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).


Clothing damage, Knives, Forensic textile, Decomposition, Integrity of evidence

How to Cite
Bostock E. , Parkes G. & Williams G. (2018) “Effect of decomposition on clothing damage evidence: A preliminary study”, Crime Security and Society. 1(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/css.541





Esta Bostock (University of Huddersfield)
Gareth Parkes (University of Huddersfield)

Graham Williams (Staffordshire University)

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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