Recording of the Minerva Webinar delivered by the 2021 Beloe Fellow Dr Katie Addinall can be found here.
Forensic science is defined as ‘the application of scientific methods and techniques to matters under investigation by a court of law’. This a broad term which describes a multitude of evidence types which may be used in forensic investigation. Specifically, the measurement and subsequent analysis of ballistic toolmark information is paramount in the forensic investigation of crimes involving firearms.
Historically, the examination of ballistic toolmark evidence has relied upon the use of visual comparison techniques with instruments such as compound and comparison microscopes. However, with the advent of new technologies and queries into the evidential weight of visual comparison evidence, it is time to consider an approach that will bridge the gap between methods that are available and those that are being used in a court room setting.
With the use of these more advanced measurement techniques comes many considerations which must be accounted for to ensure forensic investigation remains robust, reliable and relevant. The research presented in this webinar will seek to address these concerns. Questions such as the relevant scales of interest for characterisation of individuality, how these are most efficiently captured, and how this information can then be presented in a legal manner will be addressed through research conducted by forensic metrologists at the University of Huddersfield. It is anticipated that this research will allow for the use of advanced measurement technologies for the forensic analysis for ballistic toolmark information.
Katie Addinall has had a deep-rooted interest the field of forensic science from childhood, which firstly became apparent in households ‘experiments’ and quickly evolved into an academic interest, resulting in Katie studying forensic science at A level, BSc and PhD levels. After completing a BSc(hons) in forensic and analytical science, Katie then went on to achieve a PhD entitled ‘the use of advanced metrology techniques for ballistic toolmark identification’ under the supervision of Dame Professor Jane Xiang Jiang and Professor Liam Blunt.
Since completion of the PhD Katie has benefitted from working as a research fellow within the ‘forensic metrology’ field, not only researching into topics such as toolmark identification alongside forensic practitioners, but also applying these same techniques to investigate real-life applications within the Additive Manufacturing and Aerospace research fields.
Katie has recently returned to lecture on the same degree which she completed several years ago, and is excited about the prospects of using her research knowledge to inspire the next generation of forensic scientists.