e: mike@forensic-knots.uk

01803 212818 (office & fax) 07717 885435 (mobile)


Case History

Some of the more notable investigations that have been carried out over the last few years are now summarised.

  • Homosexual incident - where the victim was bound up in an intricate way; he was robbed and then viciously knifed in the back and left to die.

    Victim knew who his assailant was, but it was required to prove that the assailant had in fact tied the knots. A particularly interesting conclusion was that it was possible to demonstrate that the knots were able to be tied even with a knife held in one hand, as described by the victim. As a result of a successful investigation, this contributed to the accused being convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • Death by misadventure – the case of a professional family man, drowned in underground water tank. Coroner’s verdict: death by misadventure.

    In this case, Mike Lucas was called to the mortuary to attend postmortem. He was asked to examine the bindings and to establish whether it was possible for the deceased to have tied himself up without outside help. There was considerable speculation from the family that this was a carefully contrived murder.

    The deceased was found naked at the bottom of a ten feet deep water tank, face down in some nine inches of water, ankles and wrists bound together with a tight rope going up through an access hole in the ground and attached to a garden roller. Object of the investigation was to determine how the deceased might have got himself into this position and whether it was possible for him to construct the elaborate arrangement of knots in the manner in which they were done.

    After carefully reconstructing the sequence of tying the knots, and establishing with the police that the roller had moved from a previously lodged position, it became clear that the deceased had successfully suspended himself above the water level, but movement of the roller had resulted in the deceased being lowered face down into the water. Attendance at the inquest, where Mike Lucas’s evidence was the main submission, resulted in the Coroner having no doubt that the deceased had not intended to die and the verdict was death by misadventure.

  • Young woman – bound, raped and murdered in Bournemouth.

    This was a case where the police suspected a known criminal, who having been allowed out on parole, had committed this crime. A similar crime had been committed by the suspect some ten years previously, but in this case, the victim was not murdered. Forensic evidence was inconclusive and the police asked Mike Lucas to consider similarities between the manner of tying up the victim and the use of the knots, comparing the second incident with the first. A number of personal knot-tying characteristics were successfully identified, as having occurred in both incidents. As a result of the findings and giving evidence at the trial in Winchester Crown Court, the accused was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • Death of cell-mate in prison

    This was a case where a prisoner was found hanged within the cell and the surviving prisoner was accused of aiding and abetting the suicide. However, careful analysis of the ligature and interviews with the prisoner showed that the form of knot and the manner of tying used, could not have been done by the accused, who was a competent knot-tyer. A formal ‘not guilty’ verdict was recorded and the case did not go to trial. In fact, the ligature was made up with a simple slip knot, but suspended in a manner that it could not tighten as intended.

  • Student hanging in park – suicide?

    Found hanging from a tree in nearby park, this was considered from the outset to be a suicide case. However the hanging took place from a branch of a tree well above the ground and in such a situation that it was considered a second person was possibly involved. Examination of the actual knots used and images of the tree and surrounding area and the sequence in which the knots were tied, confirmed my opinion that no second person was involved and that this was clearly a suicide situation.

  • Local girl strangled with scarf – suspected murder

    Object of investigation was to determine whether the neck-scarf as usually worn by the deceased could have been knotted in the manner used, sufficiently tight to result in strangulation. It was found that because of the actual shape of the knot tied with several turns and the tightness of the resulting ligature, the deceased could not have tied these knots. It could also be concluded that contrary to what was suggested, this was not a sexual experiment gone wrong. The force needed to secure the ligature and the severity of application was well in excess of that required purely to immobilize the victim. It was clearly a noose, to strangle the victim.

  • Suspected suicide - Man found hanging in own flat with wrists tied and suspended by ligature

    In view of the complication of the wrists tied securely behind the back, the SIO required confirmation that there were no suspicious circumstances associated with this death. Careful examination of the ligature and bindings concluded that it was possible for the deceased to set up the ligature, with the noose accessible by standing on the video table. It was feasible that the wrists could be bound by the deceased and then the head positioned in the ligature noose. Consistency in the tying of the knots suggested that there was good reason to believe they were all tied by the deceased and no evidence to suggest that a second person was involved.

01803 212818 (office & fax) | | e: mike@forensic-knots.uk