Ann Kiernan

Senior Forensic Scientist (Firearms)

A photograph of Ann Kiernan

With over twenty years’ experience working in the field, Ann is a highly skilled and dedicated firearms and tool marks expert.

Having obtained a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Maynooth, Ireland in 1997, Ann then graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 1999 with a Masters degree in Forensic Science. Her career started at Forensic Science Northern Ireland in 2001, where she began specialising in the examination of firearms, ammunition, and related items. Ann then moved on to LGC Forensics, Leeds in 2004, where she undertook the role of Leading Reporting Scientist in Firearms and Tool Marks.

Ann provides expertise in a variety of cases involving firearms, including the identification and legal classification of firearms, ammunition and associated items (under the provisions of the Firearms Act 1968, Northern Ireland Order 2004, The Firearms (Scotland) Rules and the Irish Firearms Act 1925), testing of weapons for functionality, examination of stun guns and taser devices and the examination of air weapons to determine their kinetic energy.

She is trained and authorised to attend sensitive and high-profile scenes to assist both police and military investigations throughout the UK and internationally. She also has extensive experience working on cold case reviews, providing more current techniques and approaches to the science of ballistics. She has examined and provided advice on the recovery of DNA and fingerprints from firearms related items and has contributed to research and development of new techniques to enhance recovery of DNA from such items.

Ann has a wealth of court experience, having attended court on many occasions to advise counsel and provide expert evidence in Magistrates, Crown, Military Martial and Coroners Courts throughout England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

She is also skilled in macroscopic comparison of fired cartridge cases and bullets to determine if they were fired from a particular weapon, examination of tool marks to determine if a particular tool was used in a burglary or robbery and recover erased serial numbers or vehicle identification numbers to determine origin. Ann also has extensive experience in scene reconstruction, determining the trajectory of shots fired and the position of shooter/victim along with the reconstruction of the sequence of events based on evidence, whether that be the interpretation of firearms related damage at the scene, including gunshot wounds. She has assisted with over one hundred post mortem examinations, providing expertise in gunshot wound ballistics where low velocity and high velocity bullets have caused injuries.

Ann is a member of the Association of Firearms and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE), an international professional body for forensic firearms and tool mark examiners. Ann is also a member of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) Firearms Expert Working Group. The ENFSI is responsible for the harmonisation of procedures throughout Europe and is recognised by the European Union as the source of advice on forensic science issues.

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