I graduated with BSc(Hons) in physics from Edinburgh University in 1976 and DPhil from the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University in 1979. My doctoral work there utilised ENDOR spectroscopy to study atomic magnetism in solids. I then worked for seven years at Unilever Research, Port Sunlight Laboratory, in the area of x-ray scattering (both small and wide angle) from a wide range of materials from minerals to micellar systems.

A transition back to academic work followed through a lectureship in physics at Staffordshire University where I became head of physics in 1995, then head of natural sciences (chemistry, geology and physics) in 1998. In this role I led the initial development of forensic science degrees at Staffordshire.

In 2001 I joined the academic staff at Keele where I was director of undergraduate studies in physics before committing myself principally to forensic science from 2004. I was the course director for forensic science from to 2012 - 2015. I retired in 2020 and am now an honorary university fellow.

I have written two textbooks, both for Wiley: Essential Mathematics and Statistics for Forensic Science was published in 2010 and Forensic Evidence in Court: Evaluation and Scientific Opinion in 2016. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Research and scholarship

My original core areas of expertise which lie at the interface between physics and chemistry, are crystallography, materials characterisation, diffraction and spectroscopy, computational physics and simulation. Over the past ten years or so, the focus of my interests has moved into four distinct application areas within the broad remit of forensic science.

I have developed expertise in the chemical analytical characterisation of forensic evidence and the subsequent application of multivariate statistics to discriminate and individualise forensic materials. More specifically this has included publications on the spectroscopy of inks with a view to establishing the discrimination power of different techniques.

Secondly, I have published studies of the fundamental mechanisms underlying the formation of blood droplets on weapon tips and the subsequent formation of bloodstains formed from such droplets falling under gravity. Of particular interest are the observable characteristics of these stains and how these are quantitatively related to the impact parameters such as droplet volume, velocity and impact angle.

Thirdly, I have collaborated with colleagues within chemical ecology at Keele, contributing to the statistical analysis of chromatographic data from blowfly cuticle. These studies have linked the life-cycle development of such insects to the chemical changes within the hydrocarbon components within the cuticle thus providing a potential analytical method for measuring the PMI where blowfly eggs are laid on recently deceased remains.

Finally, I also have a strong and ongoing interest in the scholarship underpinning the evaluation of forensic evidence, in particular by Bayesian inference, and more general issues within the presentation of forensic evidence to the court. This interest has resulted in the publication of my book Forensic Evidence in Court: Evaluation and Scientific Opinion in 2016.


Level 6

  • CHE-30028 Interpretation, Presentation and Evaluation of Evidence
  • CHE-30033 Evaluation of Evidence; Explosives and Arson
  • CHE-30035 Advanced Topics in Forensic Analysis

Level 7

  • CHE-40025 At the Crime Scene and in the Court


School address

Lennard-Jones School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Lennard-Jones Building
Keele University
Phone (School Office): +44 (0)1782 733033, (Chemistry): +44 (0)1782 731693, (Forensic Science): +44 (0)1782 731694, (Physics): +44 (0)1782 733527

Information for schools and colleges

Contact us about our workshops and lecture series

Programme directors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Tess Phillips
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733038
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Dr Chris Hawes
Tel : +44 (0)1782 732820
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Forensic Science
Dr Jamie K. Pringle
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733163
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Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Arumugam Mahendrasingam
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733312
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Admission tutors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Natalie Capel
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733584
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Forensic Science
Dr Natalie Capel
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733584
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Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Patrick Connell
Tel : +44 (0)1782 733892
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