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The 1980s case that made it easier to identify Richard

Colin Pitchfork was a bakery worker who raped and murdered two teenage girls in and around Narborough between 1983-6. Although the culprit’s blood type and semen sample could be determined, the remaining evidence still left a tenth of the adult male population as subjects. (Sir) Alec Jeffreys’ DNA analysis technique had only been outlined in 1985 and not used hitherto.

The immediate prime suspect was actually another youth, who confessed to one murder, of a victim he knew, but denied the other. Jeffreys’ technique, however, proved that there was only one killer and it wasn’t Richard Buckland. Leicestershire Police then decided to request samples from the five thousand remaining possibilities but were initially unsuccessful, principally because Pitchfork had persuaded a colleague to give a sample for him. The colleague admitted this and Pitchfork’s own DNA was taken in custody, resulting in a perfect match and a life sentence.

Many people have subsequently crossed the Narborough Road without even thinking about Colin Pitchfork and I am one of them. His conviction proved the technique and it could be developed to the point of comparing Richard III’s mtDNA with that of two multiple-great-nephews. A real landmark case.

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2 thoughts on “The 1980s case that made it easier to identify Richard

  1. For many years it was thought that dna could not be successfully extracted from ancient skeletons. However, a regular European mtdna haplogroup U was found in Cheddar Man, over 8000 years old, and there were exact matches to his dna in the local village. Since then many more skeletons have been tested with successful results, both for mtdna and, to a slightly lesser extent, y-dna. Oetzi the Ice man is mtdna K1, a family from Pompeii T2b. This is Richard’s mtdna sequence for haplogroup J1c2c: 16069T, 16126C, 73G, 146C, 185A, 188G, 263G, 295T, 315.1C

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  2. I think DNA is fascinating! I had mine tested to find out which “Daughter of Eve” tribe I belonged to and apparently it is the same as the Ice Man, Oetzi, the tribe of Katrina

    Like

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