Forensic and Crime Science Society Hosts Student-Led Conference

On the 21st March 2018, the Forensic and Crime Science Society organised and hosted a Student Led Conference. The aim of the conference was to promote and encourage students to showcase their own research and to develop their skills, whilst inspiring other students to do the same.

The event was formally opened with a welcome talk by Dr Sean Curley, Dean for the School of Law, Policing and Forensics. Dr Curley greeted the students and their student colleagues; also in attendance at the conference were representatives from the staff of Staffordshire University, as well as invited guests and experts.

Dr Sean Curley, Dean of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, opened the event

After the first round of presentations by students and guest speakers, a special lunch and poster presentation was provided. This gave further opportunities for everyone involved in the conference to discuss the presentations and to provide a vital networking opportunity for the student and staff in attendance.

Dominic Davis- Foster: developing a system for identifying the brand of ammunition from gun-shot residue.

Kurstie Burgess, a past student, gave her talk on crime scene reconstruction and shared some employability advice.

Sophena’s research examines how individuals view injury maps in court and explores a move to an interactive viewing format, using participants.

Nadine’s final year research focuses on extracting data from Fitbit devices for use as evidence in forensic investigation. It also features in the Journal of the Crime Sciences – CSEye.

Alice presented her research on using images to develop a method using RGB values for identification & quantify fibres.

Lauren presented her research on disarticulated remains.

Well done to all of the students involved and a huge thank you to our guest speakers and visitors who attended.

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

Some of our Forensic students represented the Criminal Justice and Forensics department at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, held at the University of Sheffield. Each student presented their own research over the two days, 12th-13th April.

A presentation on the Analysis of Corrosive Chemicals on Clothing by Tasmin Crompton

Dominic Davis-Foster presented his research on Identifying the Brand of Ammunition from GSR

Afsane Kruszelnicki talked about her research into Persistence of Fibres in Underwater Crime Scenes

Shauna Richardson talked about Modern Slavery

Sarah Hedges presented her research into The Impact Menstruation has on Semen Persistence in Sexual Offences Cases

Adeniyi Popoola presented his poster on Use of ESLA to Retrieve Fibres from Different Surfaces

Natalie Goswell presented her research on investigating whether Contextual and Emotional Bias Influences the Interpretation of Bloodstains

Nadia discussed her research Investigating & Quantifying the Amount of GSR Recovered from a Variety of Interior Car Surfaces

Jade Chapman presented her poster on Identifying & Validating Techniques for Detecting Heroin in Porous Objects

Liss Chadwick presented her poster: An investigative approach of easily-accessible chemicals on porcine bone as a means of understanding their destructive potential 

Renniel Pena presented his poster on Comparative Analysis of Bloodstain Aging Between Animal Blood and Human Blood


Innovation Through Collaboration: INTREPID Conference 2018

The Staffordshire Forensic Partnership (SFP) was invited to participate in the 2018 INTREPID conference, entitled ‘Innovation through Collaboration’ held in Leicester on 1st-2nd March 2018.    

The two-day event, jointly run by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, was well attended by delegates from all over the country including Police Scotland, which considering this was during the heavy snow was quite impressive. Though Senior Sergeant Duncan McCarthy from the Queensland Police Service won the prize for the furthest travelled.

Dr Claire Gwinnett

We took three students, Sophie Hartless (PhD student), Jessica Dunne (3rd year student) and Jonathan Andrews (3rd year student), who presented posters on their work as part of the SFP.

Left to right: Jessica Dunne, Sophie Hartless and Johnathan Andrews

Jessica won 1st prize for her poster on ‘Recovery of DNA from Aluminium Powder Fingerprint Tape Lifts Using DNA-17’.  Stuart Bell (Staffordshire Police) and David Flatman-Fairs (Staffordshire University) also gave an oral presentation entitled ‘Staffordshire Forensic Partnership: Past, Present and Future’ on the second day.

Jessica Dunne with her certificate

Modern Slavery and International Law

Elizabeth Faulkner, Staffordshire University Law Lecturer, attended two conference events during January. The first event focused on ‘Modern Slavery’ and the second on ‘International Law’ – during which she was able to present aspects of her own research. 

January 23rd 2018, King’s College, London – The Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, Prof. Joel Quirk, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

This was a rather exciting event for me to attend, having read the works of Prof. Joel Quirk whilst undertaking my doctoral research. The talk was chaired by Associate Prof. Sam Okyere (University of Nottingham) and together they form part of the team from Beyond Trafficking Slavery BTS. The uniqueness of BTS is that it links academic research with journalism, attracting over a million readers globally. BTS encompasses a relatively niche school of thought in terms of contemporary discussions of slavery, labour and exploitation.

Joel Quirk delivered his talk upon the ‘Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, which was incredibly interesting as he illustrated links between the statistics that I had not considered. The talk essentially drew together my preconceived ideas and provided them with clarity and support. Definitely worth the trip to King’s College, London. One of the highlights of the day was exchanging stories of strange encounters overseas whilst undertaking research with Joel and Sam, on route to Five Guys for food!

January 31st 2018 – The Neglected Methodologies of International Law: Empirical, Socio-Legal and Comparative

This event was truly unique in terms of content, organised by Rossana Deplano and Paolo Vargiu (University of Leicester). The format for the day was split into two panels and a series of simultaneous panels. The two panels namely, Panel 1 – Empirical and Socio-Legal and Panel 2 – Comparative and Critical Approaches, offered a wealth of information.


Presentations included:

The epistemological need or socio-legal research in international law’ (Prof. Fiona De Londras, University of Birmingham.

‘From preserving sovereignty to protecting humanity: the untold story of the numbers behind the UN Security Council’s practice’ (Dr Rossana Deplano, University of Leicester).

‘Doing it differently? Pluralising International Economic Law Scholarship’ (Dr Celine Tan, University of Warwick).

The final session of the day provided the opportunity for early career academics to present their research, and the methodology behind the project, to a small group of peers, chaired by two more senior academics. My panel included Mikolaj Firlej (University of Oxford) and Alice Margaria (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and it was chaired by Dr Celine Tan (University of Warwick) and Dr Richard Craven (University of Leicester). I discussed my abstract entitled ‘A critique of the historical evolution of the international legal responses to the trafficking of children’. Celine suggested that I should undertake archival research in Geneva as I would uncover a wealth of resources, referring back to her own experiences in Washington D.C when none of the sources were available electronically.

The workshop provided a great networking opportunity and the organiser Dr Rosanna Deplano intends to develop a book proposal of an edited collection of the papers presented, including my own!

2017 Highlights from the Analytical Lab

Simon Cooper and Alison Davidson have been awarded £1146 by the Royal Society of Chemistry Research Fund for the “Evaluation of the use of MonoTrap sampling technology for the recovery and analysis of biological contaminants in water supplies”.

Professor John Cassella (left) and Dr Alison Davidson (right) with students, Richard Price and Abbie Renwick

The Burial Research Group led by Professor John Cassella has been going from strength-to-strength this year with great work from our undergraduates and interns. Ting Ting Chu who interned here last semester has won 2nd place for a Student Poster Prize at the recent BAHID conference.

The (student) Burial Research Group

Alison Davidson completed her PhD this year and graduated in July; she has co-authored three papers which have been submitted to journals. Simon Cooper is now starting his PhD and Alison Davidson and John Cassella are co-supervising him.

Dr Alison Davidson at Graduation in July

Tuesday 19th December saw our first, live Chemistry Christmas Cracker Event hosted by Dr Jodie Dunnett and Dr Alison Davidson.

Alison and Jodie

Jodie, Course Leader for Chemistry, demonstrated ‘Making Silver Nitrate Baubles’, ‘Colouring Christmas Baubles using Poinsettia Colour Indicator’ and ‘Making Fake Snow’.

Dr Jodie Dunnett with her Chemistree

Alison, our Technical Skills Specialist, showed us some specialised analytical chemistry equipment, investigated the ‘Smell of Christmas Trees’ and ‘A Toxic Victorian Christmas’.

Dr Alison Davidson investigating ‘A Toxic Vicorian Christmas’

If you missed the live event, you can still watch the video on Facebook.






Teaching E.U. Law After Brexit (Conference)

Aidan Flynn, Law Lecturer at Staffordshire University, recently attended a conference at London South Bank University, titled ‘Teaching E.U. Law after Brexit and After Changes to Legal Training.’

London South Bank University Law Division advertised the conference as focusing “on the impact on the teaching of EU law as a result of Brexit and changes to professional training for Solicitors and the Bar”.

Speakers included David Hodson, Partner at iFLG (international Family Law Group LLP), and Simon James, Partner at Clifford Chance.

Aidan Flynn (centre) with David Hodson (left) and Simon Jones (right)