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08 April 14

CCTV Plays a Major Part in Rape Case

CCTV Analysis plays pivotal role in Attempted Rape Case

A Defendant had been charged with the attempted rape of a young female in London. At the time of the alleged attack, the Defendant had been visiting London with a colleague whilst on leave from the Foreign Legion.

The young female victim had been attacked and knocked to the ground whilst out jogging near to her home in North West London. Her attacker sexually assaulted her and fortunately, his attempt to rape her was prevented by a passer-by who chased the attacker from the scene.

The Defendant was arrested a short time later in a nearby street. The Defendant was positively identified as the attacker by the victim and by the witness who had chased him from the scene. Police enquiries established the existence of CCTV footage which, whilst of relatively poor quality, showed a male of similar appearance and wearing similar clothing as the Defendant, running from the crime scene.

The Defendant vehemently denied the allegations stating that the offender must have been his friend who was also in the area at the time of the alleged offence. Police enquiries failed to trace the defendant’s colleague. The defendant was remanded in custody awaiting trial on charges of attempted rape and sexual assault.

The Defence team submitted the CCTV evidence to Key Forensic Services for detailed analysis and the case was assigned to Steve Lamb, a Reporting Manager within Key Forensic’s highly successful Digital Forensic Unit. At first glance, the CCTV appeared to support the Prosecution assertion that the male seen running from the crime scene was very similar in appearance to the defendant.

Using the very latest forensic analysis equipment and techniques, very minor differences in style and design of the white training shoes worn by the attacker and those seized from the Defendant at the time of his arrest were established. Although the differences were minor, they were sufficient to establish that the shoes worn by the attacker seen running from the crime scene could not be the same as those recovered from the Defendant at the time of his arrest.

During the trial, the victim stated that she could not be certain that the defendant was her attacker and the witness who had chased the attacker from the scene admitted that he had lost sight of the attacker for some time between the crime scene and the location of the defendant’s arrest.

The new evidence in relation to the differences in the shoes prompted the Metropolitan Police to initiate further enquiries and established that the defendant’s colleague (who had also been wearing similar clothing) had left the United Kingdom shortly after this incident and had since been arrested in France for a similar offence using the same modus operandi. The Defendant in this case was acquitted.

The CCTV camera can be likened to the perfect witness; it has no pre-conceived ideas, no biases, a perfect memory which is not subject to influence post-event and records all that unfolds before it in a dispassionate and accurate manner. All it requires is a highly skilled and experienced Forensic Analyst to interrogate it!


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