A new way to track crime scene invaders

London: In a big aid to detectives faced with investigating gruesome crimes, a leading Italian forensic scientist claims to have built up data that may help determine whether marks on a dead body were due to violence or work of insects which moved in after death. Dr Stefano Vanin at University of Huddersfield says that tiny creatures very often can cause lesions to a corpse which closely resemble injuries left by a human assailant. For example, ants which clamber over a dead body’s face can deposit marks which mimic the effects of a punch.

    It is vital that detectives are quickly able to separate post-mortem insect damage from wounds that were caused before death by a killer, he says. Dr Vanin is building up a body of knowledge about the various ways in which insects can distort crime scenes. This time he investigates the damage caused to dead bodies that are found underwater, where they are preyed on by aquatic creatures. It was the retrieval of the body of a 28-year-old man in in Italy, that provided Dr Vanin with the opportunity to add another piece to his jigsaw of knowledge.