Forensic Science

The Role of the Forensic Scientist

Body fluids are not always pleasant to talk about but sometimes they can be fascinating, as was demonstrated by Dr. Pamela Strayhorn in her recent talk on forensic biology to Largs PROBUS Club. Dr. Strayhorn advised that this support service has been provided by the Scottish Police Authority since 2013 and aims not to prove a case but to provide impartial reports to enable others to reach a conclusion. She outlined the role of the Forensic Scientist and referred to Locad’s exchange principle, whereby the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it, allowing DNA evidence to be obtained from the lightest of touches. She detailed the various tests for blood, semen, saliva, faeces and urine and the importance of these, along with DNA profiling, in sexual offence cases. Blood pattern analysis of clothing and weapons was of particular interest and the quiz on whether a photograph taken at an incident scene was suspicious or non-suspicious proved challenging. 

Dr Strayhorn brought her informative talk to a conclusion by going through the DNA, fingerprint and other evidence used to convict Peter Tobin of the murder of Angelika Kluk,23, in 2006 at St. Patrick’s Church in Anderston, Glasgow, which eventually led to the capture and conviction of the serial killer.

Bill Young gave a vote of thanks to Dr. Strayhorn, referring to his enjoyment of Silent Witness and Ian Rankin books where forensic science plays such an important role, and thanked her for giving the members a few examples as to why we should not become criminals. The Club will next meet on 18th October in the Willowbank Hotel at 10am when Bill Fitzpatrick will speak on the Battle of Jutland. Men over the age of 50 who are retired, or nearing retirement, are welcome to join the Club by completing our Contact Form.