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Distinguishing between damage to clothing as a result of normal wear and tear or as a result of deliberate damage: a sexual assault case study.

Research paper by Dyan J DJ Daly, Marce A MA Lee-Gorman, Jennifer J Ryan

Indexed on: 30 Jan '09Published on: 30 Jan '09Published in: Journal of Forensic Sciences



Abstract

This paper focuses on bra damage, specifically damage observed in hook and eye fasteners that are generally located at the backstraps of bras. We describe bra design including the method by which hook and eye fasteners are generally constructed. We assess bra damage in two situations where the damage observed was unexpected given the case scenarios. These were: (i) the complainant of an alleged rape attributed damage to her bra hooks to force during a struggle and (ii) the complainant had earlier manipulated her bra hooks in an incident not related to her complaint. Steriomicroscopy and reconstruction experimentation were necessarily used to assess the bra damage. A systematic approach to damage analysis was employed by the forensic practitioners to correctly identify damage as being a result of mechanical manipulation and therefore as falsified. This paper suggests that more examples of falsified damage should be documented.