Report of the July U3A Meeting

July’s meeting had a slightly darker edge to it as retired forensic scientist Brian J. Heard gave a talk entitled “In search of the smoking gun” which told of his time at Scotland Yard in the mid 60’s, well before the advances and reliance of DNA and scientific progress.

The next meeting will be held on 1st August at the United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am.

For further information please visit our website or telephone 01379 642674.


Like most professionals working with death on a regular basis they have the necessary ability to find humour in situations that most of us would find shocking. In this, Brian was no exception and his non-pc approach was refreshing keeping us amused and entertained throughout. In the early 60’s the police laboratory at Scotland Yard still retained an air of Sherlock Holmes about it. In those days physical evidence needed to be retained in case of appeals and bottled specimens of bodily fluids which after fermenting for several years could suddenly explode and were a particular hazard for the unwary and best avoided at all times. Evidence of fingerprints and foot prints are still important factors when it comes to placing someone at the scene of a crime, especially those involving robbery or suspicious death. Infamous criminal gangs such as the Krays and the Richardsons were all part of Brian Heard’s world in the 60’s requiring vast amounts of cast-iron evidence to put an end to their activities. Brian’s own career in the years that followed took him down many avenues of scientific detection including toxicology and gun crime. However it would appear that in the majority of cases one felt that Brian would have found some aspect of humour somewhere.

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