• Advances in forensic testing credited in Stephen Lawrence trial

Electrophoretic Separations

Advances in forensic testing credited in Stephen Lawrence trial

Jan 06 2012

The blood spot that linked Gary Dobson to the murder of Stephen Lawrence is believed to be the smallest forensic sample upon which a criminal prosecution has ever been mounted.

The conviction has been attributed to advanced breakthroughs in forensic analysis and a determination of police to atone for the errors of their original investigation. A private team of scientists were tasked with finding new evidence for the murder trial in the UK, carrying out months of research and contamination checks.

In the original case, carried out in 1993, it was believed that any textile fibres would have fallen off the suspects' clothes in the two weeks between the killing and their first arrest. Furthermore, blood stains or hairs also had to be of a certain minimum size for DNA profiling to be carried out.

Police departments around the world have been reporting the benefits of enhanced forensic technology, and forensic scientists in Alabama have recently receiving a grant that will allow the agency to buy a spectrometer to speed up the processing of evidence from crime scenes. The Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) instrument, described as capable of processing 1,000 pieces of evidence a month, and will greatly assist with the backlog of unprocessed evidence stored in the state.

Posted by Fiona Griffiths

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