Date of release: Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dr GuestA forensics expert at the University of Greenwich is devising new and improved methods for carrying out bloodstain pattern analysis.

Dr Jennifer Guest, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, is adapting a medical training device, consisting of a cardiovascular pump, and synthetic arteries, human skin and tissue, in order to re-create the distinctive bloodstain patterns that result from arterial injuries.

She says: "We're seeking a greater understanding of how blood behaves when ejected from a vessel under pressure – from example, from a severed artery. We are addressing questions such as how far blood might be projected from an injury, how likely it is that an offender would be bloodstained, and how much would clothing prevent the extent of blood projection?"

A member of the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, Dr Guest has been the lead scientist in more than a hundred cases of murder, attempted murder, GBH and sexual assault, and has worked on a number of high profile cases. A former member of the Metropolitan Police Service, where she worked both in laboratories and at crime scenes, she is an expert witness and has been commended by the Common Serjeant of London for her work.

Dr Guest is working with her Master's student Nathan Lidstone in developing the arterial pattern device. She hopes their work will ultimately lead to a body of scientific data, which will support decision-making in bloodstain pattern analysis and test hypotheses proposed by the defence or the prosecution. "We are looking to find a way of recreating arterial bloodstain patterns that are as realistic and accurate as possible.

"We have begun trials with the device, in which we are able to investigate the patterns produced by pumping horse blood through damaged vessels of various diameters at a range of heart rates. We are investigating how far blood will travel from the damaged vessel and what effect the size of the vessel has on the resulting bloodstains".

These tests will also be carried out with expired donated human blood to increase the accuracy of the results.

Dr Guest and Nathan Lidstone recently presented their work to bloodstain pattern experts from around the world at the prestigious IABPA European conference in Poland.

Dr Guest is also due to appear next year in a new BBC series looking at how forensics may help to overturn wrongful convictions. Dr Guest featured as the forensics expert in Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence programme on the TV Crime & Investigation Channel, revealing how bloodstain pattern analysis and DNA samples can help solve the most difficult of crimes.

For more on studying Forensic Science degree programmes at Greenwich:

The university has also moved up 15 places for Forensic Science in the Complete University Guide:

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Dr Jennifer Guest.