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Experimental forensic studies of the preservation of pollen in vehicle fires

Morgan, RM; Flynn, J; Sena, V; Bull, PA; (2014) Experimental forensic studies of the preservation of pollen in vehicle fires. Science & Justice , 54 (2) pp. 141-145. 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.04.001. Green open access

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Abstract

The implications of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission regarding the use of admissibility tests have the potential to be far reaching for forensic disciplines that rely on the expertise of highly qualified expert witnesses. These disciplines will need a concomitant body of peer-reviewed experiments that provides a basis for the interpretations of such evidence presented in court. This paper therefore, presents such results from two experiments which were undertaken to address specific issues that were raised in cases presented in the British courtroom. These studies demonstrate that there is a variability in the persistence of Lily, Daffodil and Tulip pollen when exposed to high temperatures between 0.5min and 1440min (24h). It was possible to identify all three pollen types after 30min of exposure to 400°C, and after shorter time frames the threshold for successful identification was 700°C after 0.5min for all pollen types tested and 500°C for Daffodil and Lily after 5min of heat exposure. Over longer time periods (18h (1080min)) the different pollen types were found to persist in a viable form for identification at 300°C (Lily), 200°C (Daffodil) and 50°C (Tulip). These findings, albeit from a small sample of pollen types, provide empirical contextual information that would contribute to such evidence having sufficient scientific weight to meet admissibility criteria and be viable evidence for a court. These studies demonstrate the value in seeking pollen evidence from even such extreme crime scenes as encountered in vehicular fires.

Type: Article
Title: Experimental forensic studies of the preservation of pollen in vehicle fires
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.04.001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2013.04.001
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Forensic Science Society. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Open access under CC BY-NC-ND licence
Keywords: Experimental studies, Forensic Science, Pollen, Preservation, Vehicles, fire, Automobiles, Fires, Forensic Sciences, Hot Temperature, Lilium, Narcissus, Pollen, Time Factors, Tulipa
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1425731
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