DNA Tests on Prisoners to Find Killers in Riddle Cases

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

SCORES of unsolved murder and rape cases

could finally be closed when prisoners are forced to provide DNA samples.

New laws going through the Commons will give police the power to test the 7,500 violent criminals now in jails or secure hospitals for a massive database of `genetic fingerprints'.

Hundreds of them are prime suspects in unsolved crimes which were committed before the technology of DNA fingerprinting was perfected.

They include killer John Cannan, jailed for life for the murder of bride Shirley Banks but also questioned over the death of insurance clerk Sandra Court in 1986. The parents of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh believe Cannan may be responsible for their daughter's disappearance as well.

Suzy's body was never found, but in other unsolved cases DNA evidence still exists.

Police forces around the country have an estimated total of around 8,000 items of evidence in warehouses from which DNA samples could be obtained.

Now, using the latest techniques, samples such as hairs or bodily fluids can be analysed to extract the unique DNA of the culprit. …