving an overview of the vein-studying technique and explaining some of her work on analysing and creating databases of hand features.

She will also highlight just how important it has been and the difference that it has made to court cases all over the world.

"In 2007, the new scientific technique pioneered at the University of Dundee was accepted in UK courts for the first time," she said.

"The technique studies the patterns of veins on hands and was used in a ground-breaking trial to identify a suspect from images associated with a case of alleged child abuse.

"Identifying offenders using photographic or video evidence has traditionally focused on facial features, but criminals are increasingly ensuring that their face does not appear in physical evidence.

“But since 2007, similar cases have been presented to CAHID and the technique has been deployed in over 40 cases in the UK and internationally, helping to secure two life sentences and over 100 years of incarceration for perpetrators of child abuse.”

You can find out more about the fascinating work the CAHID scientists are doing in the Financial Times article below, or head to the department's website.

Forensics: Your Life in Your Hands is free and starts at 6pm at the Dundee Science Centre.

Header image credit: Brian Turner on WikiMedia.

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