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Palynology and mycology provide separate classes of probative evidence from the same forensic samples: A rape case from southern England

Wiltshire, Patricia E.J., Hawksworth, David L., Webb, Judith A., Edwards, Kevin J.
Forensic science international 2014 v.244 pp. 186-195
crime, forensic sciences, lawns and turf, mycology, palynology, vegetation, women, England
A young woman claimed to have been raped at night in a wooded strip of land 120m from her home. The suspect refuted her claim and said that they had had consensual sexual relations on an area of short turf in a local park, 130m distant from the alleged crime scene. Comparator samples from each place, and clothing and footwear from each party, were obtained for assessment and analysis. All places that were considered to be relevant to the case were visited, and lists of plant species made. Results showed that the palynological and mycological profiles yielded by the footwear and clothing of both parties closely resembled that of the wooded area, but were dissimilar to that of the park. The profile of the wooded site reflected closely its own vegetation. Faced with the evidence, the suspect confessed. The study proves the value of a multi-proxy approach to forensic investigation using exactly the same preparations.