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Differentiating Between Genuine Damage and Falsified Damage to a Garment Following an Alleged Sexual Assault


  • Funded internally by the University of Huddersfield.

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Graham Williams, M.Sc.
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science
School of Applied Sciences
University of Huddersfield
Huddersfield HD1 3DH


Abstract:  An allegation of sexual assault was made in which a bra was torn off by the assailant causing extensive damage; however, it was observed that the hook and eye fastening was still intact. It was felt that it was not possible for a garment to receive such damage without damage to the hook and eye fastening, thus indicating that the complainant caused the damage to the bra herself to support a false allegation. Reconstruction experiments were conducted in which the conditions of the allegation were simulated utilizing a range of similar bras. Following the infliction of damage, the hook and eye fastenings were examined. In eight of nine experiments, the hook and eye fastening were intact, despite the application of enough force to cause separation of the bra cups in five of the experiments. This shows that bras may suffer extensive damage without damage to the hook and eye fastening.