Research at Northumbria University has concluded that textile fibres can, under certain circumstances, be transferred between clothing notwithstanding the absence of any human physical contact. 

Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments upon this development.

If any of the issues contained within this article may be of relevance to you, it is essential that you seek immediate expert legal advice. 

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Previously | Kangs Criminal Evidence Solicitors

The presence of textile fibres has been pivotal evidence in the pursuit of numerous criminal prosecutions.  

Once pertinent fibres had been recovered from a suspect or an injured party, an assumption usually developed that the suspect had been present at the scene of the crime as it was generally accepted that fibre transfer only occurred when two surfaces touched.

The New Research | Kangs Forensic Evidence Solicitors

The current researchers maintain that contactless transfer of fibres between garments can be possible through airborne travel with Dr Kelly Sheridan from Northumbria University saying:

‘Our experiment was simple but efficient.  We used fluorescently tagged fibres to track their airborne transfer between clothing.  Every day tagged clothes – jumpers, long sleeved tops and fleeces – were worn by two people who stood in opposite corners of an elevator.  The elevator operated as normal and two non-participants of the study entered and exited as usual.  Following the experiment, the surfaces of the recipient’s clothing were photographed using UV imagery techniques to determine the number of fibres that were transferred from one person to the other’.

The study demonstrates:   

  1. textile fibres can transfer between garments in the absence of contact, and they can do so in relatively high numbers,  
  2. when certain strict conditions are met (i.e. time, shred-ability of garments, proximity and compliance based), airborne transfers of fibres can occur in forensic scenarios, and that these could be in potentially significant numbers of fibre types such as cotton and polyester.

The results of this research may be significant during a criminal prosecution when proving the presence, or otherwise, of an accused at a particular location is significant, even though no physical contact can be established. The new findings may also be relevant where only a small number of fibres are found and circumstances exist where contactless fibre may have taken place.

How Can We Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

If any of the issues raised in this article affect you or you are concerned about potential prosecution based upon forensic evidence, it is essential that you seek immediate expert legal advice. 

The team at Kangs Solicitors is highly reputed for assisting clients:   

How Can I Contact You? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

The team at Kangs Solicitors is available to assist clients in respect of all serious and complex criminal allegations.  

We welcome any enquiries by telephone or email.

Our team of lawyers is available to meet at any of our offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester, or alternatively we are happy to arrange a meeting via video conferencing. 

For initial enquiries, please contact:

Suki Randhawa
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Helen Holder
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Amandeep Murria
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