I was asked a few days back where my blog entry on the ‘blood spatter’ found in apartment 5A was. I replied that I had not written about this topic.
My disinterest so far with regard to this is that the final forensic report is conclusive on very little, and there were bigger fish to fry. So here is my first take.
I like to start at the start without having worked out in advance my final conclusions. So mistakes along the way are a possibility.
This single topic is going to be big, so I am slicing it into more manageable parts.
The first thing is that I have no expertise in or experience of forensic examination, aside from crime novels and TV programmes. I am therefore reliant on others to provide a modicum of knowledge. The source I am using is http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/blood/principles.html This claims to be a simplified version of bloodstain analysis. I cannot verify how good this guide is, merely that to date it is better than me, and it is simple enough to be read by a layman.
Other than that, my starting point is the photo in the PJ Files showing the wall of apartment 5A behind the sofa.
Floor tiles under the window have been taken up. This was done after Eddie and Keela alerted in similar locations, so we have the sequence – Eddie alerted – Keela alerted – the floor tiles were lifted – this photograph was taken.
The actual origin is likely to get rewound to the night of 3/4 May 2007, when the local PJ team went in, but for the moment, I will stick with this photo.
It is clear that the photographer is trying to convey the overall location of several numbered spots relative to each other. This photo is useless when trying to conduct a visual analysis of any individual spot, so I need to focus on the pattern.
Is there anything in my simple forensic guide I can rule out? I think I am safe in ruling out a gunshot. The pattern does not match a gunshot pattern, and nobody in the PJ Files mentions a gunshot.
I cannot see anything that looks like cast-off (blood from a blunt weapon use for repeated strikes) or shadow (an outline caused by an object preventing spatter from hitting the background). This leaves me with a single strike from in front, spattering blood to the rear. The pattern is a poor fit, and the level of apparent violence in apartment 5A does not match this.
On this basis, I am ruling out bludgeoned to death, whether by a single violent strike or by repeated blows.
What else can I deduce from this one single photograph, simply by looking at it?
In the PJ Files, the height from floor to the top of the window ledge of the children’s bedroom was catalogued as 92cm. I measured our floor to window ledge height today, and I got 93cm. So 92cm seems right, and it is difficult to imagine the living room window of apartment 5A was at some other level.
Look at the photo again. I make the highest ‘spatter’ at about twice the height of the ledge, perhaps around 1m 80 to 1m 90.
Madeleine was probably a little bit over a metre, so there is a fair bit to go, but we do need to consider the sofa. Another measurement, this time of our sofa, gave me a further 45cm, or a total of around 1m 37. I’m still around 30 to 40cm short, and for this to work, I need Madeleine to be standing on the sofa whilst making the mark on the wall. And somehow also making other marks much further down.
Then there is the problem with the dogs.
Plus the logistics behind how this photo was captured on film.
And how the results leaked into the media.
So despite ruling out a gunshot and bludgeoning as potential sources, there is still a lot of ground to cover.