Various methods have been created to help determine researchers and forensic practitioners estimate an accurate post-mortem interval. However, most of these scales were devised in hot and humid environments, which unfortunately are not comparable to the conditions we see in the UK. It is well researched and understood that higher temperatures and humidity speed up the rate of decomposition, making these scales very difficult to implement in studies carried out in the UK. Many researchers have also pointed out the subjectivity of the scales and how individuals may apply the scales differently due to the brief nature of the descriptions used in the scoring systems.
However, although subjective these scales are hugely important when it comes to murder investigations. Without the knowledge to accurately estimate the time which has passed since death many cases would be left unsolved. Knowing this vital information can whittle down suspect pools by determining if a suspected perpetrator has an alibi for the estimated time of death. A scale that is easier to implement should be considered a worthwhile research project as it could have a positive impact on research in the UK, as well as the criminal justice system.
• To develop a more reliable way of scoring cadaver decomposition in the UK.
• To determine the reliability of the scale when used by students and professionals.
• To gain a better understanding of the uses and benefits of 3D technologies in decomposition studies.
• To create an open-access database of images and 3D models to be used in the teaching and research of decomposition studies.
Why is this project Important?
This project is important because an accurate estimation of time since death aids in homicide investigations. Being able to accurately estimate an accurate post-mortem interval (time since death) could mean the difference between the conviction of a perpetrator or a miscarriage of justice.
This study aims to provide the first subjective scoring system concerning land burials which will have been created in the UK. The study plans to determine the reliability of the newly created scale. The study may also determine the difference in reliability when using 3D scans to assign scores to the cadavers, as opposed to photographs. It is hoped that an online open-access database of 3D models and photographs will be produced and be accessible by students and educators to be used as a teaching resource and research tool.
To get the project started, the following are required:
• 5-in-1 Weather Station
• Wire Mesh Cages
• Whole cadavers
• Consumables (i.e. PPE)
Totalling approximately £500
To fund the whole project approximately £2,000 is required. Anything over the initial goal will be put towards equipment such as:
• Webhosting and a domain name
• Required licences (i.e. Canvsio 3D and Skanect Pro)
• A DSLR
• Additional project-specific consumables
Paige is a PhD student and Sessional Lecturer at Wrexham Glyndwr University. Her main research interests are in Forensic Taphonomy. During her undergraduate studies, she ran a successful CrowdFunding Campaign on Crowd.Science where she looked at the effects of body size on the rate of cadaver decomposition. This project later went on to win the Delegates Choice Award at the British Association for Forensic Anthropology’s Virtual Poster Conference held in July. Her efforts were also recognised by her programme team who nominated her for the Rising Star Award at the inaugural Wales STEM Awards, which she was later chosen to be 1 of 3 finalists.
To thank you for your support
Thank you for supporting this project, each and every contribution is greatly appreciated.
Pledge £5 – You are invited to follow any progress via the social media channels identified above.
Pledge £10 – You will receive an email personally thanking you for your contribution, as well as the above.
Pledge £20 – You will receive a shout out on the projects social media platforms thanking you for your support in the project, as well as all the above.
Pledge £50 – You will be acknowledged by name as one of the funding contributors, as well as all the above.
Pledge £100 – You will receive a virtual tour of the taphonomic research facility, as well as all the above.
Pledge £500 – You will be invited to have a 1 to 1 video meeting with me to discuss the results of the project, as well as all the above.