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Who Killed Rudolph?

It’s not often you hear the words ‘murder’, ‘forensics’, ‘Rudolph’, and ‘fun’ used together, but this was a unique experience for three hundred students.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and poor Rudolph was dead.
Was it a knife to the back? Or a blow to the head?
Who committed this crime? Who should we fear?
Who is responsible for Rudolph the dead nosed reindeer?’

A student meticulously analyzing a fingerprint found at the crime scene © BU on Tour via Facebook (Not to be reproduced).

These grim lines were the conclusion of a short drama which began two packed but fun-filled days for 300 year nine students from schools across Dorset and London. These students were privileged to attend this collaborative effort between Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London and Bournemouth University (BU) held at Kingston Maurward and The Royal Veterinary Colleges.

Over two days, December 16th and 17th, the task was simple: each student needed to determine, with good reason, who was responsible for the dastardly treatment meted out to Rudolph. The main suspects were the Grinch, Mr. Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Head Elf, Dasher and Dancer. But how were the students expected to unravel this mystery?

Students in the Animal Autopsy workshop © BU on Tour via Facebook (Not to be reproduced)

During the course of the event, each student attended five workshops. Namely; Stomach Contents Analysis, Trace Evidence: Fingerprints, Hairs and Fibres, DNA Extraction, Animal Autopsy and Interrogation. The results of the experiments in each workshop gave subtle clues which pointed to the perpetrator of the crime. It was the difficult task of each student to collate the myriad of information received and come to a conclusion.

Prizes were on offer to keep the students focused on the task at hand!

Student in the Trace Evidence Workshop © BU on Tour via Facebook (Not to be reproduced)

This event, which was free , was done by BU and RVC as part of a series of widening participation events. These events are aimed at schools whose students may have the potential to enter Higher Education but may be under-achieving, low in confidence or undecided. This initiative also incorporates children from lower socio-economic or disadvantaged areas in which participation in Higher Education is low. The main objective of these events is to motivate students to aim to enter Higher Education Institutions.

Based on the feedback of the students, it would seem as if this goal was met during this Forensic Science event!

Incidentally, who do you think killed Rudolph?