Murderer owned a ginger cat and that fact helped convict him

Ginger cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

USA: The victim of a grisly murder was almost decapitated and he was severely beaten but he had a single strand of orange cat hair in one pocket of his jeans.  The victim kept cats and so did the murderer.  In fact the murderer lived with 11 cats, 8 of which were related to each other and it appears that one of them was a ginger tabby.

It also appears that the victim did not look after a ginger cat and therefore the forensic team were able to exclude the single hair strand as originating from one of the victim’s cats but the hair could not be excluded from coming from one of the cats living with the murderer.

This evidence helped to convict the murderer and it is the first time that cat hair (cat DNA) has helped to convict a person of murder.  No doubt it will lead to further cases and it makes you think because we all know how much cat hair gets around the home.  

Cat hair is pretty much everywhere in the home of a cat owner and if that cat owner happens to be a murderer or a criminal it would seem quite possible that he will be carrying on his person hairs from one of his cats.

I have simplified the story because we are really talking about quite technical mitochondrial DNA testing.  This particular and very interesting case will be outlined in the journal Forensics Science International: Genetics.  It appears it will set a precedent for future criminal trials.

Researchers sequenced mitochondrial DNA from the single hair.  This sort of DNA is handed down from mothers to their offspring.  Apparently, shed hair does not normally have nuclear DNA (another type of DNA).  In this case only mitochondrial while DNA was available.

A University of Leicester forensic scientist Jon Wetton with colleagues have created the UK’s first cat DNA database. 

In the UK cat hair was used as evidence in a criminal trial last year. Cat DNA is becoming more widely used as admissible evidence in criminal trials. Beware criminals with cats.


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7 thoughts on “Murderer owned a ginger cat and that fact helped convict him”

    • Bearing in mind that cat hair is present throughout the home of a cat owner I am hoping that its presence will be a preventative measure making potential criminals think twice before committing a crime but that may be a little bit far-fetched!

    • I am hoping that cats living with potential murderers will stop the owner becoming a murderer for fear of being caught because he is carrying around on his person cat hair 😉 I think I’m being a little bit too optimistic.

  1. I think that it is fascinating and wonderful that cats can help solve a crime such as murder.
    I just wish that I could fathom what color cat hair would help solve a crime committed against me. None, I guess.

    • I like the story because the cat is being indirectly useful. The one downside for me is that criminals who own cats might abandon them.

      I am upset that criminals own cats. All cat caretakers are good people 😉


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