Prosecution

We offer a comprehensive range of fire scene and laboratory examination services.  We are available to work directly for Police services or the Crown Prosecution Service on fire and arson cases which are potentially destined for Crown Court. The Home Office has approved us as subcontractors for fire scene investigation. We are working towards accreditation for ISO 17020 for fire scene investigation in order to meet the Forensic Regulators requirements in 2020.

Our location, near to J9 of the M25, is such that we are able to attend many scenes quickly. This reduces the need for scene guard and other personnel expenses incumbent in preserving a scene for examination. There is always a highly skilled and professional scientist on call (07342 191 354) available to discuss your case with you.

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We are able to discuss the requirements of your case with you and whether or not there are evidential possibilities which have not yet been fully explored. Our scientists have a wide range of knowledge and experience, having specialised in criminal fire investigation for over 50 years, that we are normally able to assist any fire investigation, even the most unusual cases. In order to give peace of mind to any investigation we are able to re-examine scenes, examine photographs and witness information to determine if there are any weaknesses within the case which we may be able to help you overcome.

Case Examples

OP LINDEN
Three generations of one family died in a house fire in Cwmbran, Gwent, South Wales.

The premises was a two storey, semi-detached house occupied by two adults and a baby. The suspect and father of the baby lived in a tent on the front lawn outside the property. Three months after the fire we were contacted by Gwent Police and asked if a document review could be carried out to test the robustness of the case. The fire scene had initially been jointly investigated by a team comprising forensic scientists, Police crime scene investigators and fire officers.

Our lead scientist, Ms Emma Wilson, concluded that the house fire had been deliberately started in the open porch area outside the front door of the premises by a naked flame. The fire had progressed from there to affect the first floor and the roof space. The tent had also been separately ignited.

Following a case conference with the investigative team and Counsel, Ms Wilson was asked to be the main prosecution fire expert, even though the scene had been initially investigated by other parties. Ms Wilson gave evidence in Newport Crown Court and the defendant was found guilty and received a 30 year sentence for Murder which was increased to 35 years upon appeal. A testimonial to the work carried out by Ms Wilson can be found here.

OP MALLEABLE
Multiple fires in South Oxfordshire.

The South Oxfordshire District Council office building was subject to a very intense fire which caused part of the roof structure to collapse. At the same time as this fire there were three other separate building fires in the area including a cottage and a farm. We were asked to provide two forensic scientists specialising in fire investigation to determine the cause and origin of the fires.

The Council building was a two storey office complex. The main parts of the building comprised two brick built blocks with a linking steel and glass structure between them forming a foyer. The foyer building was the main public entrance to the offices. A small hatchback car was found in the foyer of the reception.

The fire had started in the ground floor of the foyer building and spread to affect the right block from there. The worst area of burning within the reception area was around the car which had been severely damaged by fire; there was no paint remaining on the outside of the vehicle and all of the upholstery appeared to have been consumed. The front passenger footwell had a gas cylinder in it, underneath the cylinder was the front face of a box of ‘Bryant and May extra long’ matches. In addition two mechanically failed aerosol cans were also found.

It was determined that all the fires were deliberately caused by flame ignitions. Gas cylinders were found at the locations of each fire. The fires could be due to the ignition of gas from the cylinders directly or the ignition of other combustible materials in the area and the gas cylinders were present as a potential additional fuel source.

The suspect pleaded guilty to four counts of arson at a hearing at Oxford Crown Court.