Dr Allen Anscombe

After an initial career as a hospital doctor, Allen Anscombe was appointed a UK Home Office forensic pathologist in 1989. Since then he has been involved in the investigation of over a thousand homicides and has close experience of just about every possible method of doing away with someone. So far he has not tried his hand at it himself, but he did once poison his longsuffering sister in the interests of science to see if a curry could disguise the taste of a particular drug ( it couldn't; she survived).

The job has taken Allen to many parts if the world, from Afghanistan to the Falkland Islands, and he has spent time in the former Yugoslavia investigating war crimes. UK cases have ranged from Fred West to the London bombings, but Allen has learnt that the most sensational cases are not necessarily the most forensically interesting.

The other half of the job of being a forensic pathologist is giving evidence or providing advice as an expert witness in a criminal trial. After initial sheer terror, Allen has come to enjoy the challenge of explaining often complex scientific evidence in a clear and impartial way to a lay jury, whilst dealing with Counsel's attempts to gloss or spin it in a way that favours their particular case.

Allen has been involved in teaching medics, paramedics, police, archaeologists, anthropologists and special forces personnel, and has often been consulted by novelists and scriptwriters. In recent years Allen has given up a front line forensic role and now is involved in medico-legal work associated with the armed forces, ranging from Gulf War Syndrome to the health effects of atomic bomb testing. He also finds time for fishing and family life.

Read an interview with Dr Allen Anscombe here.