The Case of the Great Toe Print

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The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby Charles Parker » Mon May 19, 2008 3:29 pm

In an article from Fingerprint and Identification Magazine of March 1953 it has an article titled "The Case of the Great Toe Print". This is a patent print photographed on the edge of a safe and was identified to a subject. At the end of the trial Lord Birnam in his address to the jury that this case to his knowledge was the first occasion upon which the Crown had sought to prove the guilt of an accused on the evidence of a toe print alone.

To my fellow fingerprint examiners across the sea, is this a correct statement that this case was the first "toe print identification" or were there others before. Also what is the first documented case involving bare footprint identification in England or Great Britian?

The Identification was made by Det. Supt. George Maclean to a William Gourley and the Safe Burglary occurred on June 29th, 1952.
Knuckle Draggin Country Cousin
Cedar Creek, TX
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Postby Dan Perkins » Tue May 20, 2008 5:13 am

Hi Charles,

I do believe that the case you mention was the first of it's kind in the U.K.

The first plantar evidence in England was given on the 1st May 1956, by Detective Superintendent Holton from New Scotland Yard at Hastings Magistrates Court against Sydney Malkin (3 footprints having been found at the scene).
Malkin's defence submitted that DS Holton was not a competent expert in the matter and brought evidence from a Rhodesian court in 1935 that plantar evidence had been declared to be of no certain value. Evidence brought by DS Holton from other sources that plantar evidence had been accepted was ruled inadmissible after objection from the defence. The trial Judge (Mr Justice Gorman) in summing up said that there was no evidence to show that plantar evidence was as competent as fingerprint evidence. However the jury returned a verdict of 'guilty' and Malkin was sentenced on July 30 1956 to be 'Bound over for 3 years'.

Fortunately plantar evidence has since been accepted in all types of court in the UK.

Dan Perkins
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Postby Martin C » Wed May 21, 2008 7:44 am

Hi Charles,

The first evidence of plantar mark identification in the UK was at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Scotland on 17th February 1953.
James Walker Adams was charged with burglary after his plantar marks were found at the scene.
Quite an amusing story because Adams had been charged on two occations previously for burglary at the same warehouse having been identified by fingerprint evidence the first time and footware evidence the second.
To avoid detection the third time he put gloves over his hands and took his boots off before comitting the crime. Unfortunately for him he had a nice hole in his wooly sock and left identifiable plantar marks throughout the warehouse!
Detective Superintendent Maclean of the Glasgow Fingerprint Bureau gave evidence of identity and Adams was found guilty.

Perhaps this is the same Det. Supt. Maclean you mentioned above?

Martin
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Postby Charles Parker » Sun May 25, 2008 6:44 pm

Dan and Martin thanks for the reply.

So let's see if I get this right.

1952, 29th of June the 1st toe mark in the UK by Det. Superintendent Maclean.

1953, 17th of February the 1st plantar mark in the UK by Det. Superintendent Maclean

1956, 1st of May the 1st plantar mark in England by Det. Superintendent Holton from New Scotland Yard.

Martin I think you are right in that both the toe and plantar were by the same Superintendent Maclean.

I have to keep in mind that there is a difference between UK and England.

I would like to hear from some readers in Canada and Australia their countries first plantar or toe identification.

The ones I have some information on here in the US is:

1934 Michigan People v. Les 267 Mich. 648 255 NW 407
1938 Massachuetts Commonwealth v. Bartolini 299 Mass. Rep. 503
1951 North Carolina State v. Rogers 233 N.C. 390

I have some detailed information on Bartolini and Rogers but the case on People v. Les in Michigan is eluding me. Any help from the readers would be appreciated.

I noticed you separate toes from plantar identification and I can understand that as we all separate fingers from palms. But in having worked a few footprint cases over the years, I and the others working them have very seldom separated them and just call them footprints. The single toe print on the safe was interesting.

Thank you for the information and I am adding it to my notebook.
Knuckle Draggin Country Cousin
Cedar Creek, TX
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby claireweenie » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:36 am

Hello all,

I realise this topic is from some time ago but does anyone know what offence Sydney Malkin was charged for?

Thanks in advance,

Claire
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby rmcase » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:26 pm

Hi guys,

According to the national fingerprint notes, which are used to train UK (and some international) forces, these are the accepted firsts:

First Evidence of Plantar Marks
The first time plantar (foot) identification evidence was given was at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 17th February 1953. James Walker Adams was charged with burglary after his plantar impressions were found at the scene. Detective Superintendent Maclean of the Glasgow Fingerprint Bureau gave evidence of identity and Adams was found guilty.
On 1st May 1956, Detective Superintendent Holton from NSY gave the first plantar evidence in England at Hastings Magistrates Court against Sydney Malkin whose footprints had been found at the point of entry. At the trial the Judge, Mr Justice Gorman, in summing up said there was no evidence to show that plantar evidence was as competent as fingerprint evidence. However, the jury returned a guilty verdict and Malkin was sentenced to be `Bound Over' for 3 years.

First Evidence of Toe Prints 1959
The first time evidence of toe print identification was given in England was at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on 20th October 1959. Benedict Quilkin was accused of breaking into a sweet shop in Cheltenham where a toe mark was found on broken glass. Evidence of identity was given by Detective Chief Inspector Hurford of the South Western Fingerprint Bureau and Quilkin was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

I am interested to find out more about the Quilkin case due to it being its 50th anniversary, so if anyone has further information I would be very grateful.

Hope this clears things up, but it looks as though there could be some contention in this one!
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby claireweenie » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:50 am

Hello,

I have the UK National Fingerprint Training Manual as I am studying it at the moment. Your not wrong in thats exactly what it says but it still doesn't say what crime Sydney Malkin committed. Anyone know?

Thanks in advance,

Claire Reaney
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby rmcase » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:30 am

Hi Claire,

I have checked everything I have, and can't find any references to the case other than in the national notes.

I am not teaching you to suck eggs, but the only suggestions I have are:

    Contact Harperley Hall and ask where they got their information
    Contact Sussex Fingerprint Bureau; as it seems to be on their patch
    Look for archives of Hastings Magistrates Court
    Contact Scotland Yard, as they may have provided the evidence

I hope this helps.... and good luck.

Richard Case
PLEASE NOTE: Any views expressed in this post are personal, and may not represent those of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and / or The Fingerprint Society, to whom I am associated.
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby claireweenie » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:08 am

Thanks for your suggestions - I'm new to all this so it really helps!

If I get anywhere I'll let you know.

Cheers!

Claire
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby Bob Doak » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:17 am

Hi,

The first Identification and conviction using a toe print in UK, unless anyone knows different
was:
HM Advocate V's William Gourley:
Scots law times, 14/03/53: Police Journal 1953:
On the 4/11/1952 at the High Court in Glasgow Gourley was convicted and
sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on the evidence of a left great toe print.
It did not become a stated case as there was no appeal lodged by Gourley.

I hope this helps sorry no more info

Bob Doak
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby gerritvolckeryck » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:41 pm

In the "history" section there's a thread on early plantar cases (mostly non ridge friction skin) http://clpex.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=934.

Locard mentions the "Affaire Megdas" in Lyon, 1920 (burglary in a factory - friction ridge footprint marks on paper). One of the suspects, Megdas Bachir Mohamed, was identified based on some friction ridge detail (no 12 points here) and specific other information of the feet.

All the best,

Gerrit
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Re: The Case of the Great Toe Print

Postby claireweenie » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:19 am

Hello!

Believe it or not, a local text information service has stated that Sydney Malkin was charged with burglary. Don't ask me their source and I doubt they can be quoted but at least now we know!

Thanks all for your help,

Claire
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