The availability of a wide range of natural and synthetic fibres, coupled with significant advances in analytical techniques that can be applied to very small fibres, means that textile fibre examinations have become an important and specialised part of forensic casework.
Textile fibre examination can provide evidence when other evidence types may not be able to assist or are of limited value. In some cases, it can also assist in drawing conclusions about contact that has occurred, how the contact was made, and how recently that contact took place.
Textile fibre evidence is often used in isolation as the sole evidence type. However, it can be extremely useful in more complex cases, when it is used in conjunction with other evidence types e.g. damage assessment.
The forensic scientist is frequently asked to form an opinion of the nature of damage to clothing. Is the damage from a cutting or a tearing action? Is it from a cut, a stab or a slash? What type of implement(s) may have caused the damage, and is the damage recent?
Cellmark’s scientists are able to recognise what is 'in-place' and 'out of place' in order to make sense of what has been observed in the context of a crime investigation. Any damage feature is assessed in light of the overall condition of the garment or fabric surface in question.