Forensic Science Northern Ireland

Carrickfergus, United Kingdom

Forensic Science Northern Ireland

Carrickfergus, United Kingdom
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Cosbey S.H.,Forensic Science Northern Ireland | Peters K.L.,Forensic Science Northern Ireland | Quinn A.,Forensic Science Northern Ireland | Bentley A.,Institute of Forensic Medicine
Journal of Analytical Toxicology | Year: 2013

Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is the beta-keto analogue of 4-methylmethylamphetamine. Before its control in April 2010, it became popular as a legal high in the United Kingdom, displacing methylenedioxymethylamphetamine as the stimulant drug of choice. The drug has stimulant and psychoactive properties, and therefore has forensic significance in criminal and morbid toxicology. The purpose of this study was to survey casework involving the drug (impaired driving and sudden death). The cases were received in the laboratory for analysis between late 2009 and the end of 2010. Analysis of blood samples for mephedrone was conducted by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Routine screening for alcohol and a range of other pharmaceuticals and drugs of abuse was conducted using a combination of enzymelinked immunoassay, gas chromatography (GC) headspace, GC-MS and high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection. Mephedrone was detected in a total of 12 fatal cases. Most of these cases involved death by mechanical means; in two cases, death was attributed directly to mephedrone intoxication (blood concentrations of 2.1 and 1.94 mg/L). Mephedrone was detected in a total of 32 impaired driving cases. Blood concentrations ranged up to 0.74 mg/L (mean 0.21, median 0.10). The casework evidence in this study indicated that recreational use of the drug can produce to blood levels as high as 0.74 mg/L, although the most common value encountered is likely to lie between 0.2 and 0.3 mg/L. © The Author [2013]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Bell S.E.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Stewart S.P.,Queen's University of Belfast | Ho Y.C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Craythorne B.W.,Forensic Science Northern Ireland | Speers S.J.,Forensic Science Northern Ireland
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy | Year: 2013

The ability to discriminate between inks is important for forensic document analysis. Here, Raman spectroscopy (RS) and surface-enhanced RS have been compared to the traditional document examination techniques of video spectral comparison and thin layer chromatography on a population of blue and black-coloured liquid and gel inks. It was found that in most cases, the Raman techniques provided a similar or better discriminating power than the conventional methods. Importantly, this study allowed us to determine whether the same underlying changes in composition were being exploited by the different methods to discriminate between samples. It was found that there was indeed a high degree of commonality in the sample pairs being discriminated by the various techniques. This work can therefore underpin introduction of Raman methods into standard operating procedures for ink analysis since it not only measures the extent of discrimination between samples but can also explain the origin of the spectral changes that are used to distinguish between them. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Jones S.,SPA Forensic Services | Scott K.,SPA Forensic Services | Lewis J.,Cellmark Forensic Services | Davidson G.,United Road Services | And 8 more authors.
Science and Justice | Year: 2016

The UK and Ireland Association of Forensic Science Providers' (AFSP) Body Fluid Forum (BFF) set out to assist in the interpretation of sexual offence cases where semen is absent on vaginal swabs but female DNA is present on penile swabs or male underwear, and the issue to be addressed is whether or not sexual intercourse occurred. This study aims to investigate the frequency and amount of female DNA transferred to the penis and underwear of males following staged nonintimate social contact with females and to compare the findings with the amount of female DNA transferred to the penis and subsequently to the underwear of a male who had engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse with a female. In this study, no matching female DNA was detected on the inside front of the 44 items of male underwear used in this research following staged contact of a nonintimate nature and subsequent secondary transfer to the penis. After sexual intercourse, full profiles matching the female participant were found on the inside front of the males underwear with maximum peak heights in the range between 1898 and 3157 rfu. It was possible to demonstrate that DNA can occasionally transfer to the waistband and outside front of underwear worn by a male following staged nonintimate social contact. Data obtained in this study suggest that a matching female DNA profile below a peak height of 1000 rfu on the waistband of a male's underwear might be explained by nonintimate social contact with secondary transfer of female DNA from the male's hands. © 2015 The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


PubMed | LGC Forensics, Forensic Science Service Ltd, Forensic Science Northern Ireland, SPA Forensic Services and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Science & justice : journal of the Forensic Science Society | Year: 2016

The UK and Ireland Association of Forensic Science Providers (AFSP) Body Fluid Forum (BFF) set out to assist in the interpretation of sexual offence cases where semen is absent on vaginal swabs but female DNA is present on penile swabs or male underwear, and the issue to be addressed is whether or not sexual intercourse occurred. This study aims to investigate the frequency and amount of female DNA transferred to the penis and underwear of males following staged nonintimate social contact with females and to compare the findings with the amount of female DNA transferred to the penis and subsequently to the underwear of a male who had engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse with a female. In this study, no matching female DNA was detected on the inside front of the 44 items of male underwear used in this research following staged contact of a nonintimate nature and subsequent secondary transfer to the penis. After sexual intercourse, full profiles matching the female participant were found on the inside front of the males underwear with maximum peak heights in the range between 1898 and 3157 rfu. It was possible to demonstrate that DNA can occasionally transfer to the waistband and outside front of underwear worn by a male following staged nonintimate social contact. Data obtained in this study suggest that a matching female DNA profile below a peak height of 1000 rfu on the waistband of a males underwear might be explained by nonintimate social contact with secondary transfer of female DNA from the males hands.


Brandt S.D.,Liverpool John Moores University | Baumann M.H.,U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse | Partilla J.S.,U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse | Kavanagh P.V.,St James Hospital | And 12 more authors.
Drug Testing and Analysis | Year: 2014

During the second half of 2013, a total of 26 deaths involving para-methyl-4-methylaminorex (4,4'-DMAR) were reported to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. While aminorex and 4-methylaminorex (4-MAR) are known psychostimulants, nothing is known about the comparatively new para-methyl analog. Analytical characterization of two independent samples obtained from online vendors confirmed the presence of the (±)-cis isomer that also appeared to be associated with at least 18 of the 26 deaths. Extensive characterizations included crystal structure analysis, single, tandem, and high-resolution mass spectrometry, liquid and gas chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. For the work described here, both the (±)-cis and (±)-trans racemates were also synthesized, confirming that the differentiation between these two forms was straight-forward. Monoamine transporter activity was studied using rat brain synaptosomes which included the comparison with d-amphetamine, aminorex and (±)-cis-4-MAR. (±)-cis-4,4'-DMAR was a potent, efficacious substrate-type releaser at transporters for dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin with EC50 values of 8.6±1.1 nM (DAT), 26.9±5.9 nM (NET) and 18.5±2.8 nM (SERT), respectively. The potency of (±)-cis-4,4′-DMAR at DAT and NET rivalled that of other psychomotor stimulant drugs like d-amphetamine and aminorex. However, (±)-cis-4,4′-DMAR had much more potent actions at SERT and activity at SERT varied more than 100-fold across the four drugs. The potent releasing activity of (±)-cis-4,4′-DMAR at all three monoamine transporters predicts a potential for serious side-effects such as psychotic symptoms, agitation, hyperthermia and cardiovascular stimulation, especially after high-dose exposure or following combination with other psychostimulants. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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