BASIC PRINCIPLES OF FORENSIC KNOT ANALYSIS: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF TYING BEHAVIOUR

Robert Charles Chisnall

Abstract


The knot-tying behaviour of thousands of subjects was observed over a period of 25 years.  A number of key principles applicable to forensic knot analysis emerged, most of which have been confirmed by other studies.  Most notably, tying behaviour is consistent and reproducible.  Basic knots – like Overhand Knots, Half Hitches and Half Knots – are chiral, and individual knot tiers produce one mirror-image version more so than the other.  This tendency can be influenced by a number of factors, such as the number of available working ends, tying position, interference, the creation of slip loops, and wend switching.  These principles can guide investigators in the forensic analysis of knotted evidence and point to future avenues of research.


Keywords


knots; tying behaviour; handedness; mirror-image knots; analysis principles

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ISSN 1942-7794