Effect of decomposition on clothing damage evidence: A preliminary study

Esta Bostock, Gareth Parkes, Graham Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Textiles are generally present when a crime takes place and, in some cases, may be directly linked to a crime. Due to changes that occur to fabric over time, there is a risk of clothing damage being misinterpreted, and vital evidence being missed. This study is the first of a number of studies exploring the effect of decomposition upon clothing damage evidence following a stabbing. Sections of porcine tissue were wrapped in fabric in which stab cuts had been created, and left exposed to the environment alongside negative controls. Images of the damage were taken before and after a period of decomposition over two weeks. When compared to the negative controls, these images clearly demonstrated that there was a significant amount of alteration to the clothing damage evidence e.g. loose and fraying yarns, following a period of decomposition. Quantification of the fraying to the damage showed a statistically significant increase of the amount of fraying (p=<0.05)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalCrime, Security and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018


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