Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

3D Printed Bones Help Solve 'Body in Suitcase' Murder

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

3D Printed Bones Help Solve 'Body in Suitcase' Murder

Article excerpt

Prosecutors rely on technology developed by team at Warwick to secure conviction. Chris Parr writes

Experts at the University of Warwick have helped West Midlands Police to convict a man who killed his friend before disposing of the body in a canal.

Last month, Lorenzo Simon was convicted of murdering Michael Spalding then dismembering the body, stuffing it inside two suitcases, and throwing them into a canal in Birmingham.

The 34-year-old was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 19 years in jail; his girlfriend, Michelle Bird, 35, was cleared of murder but sentenced to two and a half years in prison after admitting to assisting an offender.

However, had it not been for 3D technology based at WMG, a unit of the university, the conviction at Birmingham Crown Court might never have been secured.

Detectives searching the couple's garden recovered part of the victim's humerus from an oil drum that had been used as a furnace to destroy evidence. Using the fragment, experts from WMG were able to prove that it was a seamless fit with a limb found in one of the suitcases.

The same 3D scanning technique was also able to prove laceration links between a saw recovered from the canal bed and marks found on the victim's bones.

Using the technology, WMG X-rayed nine pieces of bone from a range of angles, collating thousands of images that allowed detectives, forensic experts and Crown prosecutors to examine the evidence in remarkable depth. The technique allows images to be displayed at a resolution 43,000 times more detailed than a hospital CAT scan. …

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