Birmingham & Black Country

3D aerospace technology 'helping to convict killers'

Keegan Downer scans Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption The micro-CT images were shown to the jury at Kandyce Downer's trial

"Cutting edge" 3D scanning technology more commonly used in the aerospace and motor industries is helping to convict killers, police have said.

West Midlands Police said it has been working with University of Warwick researchers to develop "micro-CT imaging" for two years.

The work provides X-rays 43,000 times more detailed than hospital CT scans.

Police said it helped convict Kandyce Downer, who was jailed for life in May for murdering Keegan Downer.

West Midlands Police says it is the first UK force "to embrace the science to support investigations", which allows officers to examine evidence in detail as minute as one 17,000th of a millimetre, the same as "half a hair's breadth".

Image caption Kandyce Downer murdered Keegan Downer less than a year after being appointed her legal guardian

A force spokesman said 3D models had showed "a history of cruelty" suffered by toddler Keegan Downer, as well as proving to the jury her guardian had failed to get medical assistance for Keegan's broken leg.

"A bone callus formed around the injury initially hid that the broken bones overlapped slightly as they hadn't been medically straightened − but the scans revealed cruel Downer had let the baby suffer in agony rather than seek professional help," she said.

The toddler had 153 scars and bruises and suffered what police described as "barbaric and evil" treatment.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Images of the toddler's left and right femur (thighbone) were released by police to show the extent of her injuries

Det Supt Mark Payne said the technology was also helping eliminate foul play in complex cases - sparing expensive, time-consuming murder investigations.

"The technology is helping improve our understanding of injuries at the outset of investigations," he said.

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