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A Nation of Suspects
By Milton Hirsch
Fourth Amendment Forum columns.
The time was 9:05 on September 10, 1984. Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys
remembers the moment distinctly. The X-ray films of his tests had just
emerged from the machine. “At first the images looked like a complicated
mess,” he recalls. “Then the penny dropped. We had found a method of
DNA-based biological identification.”1
The “double helix” discovery of the nature and structure of
deoxyribonucleic acid (“DNA”) was made by Watson and Crick at Cambridge
in 1953. Sir Alec Jeffrey’s DNA identification technique was first
employed in a British deportation proceeding in 1985, and shortly
thereafter in a paternity dispute.2 But DNA identification leapt onto the stage of history in “the infamous Enderby murder case.”3
The case had begun with the murder and rape of Lynda Mann, 15, in 1983
in the Leicestershire village. Dawn Ashworth, 15, died in a copycat
killing three years later. Police arrested a man who confessed to the
second murder but denied the first. The DNA sh
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