Bugs and spatter to catch a killer

2012-01-27 14:03

I have never been the type to be fascinated with dead bodies.

Show me an accident scene and I look the other way. Simple as that. So when I met Dr Micki Pistorius – well-known forensic psychologist, author and ­serial killer hunter – it was with a morbid fascination.

I won’t describe her but suffice it to say she’s nothing like what one imagines a serial killer hunter looks like.

From her explanation of the nitty-gritty of her job, it sounds like something right out of CSI. Fascinating to hear, but nothing I’d want to see – or smell – in person.

Pistorius re-enacted some ­famous local crime scenes ­using mannequins, rice as maggots and the occasional splash of “blood”. At the various crime scenes, she showed us what maggots and blood spatter patterns say about a crime, the perpetrator and the victim. I swear my body had the shivers.

Pistorius, a former commander of the Investigative Psychology Unit of the South African Police Service, spearheaded investigations into many of the most controversial criminal cases in South Africa. During that time she worked on 35 serial killer ­cases – including The Station Strangler, the Cape Town Prostitute Killer and Moses Sithole, the Attridgeville ­Killer – among others.

Her understanding of how these criminal minds work is nothing short of uncanny.
Just before lunchtime, Pistorius shared her memories of various crime scenes with the aid of gruesome pictures. I was so traumatised I didn’t even touch my salad.

So, if you’re one of those people who often wonders how forensic investigators can tell, merely from a blood stain, how a person died and how long they’ve been dead, then you’re in for a treat with the series Bloodwork currently on the Crime & Investigation Network every Monday.

The series probes unexplained mysteries and examines the lives of infamous murderers and criminals. While the cops work on cracking some of the world’s most violent crimes, you’ll get to witness how the agencies use Sherlock Holmes-like detective work combined with the latest CSI-type forensic investigation tools to solve the cases.

» Bloodwork is on CI Network every Monday at 9pm.

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