FBI looks at DNA technique

A DNA police technique used to hunt down a rapist is being lauded in the United States as an example of pioneering detective work.

Avon and Somerset Police’s first success using familial DNA searches to crack unsolved cases could now be adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In October 2007, 42-year-old Bridgwater man Geoffrey Godfrey was jailed for raping a 36-year-old woman in April 1993. The success of the force’s Cold Case Review Team in bringing Godfrey to justice has been used by the Wall Street Journal to highlight the familial search techniques.

At present, familial searching has been rarely used in the US because crime labs there do not typically have the sophisticated software for such searches.

DNA was obtained from the victim following the attack but despite a thorough investigation, the case remained unsolved.

In 2005 the cold case team secured funding to launch a familial DNA investigation.

This allowed officer to look at any potential relatives of the offender who might be on the national DNA database.

Western Morning News