Sarah Kilbane

Dr Sarah Kilbane BA, BSc, PGCert, MSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Sarah joined the University of Greenwich in 2015 after completing her PhD in Psychology with the University of Liverpool. Her PhD thesis concerned the topic of 'malicious contamination' encompassing crimes of poisoning, product tampering, food terrorism and extortion. Sarah also completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology with the University of Surrey, with research on stalking and attacks on public figures.  Sarah has published book chapters and journal articles on the topics of criminal behaviour and threat assessment. More specifically, her current research projects involve the topics of forensic mental health, altruistic fear and the fear of terrorism, CBRN and food terrorism, and the assessment of threats through the use of machine learning.

As a member of the criminology team Sarah teaches a variety of subjects relating to forensic psychology and criminology, including quantitative research methods, forensic mental health and the psychology of terrorism.

Responsibilities within the university

  • Senior Lecturer in Criminology
  • Department Ethics Deputy
  • Criminology Student Conference Organiser
  • Staff Wellbeing Champion



    • Fellow (FHEA; 2016 - present)
    • Honorary Recognised Teacher, University of Liverpool (2016)


    • Awarded a University of Greenwich Research Sabbatical (2019)
    • Twice awarded University of Greenwich REF Competitive Funding (2015/16; 2017/18)

Research / Scholarly interests

Current projects / interests

  • Using machine learning techniques to predict criminal behaviour
  • Separating actualised from unactualised criminal and terrorist threats
  • Evaluating product selection in cases of malicious contamination
  • Gendered stereotypes in portrayals of poisoning crimes
  • Altruistic fear and the fear of terrorism

General research interests and potential supervision areas:

  • Poisoning, product tampering and food terrorism crimes
  • CBRN terrorism
  • Bombings and bomb threats
  • Threat assessment and management, including the assessments of criminal and terrorist threats
  • Public figure attacks and approaches
  • Mental health and crime
  • Quantitative research and predictive modelling of behaviour

Research groups

  • Crime, Law and (In)Security (member)
  • Gender, Deviance and Society (affiliate member)

Selected Publications

  • Kilbane, S. C. and Wilson, M. A. (2020). A definitional framework of poisoning crimes. In: Conyers, A. and Calhoun, T. (eds) Deviance Today. Routledge, United Kingdom, 104-117.
  • Kilbane, S. (2018). Agent selection and threat actualization in contamination cases: Predicting action from perpetrator behavior. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, 5(3), 173-187.
  • Kilbane, S. (2018). Poisoning Expertise and Outcomes in Malicious Contamination Incidents. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 8(3), 187-198.
  • Kilbane, S. (2018). Sage Research Methods Case 2: Using unobtrusive data to study criminal behavior: Understanding malicious contamination incidents. SAGE Research Methods Cases.
  • Wilson, M., & Kilbane, S. (2017). Criminal poisoning and product tampering: toward an operational definition of malicious contamination. Deviant Behavior, 38(10), 1141-1159.

Conferences paper presentations, invited lectures and key note addresses

  • Kilbane, S. (2019) Assessing the validity of product tampering threats. Talk given to the Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Kilbane, S., Natkunam, K. & Lai, C. (2018) Using historical data and mathematical modelling to predict outcomes during contamination threats. Paper presented at the European Association of Psychology and Law, Turku, Finland.
  • Kilbane, S. (2016) Corporate Target Selection in Cases of Malicious Contamination. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, USA.
  • Kilbane, S. (2015) Poison Expertise and Agent Selection in Cases of Malicious Contamination. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Kilbane, S. & Wilson, M. (2015) Behavioural Categories of Malicious Contaminators: Differentiating Between Poisoners, Product Tamperers, Extortionists, and Food Terrorists. Paper presented at the European Association of Psychology and Law, Nuremberg, Germany.
  • Kilbane, S. & Wilson, M. (2013) The Contagious Nature of Product Tampering. Paper presented at the European Society of Criminology conference, Budapest, Hungary.
  • Kilbane, S. and Wilson, M. (2011) 'Product Tampering as a Means of Political Gain.' Paper presented at the International Society of Political Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey.