A quantitative assessment of the extent and distribution of textile fibre transfer to persons involved in physical assault

Kelly J. Sheridan*, Ray Palmer, David A. Chalton, Jariel N. Bacar, Jack Beckett, Kieran Bellerby, Lucy Brown, Emily Donaghy, Alexander Finlayson, Cameron Graham, Beth Robertson, Lauren Taylor, Matteo D. Gallidabino

*Corresponding author for this work

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Knowledge of the number of fibres transferred during a particular activity is essential for the interpretation of findings in similar criminal cases. In this regard, violent contacts and physical assaults still present a challenge, due to a lack of robust published data. Hereby, we present the outcome of an empirical study where different assault activities were simulated by a Jiu Jitsu team and participants were asked to play either the role of an aggressive ‘assailant’ or a defensive ‘victim’, wearing cotton garments (i.e., Gi's). Four different scenarios were simulated in replicates (n = 5), each of them involving different intensity levels (low and high) and duration times (30 and 60 s). Results showed that approximately 1,000 to 44,000 fibres were cross-transferred between the participants’ garments, with noticeable differences between the different scenarios. These values were significantly larger than those published in previous studies and, therefore, suggested the possibility of a current underestimation of the number of fibres transferred in physical assaults. Furthermore, statistical analysis by ANOVA indicated that the all the variables tested (i.e., intensity level, duration time, and participants role) had a significant effect on the number of transferred fibres (p < 0.001) and, consequently, that some knowledge of the case circumstances may be important to make more educated estimations. This is the first time that such a methodology has been applied for the quantitative assessment of fibre transfer between participants in assault activities. Data are expected to help practitioners with the interpretation of findings in real casework and lead to a more robust evidential assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
JournalScience & Justice
Issue number4
Early online date12 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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