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New Forensic Science lecturer to launch experiments at university's 'body farm'

body farm

Wrexham Glyndwr University’s new forensic lecturer plans to launch new ‘body farm’ experiments.

Amy Rattenbury joined the institution last week to take up her post as forensic science lecturer and has vowed to launch new experiments at the university’s ‘body farm’.

The facility, based in woods near the Wrexham campus, explores the ways in which animal remains decompose. Amy and her third year students on the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science course will monitor corpses and measure how they decay in different settings and temperatures.

The group will be using pig carcasses and smaller animals but their findings will be comparable with those of human remains.

Amy, an active member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologist, said: “I specialise in decomposition and the search, recovery and identification of human remains. The facilities here at the university are great, I can research and explore experiments that really interest me.

“The body farm is the first of its kind in Wales and there’s very few in the whole of the UK. In America forensic scientists use human remains but it is still illegal in the UK, so we are still quite behind on the research.”

The bodies are placed in a variety of areas; some will be buried in shallow graves, inside bags or hung up, and then left to rot while being monitored for decay.

Amy, who studied Forensic Biology at Staffordshire University and an MSc in Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Investigation at Bradford University, said: “We will look at how the surroundings affect decomposition, as usually a body is buried in a coffin, so we look at how this changes the way a human decomposes. The remains put in trees will be used to look at decomposition for scenarios such as air disasters and hangings.”

Prior to joining Glyndwr University in 2016 she was a Programme Leader on a BSc (Hons) in Criminology and Forensic Investigation at the University Centre Southend.

Amy’s previous research has looked in to ‘How time and pressure can cause distortion in overlapping fingerprints’, ‘Modified weapons trafficking’ and ‘An investigation in to identification from light air crashes on the Russian-Finnish boarder’.

Her current focus is in the area of forensic taphonomy and more specifically the impact of decomposition on identification techniques, but she also has broader interests in cold case review, buried and concealed evidence and forensic pathology.

For more information on the BSc (Hons) Forensic Course click here.

 

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