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Student sleuths get to work by the Loch

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 4:55 PM


 

Published: 18 Jan 2014 10:00

‘MURDER most foul’ has taken place on the banks of Loch Lomond – and budding detectives have been called upon to help solve the virtual mystery.

  Share this image

The University of Strathclyde – in partnership with education provider FutureLearn – launched its first free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) earlier this month.

During week one of the six-week course, an Introduction to Forensic Science, participants were introduced to the ‘Principles and Practice of Crime Scene Investigation’.

Following a welcoming word from course educators Prof Niamh Nic Daeid, Prof Bill Tilstone, and Prof Jim Fraser, student sleuths were invited to work through 23 stages.

They were first quizzed on perceptions of forensic science, with answers revealing much of which originated from popular TV, film, and literature – such as Poirot or CSI New York.

The purpose of forensic science was defined as a way to provide objective information on which reliable evidence-based decisions can be made. A five minute video then introduced the case study – A Murder by the Loch, which is to be used as a vehicle to understand the aspects of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI).

Participants were told to consider the ‘six ws’ – what, where, how, who, where, and why – and introduced to the mantra ‘ABC’ – accept nothing, believe nobody, and check everything.

Following the mock incident, participants in their role as crime scene investigators were told to focus on ‘real’ evidence, including trace items such as blood stains, whilst testimonials also make-up an essential part of evidence by providing a verbal account of an incident.

The basic principals of CSI are control, preserve and record, recover, and reconstruct.

Investigators must use ‘control’ to protect the integrity of evidence, for example by cordoning off the scene of an incident; ‘preserve’ physical evidence by adhering to collection procedures. ‘Record’ relates to legal requirements, eg. being in possession of correct documentation, and thinking of safety; ‘recover’ relates to the identification and retrieval of potential evidence; and the final point ‘reconstruct’ is the telling of the story of what happened.

At the conclusion of week one, participants are reminded that an investigation must be evidence-led. To provide an example of this the course uses a quote from one of Britain’s most famous fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes, who said: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”

CASE STUDY – A Murder by the Loch.

It is 3.30pm on August 4, 2013 when witness Alan Dougan is waved down by a man standing at the junction to Ross Loan and the access road to Ross Priory.

The man, later named as Gordon Ward, was holding his upper left arm and was distraught. Mr Ward said he and his wife were driving home after Sunday lunch at Ross Priory on the banks of Loch Lomond to celebrate their anniversary.

He said the couple came across a car stopped in the middle of the road forcing them to stop. The driver of the car got out and approached them brandishing a gun.

The man demanded that they give him their money, watches and jewellery. When they refused the man pulled open the passenger door and tried to pull off his wife’s diamond bracelet and grab her handbag.

Mr Ward said his wife had resisted and when he got out of the car to help her the gunman shot him in the arm before shooting his wife in the head.

The man then fled with jewellery, Mr Ward’s wallet, and his wife’s handbag.

Mr Dougan noted a woman slumped in the passenger seat, with a bloody wound to her right temple and then called the emergency services.

Police and paramedics arrived and a temporary cordon was erected and photographs taken of the scene. The preliminary examination revealed a spent cartridge case on Mrs Ward’s lap, trapped by her arm.

A wet stain of what appeared to be blood was noted on the left side of the backrest of the front seat cover on the driver’s seat.

A fine pattern of blood spots was noted on the arm rest and the fascia.

Crime scene examiners searched the 100 metre cordoned-off area but nothing was found.

- See more at: http://www.helensburghadvertiser.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2014/01/18/485461-student-sleuths-get-to-work-by-the-loch/#sthash.mD4AMLQ1.dpuf

Student sleuths get to work by the Loch

Published: 18 Jan 2014 10:00

‘MURDER most foul’ has taken place on the banks of Loch Lomond – and budding detectives have been called upon to help solve the virtual mystery.

  Share this image

The University of Strathclyde – in partnership with education provider FutureLearn – launched its first free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) earlier this month.

During week one of the six-week course, an Introduction to Forensic Science, participants were introduced to the ‘Principles and Practice of Crime Scene Investigation’.

Following a welcoming word from course educators Prof Niamh Nic Daeid, Prof Bill Tilstone, and Prof Jim Fraser, student sleuths were invited to work through 23 stages.

They were first quizzed on perceptions of forensic science, with answers revealing much of which originated from popular TV, film, and literature – such as Poirot or CSI New York.

The purpose of forensic science was defined as a way to provide objective information on which reliable evidence-based decisions can be made. A five minute video then introduced the case study – A Murder by the Loch, which is to be used as a vehicle to understand the aspects of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI).

Participants were told to consider the ‘six ws’ – what, where, how, who, where, and why – and introduced to the mantra ‘ABC’ – accept nothing, believe nobody, and check everything.

Following the mock incident, participants in their role as crime scene investigators were told to focus on ‘real’ evidence, including trace items such as blood stains, whilst testimonials also make-up an essential part of evidence by providing a verbal account of an incident.

The basic principals of CSI are control, preserve and record, recover, and reconstruct.

Investigators must use ‘control’ to protect the integrity of evidence, for example by cordoning off the scene of an incident; ‘preserve’ physical evidence by adhering to collection procedures. ‘Record’ relates to legal requirements, eg. being in possession of correct documentation, and thinking of safety; ‘recover’ relates to the identification and retrieval of potential evidence; and the final point ‘reconstruct’ is the telling of the story of what happened.

At the conclusion of week one, participants are reminded that an investigation must be evidence-led. To provide an example of this the course uses a quote from one of Britain’s most famous fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes, who said: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”

CASE STUDY – A Murder by the Loch.

It is 3.30pm on August 4, 2013 when witness Alan Dougan is waved down by a man standing at the junction to Ross Loan and the access road to Ross Priory.

The man, later named as Gordon Ward, was holding his upper left arm and was distraught. Mr Ward said he and his wife were driving home after Sunday lunch at Ross Priory on the banks of Loch Lomond to celebrate their anniversary.

He said the couple came across a car stopped in the middle of the road forcing them to stop. The driver of the car got out and approached them brandishing a gun.

The man demanded that they give him their money, watches and jewellery. When they refused the man pulled open the passenger door and tried to pull off his wife’s diamond bracelet and grab her handbag.

Mr Ward said his wife had resisted and when he got out of the car to help her the gunman shot him in the arm before shooting his wife in the head.

The man then fled with jewellery, Mr Ward’s wallet, and his wife’s handbag.

Mr Dougan noted a woman slumped in the passenger seat, with a bloody wound to her right temple and then called the emergency services.

Police and paramedics arrived and a temporary cordon was erected and photographs taken of the scene. The preliminary examination revealed a spent cartridge case on Mrs Ward’s lap, trapped by her arm.

A wet stain of what appeared to be blood was noted on the left side of the backrest of the front seat cover on the driver’s seat.

A fine pattern of blood spots was noted on the arm rest and the fascia.

Crime scene examiners searched the 100 metre cordoned-off area but nothing was found.

- See more at: http://www.helensburghadvertiser.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2014/01/18/485461-student-sleuths-get-to-work-by-the-loch/#sthash.mD4AMLQ1.dpuf

Categories: Glasgow Crime Newsflash

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