Finding Justice for Those Wronged or for the Families Left Behind; She's Still in Her Twenties but the Company Abi Carter Set Up Role in Revealing the Truth Behind Big Criminal Cases Includinghas Played a Key the Raoul Moat Killings. She Talks to ALISON YOUNG about Her Fascinating Life in Forensics TheBIGInterview

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 22, 2011 | Go to article overview

Finding Justice for Those Wronged or for the Families Left Behind; She's Still in Her Twenties but the Company Abi Carter Set Up Role in Revealing the Truth Behind Big Criminal Cases Includinghas Played a Key the Raoul Moat Killings. She Talks to ALISON YOUNG about Her Fascinating Life in Forensics TheBIGInterview


[bar] merican hit show CSI has brought the world of forensics into our living rooms but Abi Carter, whose business is the real life world of scientific crime solving, can't bear to watch it.

As director and founder of Cardiff-based Forensic Resources, Abi, 27, finds it all "too Hollywood" and she's too busy running her business to spend much time in front of the box.

She works a 12-hour day and even takes her laptop with her on holiday to keep in touch with the office.

But then Abi is a remarkable young woman, having set up her own company when she was just 24, a company which has provided scientific expertise for high profile criminal cases such as the Raoul Moat killings and Joanne Yeates murder in Bristol.

In the case of gunman Moat, it was Abi's company that reexamined the ballistic and audio evidence, and with the Joanne Yeates case, it was her experts who looked once again at the DNA evidence.

It was just a few years ago that Abi spotted a niche market for providing case-management expertise for defence teams in criminal cases, in dozens of disciplines such as DNA analysis, toxicology and fingerprint development.

And through sheer drive and determination she set up her company - which she combines with a consultancy role for Kenyon International as a forensic archeologist in natural disaster emergency response.

In the hours when Abi isn't working she plays the piano, sings with an all female harmony group and is also learning Welsh.

"I used to play the violin as well but now it is just the piano as well as the singing," said Abi.

And weekends are often taken up with shooting - clay pigeon shooting in the summer and game shooting with friends in the winter months.

"Shooting is something that I took up in my twenties, although I can remember my brothers doing it when were at school. I have a 12-bore Beretta and I'm not a bad shot. During the season I try to go away when I can for shooting weekends with friends."

Surprisingly for someone who has gone into forensics, when Abi used to watch television crime shows when she was younger, it was always the whodunnit aspects of the cases that captured her imagination rather than the lab work.

"I used to watch shows like Waking the Dead and Silent Witness but it was the clues and intrigue which I enjoyed rather than the forensic side - that was an interest which came later," said Abi, who's single and lives in Cardiff.

"As for CSI, I've only ever seen one episode - I think it's a bit like a lawyer watching Judge John Deed - it's just not something that you want to watch as you are doing it all day and besides I don't think CSI is very realistic. The forensics in it are up to date but it's so Hollywood and glamorous.

"CSI portrays forensics as being very easy and fast with information getting spat out of a computer but that is not how it happens in real life - it's not glitzy and glamorous - it's hard work with lots of administration.

"When I qualified the show wasn't as popular as it is now, but these days people are forever asking me about it.

"I do think that it is encouraging more people to go into forensics but I'm not sure that is such a good thing if it's for the wrong reasons.

"It's not like what you see on the television, it is a tough industry."

Although Abi's dad is Welsh and from Monmouth, she only moved to Cardiff to go to university after being brought up in the Middle East and going to boarding school in England.

And she believes that it was partly her boarding school experience which fostered independence from such a young age that later helped to give her the drive and determination to set up her own company in her early twenties.

"I was probably about 8 or 10 when I joined my two older brothers at boarding school in Northampton and that was when my mother moved out to the Middle East to be with my dad and we just joined them for the holidays. …

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Finding Justice for Those Wronged or for the Families Left Behind; She's Still in Her Twenties but the Company Abi Carter Set Up Role in Revealing the Truth Behind Big Criminal Cases Includinghas Played a Key the Raoul Moat Killings. She Talks to ALISON YOUNG about Her Fascinating Life in Forensics TheBIGInterview
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