Andrew Hart's story

Author: Andrew Hart
Andrew Hart's story

Dr Hart’s Fellowship took him to the USA and Canada researching forensic entomology, the study of insects to assist in cases of untimely death but also in cases of food contamination, illegal importation of goods and neglect of the young or elderly.

As part of his Fellowship, Dr Hart carried out research at the Anthropological Research Facility (ARF) on their ‘Body Farm’. He was only the second British person to be allowed to visit the farm, the first being an entomologist from the Natural History Museum (NHM).

The ARF receives donated cadavers and monitors their decomposition in a variety of conditions, such as in a stream, car boot or wheelie bin. Entomologists then use the presence and stage of development of insects on decomposing bodies to work out time of death. In the UK this science was actively developed by the former Forensic Science Service (FSS) as part of the Natural Justice Unit. 

Following Dr Hart’s research project in the winter of 2005, the FSS went on to fund him for a summer research project at the ARF. As a result of the Fellowship, the NHM and the FSS collaborated in the field of forensic entomology to assist with police investigations.  Dr Hart continues to undertake research in this area with the NHM, Kings College London and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Due to publicity about his Fellowship on his return to the UK, Dr Hart went on to act a forensic adviser for BBC drama shows such as Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Ripper Street and Death in Paradise.