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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Expert could wrong foot suspects
Bill Kerr
Podiatric evidence could help the work of crime scene investigators
Footprints could be used to provide evidence in legal proceedings for the first time in Scotland.

A podiatry expert from Edinburgh has just completed eight years of research into footprints and is offering his services to detectives.

Bill Kerr, of Queen Margaret University College, has found a way to calculate the weight and height of an individual from their footprint analysis.

He said some experts were already giving evidence in English courts.

Mr Kerr's research used computer software to analyse differences in foot shapes including measurements relating to lengths, angles and indices.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Kerr said prints from bare feet and the wear marks and patterns on the soles of shoes could help detectives identify a crime suspect.

If such evidence has been lifted from a crime scene and an individual suspect has been apprehended and the two tie together then that is irrefutable
Bill Kerr
Podiatry expert

"There are no two barefoot prints which are the same," he said.

"There are areas on the foot that show details like the ridge patterns found on fingerprints.

"And if you have a shoe print, which you have lifted from a scene, then you can identify the shoe and whether that individual has any deformities or abnormalities."

The podiatry lecturer said he believed justice would be served well with the addition of forensic podiatric evidence.

He said: "If such evidence has been lifted from a crime scene and an individual suspect has been apprehended and the two tie together then that is irrefutable."

Mr Kerr, who has been a podiatrist for 37 years, hopes police forces in Scotland will start drawing on his experience now that his research has been completed.


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