ON THIS DAY – March 27th

ON THIS DAY – March 27th

Fingerprint evidence is used to solve a British murder case

The neighbours of Thomas and Ann Farrow, shopkeepers in South London, discovered their bludgeoned bodies in their home. The brutal crime was solved using the newly developed fingerprinting technique. Only three years earlier, the first English court had admitted fingerprint evidence in a petty theft case. The Farrow case was the first time that the cutting-edge technology was used in a high-profile murder case.

Since the cash box in which the Farrows stored their cash receipts was empty, it was clear to Scotland Yard investigators that robbery was the motive. One print on the box did not match the victims or any of the still-tiny file of criminal prints that Scotland Yard possessed. Fortunately, a local milkman reported seeing two young men in the vicinity of the Farrow house on the day of the murders. Soon identified as brothers Alfred and Albert Stratton, the police began interviewing their friends.

Alfred’s girlfriend told police that he had given away his coat and changed the color of his shoes the day after the murders. A week later, authorities finally caught up with the Stratton brothers and fingerprinted them. Alfred’s right thumb was a perfect match for the print on the Farrow’s cash box.

The fingerprint evidence became the prosecution’s only solid evidence when the milkman was unable to positively identify the Strattons.

The Stratton brothers were convicted and hanged. Since then, fingerprint evidence has become commonplace in criminal trials.

source = www.history.com

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