Get used to the word combination” Cops, crooks, and 3D printers” because it is a thing. Lorenzo Simon can tell you all about it. He thought that he could get away with murdering his housemate Michael Spalding by chopping his body in pieces and burning some of Spalding’s bones. However, it is 2015 and Simon did not expect technology to catch him. But it did.
From (of course) 3D Print: “A black lump resembling a large piece of coal was found in the oil drum and our scans revealed it contained the top part of the victim’s humerus, fused inside a mass of molten debris,” explained Professor Mark Williams, Head of Product Evaluation Technologies at WMG.
“The bone had been sawn and snapped. After scanning body parts in the cases we found it was a perfect jigsaw fit to another piece of bone and could show in minute detail – down to one 17,000th of a millimeter or half a hair’s breadth – the cuts on the bones.” To make this technology visual for the court, they rebuild the bones with a 3D printer.
I checked online to see what Simon’s sentence was and found through the Daily Mail other disturbing details:
- Simon and his girlfriend used Spalding as their labour slave
- CCTV shows them dragging the suit case with Spalding’s remains to a local canal
- neighbours saw a bonfire after Spalding went missing
- Spalding given only one meal a day
- a number of weapons were used to dismember Spalding
Simon was sentenced to 19 years in prison. His girlfriend Michelle Bird received 2.5 years for assisting an offender but was acquitted of murder and manslaughter.
But this isn’t the only case. Japanese police is also using the technology to solve a cold case. 3ders reports that “The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is using 3D printing technology to recreate the crime scene of a murder case that has gone unsolved for the past eighteen years. On the 9th of August, 1996, the 21-year-old senior student Kobayashi Junko, who was at that time studying at Sophia University, was killed in suspicious circumstances in his home in Katsushika-Ku, Tokyo.”
If you know whether they solved that case, please let me know. I understand that the house where the crime happened was destroyed so the 3D model will help them re-create the crime scene.
3D printing means that we can make a physical object, something that we can pick up and touch, from a three-dimensional digital model (computer design) by placing multiple extremely thin layers on top of each other. Not all 3D printers use the same technology as there is melting, molding, spraying, and more. If this interests you, please check Forensic Magazine for more information.
Hat tip to Jacques Soudan, DCC’s webmaster par excellence, for sending me the article about Spalding.