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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Text messages could solve crimes
Mobile phone
Teams will look at individual styles of texting
Text messages could soon regularly become crucial clues in solving crimes, according to experts from the University of Leicester.

A team of researchers has begun a detailed study into text messaging styles, with the hope their research will help forensic investigations.

Its was prompted after an examination of a text message helped to solve the 2002 murder of Danielle Jones.

It is believed to be the first study of its kind.

Personal styles

Teams will look at individual styles and habits of groups that text each other.

Dr Grant, said: "One feature of text messaging is that it is creative, there are very few rules that people try to obey.

"We don't try to be grammatical or follow ordinary spelling, because of that potential for creativity, there's more potential for variation.

"There's the possibility that one person uses predictive text functions and others use traditional texting abbreviations, so it is possible to spot these differences."

He said the study was inspired by a 2002 case in which lorry driver Stuart Campbell was convicted of murdering his 15-year-old niece, Danielle Jones, after texts sent on the victim's mobile were alleged to be his.

"What was argued in court by the forensic linguist was that the messages from the girl's phone were in the style of the uncle who was trying to text as a teenage girl but there were significant differences in the style and that was able to break his alibi," he added.

Researchers have appealed for members of the public to send their text messages for analysis via the university's website.

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