RGU News Article Date Posted: 03-Apr-2007 Valid Until: 03-May-2007
World renowned forensic investigator and 'Waking the Dead' advisor joins RGU
An internationally renowned forensic scientist who has worked on a plethora of high profile murder cases with police forces across the world, and advised on feature films and TV series including 'Waking the Dead', has joined The Robert Gordon University's School of Life Sciences as a Senior Lecturer.
Professor David Barclay, who is originally from Hull, was a forensic scientist from 1972 - 1990 with the Forensic Science Service (FSS) at the Birmingham laboratory. He ended his time there as a senior scientific officer in charge of the Drugs and Toxicology section, giving evidence in the most serious drug dealing importation and production, and criminal poisoning cases.
In 1990 Professor Barclay was selected as part of the FSS management team as they became an agency within the Home Office, playing a key role in the introduction of delegating police with scientific casework for the first time.
From 1993 Professor Barclay was Serious Crimes Business Manager responsible for enhancing the use of forensic science by police forces throughout the UK.
During this time Professor Barclay (62) was responsible for major developments to investigative practice. This included addressing a lack of awareness of the scientific possibilities of forensic science which was a serious constraint on police investigations - this was the first time that the use of forensic science by police forces had been explored.
To address this, Professor Barclay wrote a seminal 60,000 word report 'Using Forensic Science Effectively' which was adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Home Office and FSS in 1996.
Professor Barclay found it vital for a forensic scientist to look not just at the facts but also the case in a more holistic manner. From this came the term 'forensic investigator', and with it a closer relationship with detectives and investigations which is now seen as the key role of forensic scientists today.
During this time he also addressed the fact that footwear mark evidence was being under-regarded by the police and set up an ACPO footwear marks group which resulted in the SICAR computer comparison system which is widely used across the world today.
In 1996 at the request of the ACPO, Professor Barclay was attached part time to the newly formed National Crime Faculty at the Police Staff College, Bramshill to help set up this new operational support resource for the police.
This part time secondment became full time and evolved into the role of Head of Physical Evidence, which he held until he retired in 2005, having undertaken physical evidence reviews of around 230 murder investigations, including many in Scotland.
As part of his work with the NCOF, Professor Barclay gave operational support to investigators across the world in the most serious crimes, including cold cases and miscarriages of justice.
These included: the Bloody Sunday enquiry; the Omagh bombing enquiry which is currently awaiting a verdict; the World's End Murder's in Edinburgh in 1977 where a man was charged almost 30 years later; and the Lynette White murder in South Wales where a 38-year-old security guard was sentenced to life in 2003 for murdering the Cardiff prostitute on Valentine's Day, 1988. Three men, the so- called Cardiff Three, were wrongly jailed for her murder in 1990 but were released two years later when the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions.
This case is the first time in the UK that the real offender has been found guilty of murder after others have been wrongly convicted.
Professor Barclay also worked on the Sarah Payne case, the 6 year old who disappeared in July 2000 from a cornfield near the home of her grandparents in West Sussex, and assisted in the conviction of sex offender Roy Whiting in 2001.
Professor Barclay also worked on the Millie Dowler and Soham murders.
Until he retired Professor Barclay was a member of a number of ACPO committees and in 2005 served as the scientific advisor to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into forensic science.
Over the past three years Professor Barclay has lectured overseas extensively by invitation including in France, Switzerland, USA, Holland and Australia.
Following these lectures he was requested to undertake tours of the USA, Canada and Australia, delivering 27 workshops on physical evidence in cold case investigations and the effective use of forensic science in serious crime.
He frequently lectures in the UK to a wide audience including at senior police management courses. In the last year he has given invited lectures including at Surrey University, The University of Hull, the Jill Dando Institute, the FBI Academy Quantico, Nottingham Trent University, Wolverhampton University, and several others.
He has delivered key-note addresses at scientific or investigative conferences including at the International Homicide Investigators Association (IHIA) in San Francisco, New Orleans and Las Vegas, and the Californian Association of Criminalists in Concorde. In August 2004 he was presented with the IHIA 'Achievement Award'; the first time this had been awarded to a non-police officer.
Through his consultancy with the NCOF, Professor Barclay sat as a member of the advisory boards of major police operations into possible linked murders: Enigma (210 female deaths); Lynx (a series of abductions/rapes); and more recently Trinity (8 murders from around 1977).
He also undertakes cold case investigations in sensitive cases abroad, the oldest of which being a child murder from 1966, the review of which led directly to the offender being identified. In 2006 he undertook a review of the Mallard case in Perth, Western Australia. Andrew Mallard was convicted of the murder of Pamela Lawrence in 1994. Professor Barclay's review found that the evidence with which Mallard was convicted, and subsequently served 12 years, was fatally flawed and then succeeded in identifying the true offender. Andrew Mallard has been released and officially exonerated.
However, the majority of his time was, and still is, taken up with casework, taking a forensic overview on cold cases or current but intractable investigations. He has a particular interest in cold case reviews and processes and has been instrumental in writing protocols used by a number of forces as well as setting up review teams.
Professor Barclay was the script consultant and technical advisor for the pilot of 'Waking the Dead' and assisted in the design of the laboratory set and procedures, attending throughout filming. He was also technical advisor to the feature film 'The Hole' and technical coach to Embeth Davitz who played the psychologist lead.
From 2001-2004 he provided technical advice to a number of BBC 'Timewatch'
episodes on forensic science, crime investigation, and DNA related matters. He has taken part in many documentaries and radio and TV interviews globally and is currently filming a Granada TV series on unsolved murders, and preparing a programme investigating historic murders for the Discovery Channel.
Professor Barclay will join RGU as Senior Lecturer on its forensic science and forensic science with chemistry courses; these are the only forensic courses of their type in Scotland to be accredited by The Forensic Science Society.
Professor Barclay said, 'I am extremely pleased to be joining the academic team at RGU. It is vital to bridge the gap between practice and academia to produce graduates with rounded practical knowledge and experience. I look forward to working with the next generation of forensic investigators.'
Professor Barclay will split his time between Aberdeen and Gairloch on the west coast of Scotland where he moved to in 2001, and will continue to work on cold case reviews at the request of police forces across the world.