Similar to footwear marks, fabric impressions have the potential to provide a conclusive association between a fabric (from a specific glove for example) and a suspected fabric impression recovered from a crime scene, for example.
Examples of crime scenes where fabric impression evidence might be obtained include burglary, robbery, and criminal damage.
In such cases, the crime scene impression might be on a surface such as a window, door, worktop in a kitchen, and on the surfaces of a counter or till in retail premises that have been involved in a robbery. These marks can be enhanced at the scene, photographed to scale and possibly “lifted” from the scene using gel lifts or adhesive tape lifts when the scene is being examined by the Police.
If the mark is on a readily moveable item such as a piece of paper, the item itself might be removed from the scene.
The most common item examined in fabric impression cases involves gloves where the person committing a burglary for example wears gloves to avoid fingerprints being detected
Other examples include fabric impressions on a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident with a pedestrian, and on weapons such as large knives / machetes and firearms.
The comparison between a crime fabric impression and a fabric item such as gloves involves the assessment of features such as the knit pattern, stitching type, textured surfaces on leather or manmade similar material on areas such as palms and fingertips, and of course small or gross damage features to either.
The strength of the evidence to associate the glove (or any other fabric type item) with a crime impression can range from limited to conclusive and in our opinion any such evidence to be relied upon by the Prosecution should be independently assessed by a qualified expert, such as those in Forensic Assessment.