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Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story

Gabriel Weston investigates the world of the forensic scientist and the murders they've helped to solve.

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Gabriel Weston holding skull of Joan Wolfe Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Tom Hayward - BBC In the act of murder there is a weapon, a crime scene and a body - all vital evidence in the hunt for the killer. In this series surgeon and writer Gabriel Weston investigates the world of the forensic scientist and the murders they’ve helped to solve. She explores the cases that proved pivotal to the advancement of forensic science and she reveals the cutting edge technology that’s keeping the detective one step ahead of the criminal. Today, from just a few cells, the face of a suspect can be constructed – a process called molecular photo fitting and we find out how a tiny sample of soil can pinpoint where a murder took place.

The first episode of Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story airs on BBC Four on Thursday 18th June 2015 at 9.00pm.. Full broadcast details and watch again links can be found on bbc.co.uk

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Episode guide

Instruments Of Murder

Image of Gabriel Weston firing a gun. Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Tom Hayward - BBC Gabriel Weston firing an old style Webley revolver. This make of gun was central to the shooting of a police officer in 1927. This case gave birth to the science of ballistics. In the final episode of Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story we look at four weapons that are used to kill but not all of them are obvious. Poison and the case of Marie Lafarge 1840, ballistics and the jockey cap killer of PC Gutteridge 1927. We also examine how the rule book for fire investigation had to be re written after the suspected arson case of Gerald Lewis in Florida 1990. Finally the stabbing of Joan Pearl Wolfe at the hands of her soldier boyfriend in 1943. We look at how examination of the marks left behind on the body identified the knife used in the attack and led directly to the killer.

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Instruments Of Murder The key piece of evidence that detectives are desperate to find is the murder weapon. Read more
Traces Of Guilt As Gabriel Weston discovers: every contact leaves a trace... Read more
A Question Of Identity The story of criminality is the story of identity. Read more