1. To write the history of identification is to write the history of criminology

    -Edmond Locard (1877-1966), French Criminologist


  1. Breathing is living; the onset of respiration is the beginning of life.

    -J. Barcroft

  2. The best way of seeking proof of respiration is to look at, to feel and to listen to the lungs.

    -Bernard Knight (Forensic Pathology, 2nd Edition, page 442-3)

(For related quotes, see also "Hydrostatic Test")


  1. Antistius, the physian examined the dead body of Julius Caesar after he was murdered, and opined that only one of the twenty three wounds present on his body was mortal, namely that which had penetrated his chest between the first and second ribs.

    -(The first ever autopsy recorded in history, 44 B.C.)

  2. Meanwhile, I will keep on treating the injuries, not the weapon.

    -D. Lindsey (Quoted in "The Pathology of Trauma" 2nd Edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 86)

  3. Come, thick night,… that my keen knife see not the wound it makes.

    --Macbeth, Shakespeare (Quoted in "The Pathology of Trauma" 2nd Edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 97)


  1. At an inquest, regard nothing as unimportant. A difference of a hair will be the difference of a thousand li.

    -Hsi Yuan Lu ("Instructions to Coroners" published in China in A.D. 1248)

    (N.B. Li is a Chinese Linear measure equivalent to about one third of a mile.)

  2. As a hunter traces the lair of a wounded deer by the drops of blood, even so the king shall discover on which side the right lies by inferences from the facts.

    -Manu Dharma Shastra (Ancient Hindu Law book written by Manu)

  3. Having searched the dead body, we find not any blows, or wounds, or any other bodily hurt. We find that bodily weakness caused by long fasting and weariness, by going to and fro, with the extreme cold of the season were the causes of his death.

    -First record of an inquest from the Colony of New Plymouth, New England, 1635

  4. We must have the courage to know the causes of death.

    -Ramsey Clark, 1972 (Quoted in "The Autopsy-Medical Practice and Public Policy" by Rolla B. Hill and Robert E. Anderson; Butterworths 1988, page 107)

  5. There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.

    -Herbert Spencer (Quoted in "The Pathology of Trauma" 2nd Edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 192)

  6. There is no such thing as a “born investigator”.

    -(Quoted in “Computer Evidence: A Forensic Investigations Handbook” by Edward Wilding, page 33, on the first page of chapter 3 entitled “A guide to Investigative methods”)


  1. Just as life depends on the equal functioning of the tripod of life i.e., heart, lung and brain, so also a successful investigation of crime depends on equal functioning of forensic medicine, forensic science and police investigation.

    -Professor L. Fimate, President of the Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine (IAFM), in his inaugural speech on the occasion of XXII Annual Conference of The Indian Academy Of Forensic Medicine, Jaipur, India, 5 - 7 January 2001

  2. "I think we have a murderer on board".

    -Wireless message sent by Captain Henry Kendal of SS Montrose, to London, informing Walter Dew, Chief Inspector of the CID, Scotland Yard, London, that Dr. Crippen, who was suspected of having murdered his wife Cora Crippen, could be on board.)

    (N.B. A short note on this interesting quote would be in order. Dr. Crippen was an American who lived in London, where he murdered his wife at their house at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden Town with an excessive dose of Hyoscine. He bought about 17 grains of hyoscine on 17 January 1910, and killed his wife in the early hours of 1 February. Shortly afterwards, along with his lover Ethel le Neve, he took the ship SS Montrose from Antwerp and tried to flee to Canada. However Captain Henry Kendal recognized him on board and sent the above message back to London. Dew boarded a faster ship and confronted the pair on the morning of 31 July 1910 (as the ship lay off the mouth of the St Lawrence river) with the words,” Good morning, Dr. Crippen” (which is yet another good quote!). Dr. Crippen was tried at the Old Bailey on 18 October, found guilty and hanged at Pentonville on 23 November 1910. This quote is important because Crippen was the first murderer to be caught using the newly discovered wireless technology. Marconi had received the Nobel Prize for wireless telegraphy only the previous year. The first UK demonstration of wireless telegraphy was in 1896, and when in 1996, wireless telegraphy completed 100 years, British Telecom celebrated the occasion by issuing six special BT phone cards. Number 3 of these cards celebrated Crippen’s arrest by showing Crippen’s photograph on the front, and the wireless message on the back. Surprisingly British Telecom got the date of this message wrong. According to the card, the message was sent in 1911, while actually it was 1910. In fact Crippen never lived to see the year 1911. Click below to see the front and back of this phone card.)

    front of BT Phonecard showing Dr. Crippen
    back of BT Phonecard showing the message to catch Dr. Crippen
    Click on the pictures to enlarge them