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Students get hands-on with Bloodstain Pattern Analysis expert from Forensic Science SA

Published: 31 Jul 2017

Last week two third year students from the Bachelor of Forensics Science, majoring in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis participated in a hands-on three day workshop with a leading forensics expert at CIT's custom built crime scene investigation facility at CIT Bruce.

Ted Silenieks from Forensic Science SA in Adelaide South Australia came to CIT to work directly with Paris Jones and Charlotte Welden, who are the only two of nine students in the course completing their majors in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA).

Ted has been working with the Paris and Charlotte throughout their research majors, mostly via emails where he offers advice based on his knowledge, experience, past case studies and evidence from cases he's worked on as examples of real life scenarios.

With Ted on deck in the CIT Crime Scene House, the students were able to put their theory and learned skills into practice, with Ted showing them hands-on processes and practical application methods. The difference between the theory and the hands-on has huge implications on their future careers, with students being able to draw on their studies and experience with Ted on real forensics cases.

"Working with a professional you get that hands-on experience and first-hand knowledge from them - rather than reading from a text book or online. It’s also the most recent information in the field, rather than an outdated text book." Charlotte explained. "In this industry, technology is changing rapidly and you need to make sure you’re drawing on practice that's current… there are so many implications if something goes wrong".

Charlotte is researching "micro-characteristics in two different blood stains; spatter and transfer". With a focus on clothing fabrics, Ted workshopped with Charlotte in the Crime Scene House, differentiating spatter from direct and lateral transfer stains to identify the deposition mechanism. The implications of her findings could identify if a person was an assailant rather than someone who may have been innocently trying to help a victim, with significant implications on a body of evidence.

Paris is the winner of the Daniel Rahn Memorial Grant from the International Association of Blood Pattern Analysists (IABPA) for her work investigating "the preponderance of impact spatter on an assailant caused by different impact mechanisms", looking at types of weapon and related blood spatter patterns. Her Grant includes flights and expenses for her to attend the IABPA Training Conference in Los Angeles in September. With Ted's guidance in the Crime Scene House, Paris is building her evidence into a presentation which she will give at the IABPA Conference, offering her findings which will then also be published in the IABPA's journal.

Ted has a wealth of experience to offer his students, having worked for Forensic Science SA for over 30 years. He comes from an extensive background in the field, specialising in laboratory based BPA: examining clothing for not only bloodstain evidence, but also biological evidence,  fibres, gunshot residue, glass and other forensic evidence. BPA became Ted’s field of expertise in the early 2000s and after completing  his Bachelor in Forensic Science with CIT in 2010, he has gone on to develop an international reputation as a world leader in the assessment of bloodstain evidence on clothing.

Ted has returned to help the new generation of scientists, offering his BPA knowledge and skills to his students both at CIT, nationally and abroad.

CIT would like to express our gratitude to Ted for his dedication to passing on his expertise, and express our sincere thanks to Forensic Science SA for supporting Ted's visit to CIT.