chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

In 2007, Jack 1 was detained by the Metropolitan Police. An intelligence-gathering operation had revealed that Jack had been using a website with images of child sexual abuse. Jack’s home was searched and the police found a number of digital memory cards containing further images. Notably, most of these displayed South East Asian girls and it was discovered that Jack had travelled to Thailand twice between 2002 and 2004. The images, however, only showed the hands of a white man violating the girls and the police had no direct means to attribute this abuse to Jack. Questions remained whether Jack was guilty only of the distribution of indecent images or whether he had sexually abused children himself. In response to this ambiguity, the police involved the Centre of Anatomy and Human Identifi cation at the University of Dundee in the case. Members of the Centre developed an innovative forensic technique that made it possible to match skin patterns on Jack’s hands against those shown in the photographs. Researchers examined, for example, the location of scars, knuckle skin creases, freckle patterns and the morphology of nail beds. The result was a convincing match between the studied pictures and Jack’s hands. The following pictures (Black et al. 2009) display examples of this analytic procedure. Jack was prosecuted under the ‘sex tourist provision’ of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. He was jailed for six years and will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the remainder of his life.