Striation patterns in serrated blade stabs to cartilage

Derrick J. Pounder, Francesca D. Reeder

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Stab wounds were made in porcine cartilage with 13 serrated knives, amongst which 4 were drop-point and 9 straight-spine; 9 coarsely serrated, 3 finely serrated and 1 with mixed pattern serrations. The walls of the stab tracks were cast with dental impression material, and the casts photographed together with the knife blades for comparison. All 13 serrated blades produced an "irregularly regular" pattern of striations on cartilage in all stabbings. Unusual and distinctive blade serration patterns produced equally distinctive wound striation patterns. A reference collection of striation patterns and corresponding blades might prove useful for striation pattern analysis. Drop-point blades produced similar striations to straight-spine blades except that the striations were not parallel but rather fan-shaped, converging towards the wound exit. The fan-shaped striation pattern characteristic of drop-point blades is explained by the initial lateral movement of the blade through the cartilage imposed by the presence of the drop point shape. It appears that the greater the overall angle of the drop point, the shorter the blade length over which the drop point occurs, and the closer the first serration is to the knife tip, the more obvious is the fan-shaped pattern. We anticipate that micro-irregularities producing individualising characteristics in non-serrated drop point blades, provided they were located at the tip opposite the drop point, should also show a fan-shaped pattern indicative of a drop point blade. The examination of the walls of stab wounds to cartilage represents an under-utilised source of forensic information to assist in knife identification. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-94
    Number of pages4
    JournalForensic Science International
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2011


    • Stab wounds
    • Serrated knives
    • Drop point
    • Class characteristics
    • Striations


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