Evidence from forensic pathology analysis

Experts from the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit (EMFPU), based at the University of Leicester, and the Department of Engineering, conducted a radiological examination of the human remains.

The group, led by EMFPU chief forensic pathologist Professor Guy Rutty, aimed to help identify the remains - as well as to determine the cause of the individual’s death.

Forensic pathology
Forensic pathology analysis

The group found:

• The dental evidence suggests the individual was 35, while bone evidence suggests he was 30 to 39

• There are multiple estimates for his height ranging from 5ft 3 to 6 foot - with the means for each calculation ranging from 5 ft 7 to 5 ft 9

• He was white

• The cause of death - on a balance of probabilities - has been given as a head injury, with the proviso that the remains would only show injuries to the bone and not other organs. For instance, he could have been stabbed in the heart and there would be no mark on the skeleton

• The pelvic injury was potentially fatal depending upon when it was inflicted - which cannot be determined from a skeleton. However, history suggests he died from a head injury and not pelvic injury

• The individual had also sustained non-fatal injuries to the head and one rib
Professor Guy Rutty said:

“We used computed tomography (CT) scanning to look at the bones and determine the age, stature and ethnicity of the individual.

“We also used the CT to also look at the injuries, natural disease and aging of the individual. It was very important to our work. It was the best bone CT we have ever done.

“There are potentially fatal injuries to his head – and we won’t dispute the possibility that it was one of these wounds that killed him.

“There are also a number of other injuries to his head as well as an injury to his rib cage and injury to his pelvis which were not fatal and may be post mortem.”

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, an expert in tool mark analysis, Professor of Materials Engineering at the University’s Department of Engineering and forensic engineer at the EMFPU, carried out micro-computed X-ray tomography (micro-CT) scanning on the skull.

This was critical in helping to determine the types of weapon that were used to create the injuries as the resolution of the images shows detail that helps us to interpret the way in which the damage was inflicted. 

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