Monday, 23 March 2009

Madeleine McCann: Does the new DNA test bring new hope of a solution?


"New DNA test gives cold case hope

Forensic scientists say they are excited about the new technique

A new technique which can decipher previously unintelligible DNA samples has been made available to all police forces in England and Wales.

The Forensic Science Service (FSS) said the DNAboost method might shed light on "many thousands" of unsolved cases.

It allows scientists to obtain individual DNA profiles from crime scenes which contain a mix of genetic material from several people.

But some experts have warned that it could lead to miscarriages of justice.

During the pilot, DNAboost was used on about 2,000 samples in four police forces - Humberside, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire.

The FSS said it helped police to identify suspects and build evidence for cases, and was now "fit for purpose" to be used by all forces."

Now "fit for purpose? Well, if the FSS has managed to hang onto the samples from the vehicle the McCanns rented over three weeks after their daughter disappeared, perhaps the scientists could not revisit those samples and using this new technique, separate the DNA of individuals in the mix they said contained the DNA of at least three people.

From an article posted on Enfants Kidnappés, August 5th, 2008:

My Big Desk Archives August 2008

"That confirmation arrives with the first report of analyses which states that 15 out of 19 DNA markers belong to Madeleine. That's all the police need. The evidence is there. Obvious. The first report of the analyses proves the parents' guilt in the eyes of the investigators. This report would be considered as irrefutable proof by, I believe, all the police. From then on the parents were placed, logically, under the specific status of, "arguidos." Of course, an error rate of 1 in a billion is not a 100% profile, in that Clarence Mitchell is right. Then, afterwards, comes a thunderbolt.* A second report from FSS arrives and totally contradicts the first. Also ruining the evidence the police thought they had. According to this report, the harvested samples would have been contaminated, making them very unreliable in the end. Several DNAs would have been mixed, creating the DNA of anyone!"

Come on FSS, dig out those samples and use this technique, which you are claiming is reliable enough to be used by police forces, now being, as I repeat, "fit for purpose."

If you read the post from Enfants Kidnappés, you will see that there were two conflicting reports from FSS: the first report appeared to state that Madeleine McCann's DNA had definitely been identified in the samples from the hired car; the second report stated that the samples were contaminated with the DNA of several people, thus making the results unreliable. Perhaps this new technique can now be used to render the results more reliable and thus add weight to the alerts given by the "Advanced Human Remains Recovery Dog," Eddie, who signalled the presence of cadaverine, the odour given off by a human corpse, in the McCanns' hired car.

I do recall reading that the samples could not be sent to another lab for testing, though, because they had been lost or destroyed by the FSS. This is the same organisation which mislaid samples which kept an innocent man in prison for ten years longer than he needed to be there. So, I don't hold out much hope here. Perhaps the police should go in there with a search warrant if FSS can't locate those samples. Send in the cops! That lab in Birmingham is hardly fit for purpose if it keeps losing samples in important criminal cases.

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