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News

Facial Verification Bureau brings conviction in kidnapping trial

ABM : 08 July, 2009  (Application Story)
Forensic video analysis from ABM's Facial Verification Bureau was used to help convict a suspect caught on CCTV in high profile UK kidnapping case
In February 2007, following the kidnap of a wealthy businessman, a number of suspects were arrested. The crime perpetrators were captured on CCTV footage from a block of flats where the victim was held.

Shortly before the trial, the defence team released an expert facial image comparison report, claiming that the police had misidentified their client, Carl Stephens, as being one of the crime perpetrators.


In order to assess the defence expert's report and provide an independent review of the identity of the relevant crime perpetrator, Orly Golding and Dr Leslie Bowie from ABM's Facial Verification Bureau (FVB) were called upon.

The FVB delivers an independent service that turns CCTV images, digital stills and photographs into forensic evidence for court submission. Analysing facial and other visual information such as clothing and heights, the FVB compiles identification reports, providing expert testimony which can be used to strengthen either the prosecution or defence evidence.

The FVB examined the relevant sections of CCTV footage and an initial assessment revealed that there were two different people identified as being the same suspect. The defence expert had only referred to one of these people in his report and consequently found differences between the crime perpetrator and the accused. However the FVB examined all of the available imagery and found no significant differences and numerous similarities between the other person and the suspect. In particular there was one image of the ear which provided a good level of distinctiveness, allowing for a strong conclusion that Carl Stephens was in fact one of the crime perpetrators.

A presentation and report was compiled detailing the findings of the comparison.


After serving the defence team with the additional facial evidence, Carl Stephens of Sheldon, Birmingham pleaded guilty on all counts at Leicester Crown Court and was sentenced to 10 years on 26th June 2009.
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