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Although the advances in DNA testing means that the power of forensic evidence has never been greater, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the more traditional areas of forensic science are still very powerful methods of associating an individual with a crime scene. This is particularly true with regard to footwear or shoemarks found at a scene. An attending SOCO will pay particular attention to the presence of shoemarks or footwear marks at the point of entry to a crime scene, in mud or soil below a window, on a broken-down door, on a shard of glass or on the floor of a violated property.

In crimes involving an assault, marks may also be seen on the skin of the victim or in bloodstains. This type of shoemark examination poses significant problems to an expert given the inherent difficulties of matching marks on an elastic medium such as skin. Indeed in many cases encountered by Bericon, Prosecution experts have been asked to comment on the degree of impact that may have been needed to cause the skin markings i.e. was the person kicked, stamped or trodden on. Whilst this may be an entirely reasonable question, it its practically impossible for any expert to offer a definitive view.


Whatever the crime and whatever the surface, SOCO’s will either photograph the mark, take a lift of it or make a plaster cast and submit it for expert assessment and comparison with footwear taken from a suspect.

Given the plethora of shoe types, the reporting scientist is often able to form an association between items and this type of evidence is particularly straightforward to present to a lay scientific audience. Indeed on many occasions a definite association cane be formed between shoe and mark. In fact, this type of evidence is one of very few where the expert can form a conclusive association. Indeed the power of shoemark evidence is still often overlooked in criminal investigations.

Bericon offers expert scrutiny of this work type and provides reports which independently assess the significance of shoe pattern and whether the footwear does bear those critical unique identifying features, which can often prove vital in criminal investigations.

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Due to Dr Short preparing a report on DNA at short notice our client was found not guilty of a serious sexual offence
David Hay, Abraham Solicitors