Glass & Paint

Forensic Glass and Paint Evidence

Trace evidence, including glass and paint, features in many case types ranging from criminal damage, burglary, road traffic offences through to murder cases. Microscopic fragments of glass can be transferred to the clothing of a person close to a breaking window or to an implement used to break it. Paint particles can be transferred to the clothing of a person or implement in contact with a painted damaged window frame. Transfer of paint traces can also occur during motor vehicle collisions either between vehicles or to the victim of a road traffic accident.

Comparison of fragments of glass or paint recovered from questioned items versus a control sample is made using various microscopic and analytical techniques. Glass and paint fragments are typically less than 1 mm in size and not visible to the naked eye. Acquisition of trace evidence by contamination is therefore a possibility dependant on the packaging of items, actions of individuals at the scene and the prosecution scientist.   

It is always worthwhile instructing a defence examination of a trace evidence case. Previous defence instructions have flagged up issues not obvious at the outset such as:

  • An additional control sample from a crime scene examination subsequently lost by police combined with insecure packaging of a suspect’s clothing meaning that the acquisition of trace evidence through contamination was a possibility
  • Additional background information from the solicitor which provided an alternative account for the findings of a trace evidence examination
  • Difference in opinion on the degree of correspondence between glass fragments and a control sample

Several such instructions have resulted in the dismissal of charges. With their wide-ranging experience gained through working on numerous high-profile cases on behalf of both the prosecution and defence, trace evidence scientists at Forensic Access are ideally placed to consider these issues. 


Forensic Glass and Paint Evidence Services

Forensic Access provides a wide range of glass and paint evidence services including:

  • Examination of items for trace evidence including glass and paint
  • Case Review including a detailed re-examination of the prosecution case with limitations of case clearly defined
  • Appraisal of methods and their suitability for the examination
  • Assessment of commonality of trace evidence in question
  • Consideration of potential for contamination of questioned items prior to submission at laboratory
  • Appraisal of background information and associated implications for the case


Glass and Paint Evidence Expertise

Forensic Access boasts a world-class team of forensic scientists operating in state-of-the-art facilities. All of our trace evidence scientists have a minimum of 20 years’ experience in the field and all have worked on numerous major cases including high-profile murder and terrorist cases working for both the prosecution and defence.

All defence work is handled by dedicated Casework Managers who provide end-to-end support and streamlining. They provide a bespoke service and facilitate direct access to our team of scientists helping barristers and solicitors to get the very best results out of the examination to prepare the most effective defence strategy. All expert witness reports are thoroughly documented and peer reviewed. Our scientists aim to work to rapid turn-around times if dictated by court dates and will provide advice prior to instruction and following the completion of the report as required.

To find out more about our forensic science services Tel: 01235 774870 to speak with a member of our team or fill-in our online contact form.

Are you looking for a Glass & Paint Expert Witness?

Get in touch with our casework team.

Are you looking for a Trace Evidence Expert?

Get in touch with our casework team.


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Expert Witnesses

Sarah Jacob

Sarah Jacob

Forensic Scientist (Marks and Trace Evidence)

Simon Adams

Simon Adams

Forensic Scientist (Footwear)