On a knife edge: A preliminary investigation of clothing damage using rounded-tip knives

Leisa Drew-Nichols, Rachel Armitage, Robert Hillman, Kelly Sheridan, Kevin Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Bladed weapons are frequently encountered in violent crime offences including street based and armed robberies, murder, sexual assaults and terrorism.A study was conducted involving four frequently encountered clothing fabrics: t-shirt (knitted cotton), denim jeans (twill woven cotton), long sleeved top (knitted synthetic blend), and skirt (non-woven faux leather) and five knives to investigate any damage resulting from a downward stabbing motion, with 300 stabs in total. Any resultant penetrating severance damage was then photographed, measured and analysed. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences between the stab hole size and shape, as a consequence of the design of a bladed weapon (in particular, the tip shape) that caused it. There is a notable correlation between the Assure knife (rounded tip) and no resulting severance damage, as the fabric surfaces were not breached with this knife. This suggests a clear alternative to pointed tip knife blades. These findings will be of interest to investigators of knife crime offences, crime-reduction units, knife manufacturers and practitioners, who share the goal of identifying a safer alternative to conventional knife blade design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Justice - Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Issue number6
Early online date15 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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