A BBC documentary explains that a tuft made of blue fibres was found in the mouth and helped police find her killer. 

Vina Patel, 51 years old, was found dead at her Leicester office, Cort and Co solicitors, on January 15, 2009. 

Her husband and daughter found her body at the bottom of the staircase. It looked like a fall. Police suspect foul play. 

BBC’s Expert Witness examined the police investigation again, focusing on Professor Roger Robson’s work, who is a leading expert in the forensic analysis of textile fibres and hairs. He has over 40 years of expertise.  
Solicitor Vina Patel, 51, was found dead in her office in Leicester, on January 15, 2009. Her body was discovered by her husband, pictured, and daughter at the bottom of the staircase

Vina Patel, 51 years old, was found dead at her Leicester office on January 15, 2009. Her husband (pictured) and her daughter (at the bottom of the stairs discovered her body. 

Professor Jobson was able analyse the distinctive blue fibres that were found on Vina’s corpse. This helped to tie Vina’s murder to John Cort who had hired a hitman for a life assurance payout.  

Professor Jobson stated, “It’s amazing how a tiny thread of a few fibers can lead to all kinds of evidence and may even crack case for investigators.” 

Vina’s murder case was investigated by forensic investigators who found blue fibre tufts ‘hanging out her mouth’ and a’sticking between her fingers’ on one hand.     

Professor Jobson continued: “The inference.” [was]Somebody had either used something to contain her, or perhaps wrapped her over her head. 

‘Or, if she were murdered and the body was left in situ to make it seem like an accident. 

“Every contact leaves behind a trace” so we are trying to look at clothing items from the victim. Each fibre has had a different journey from its manufacturing stage to the point where it is found. This can give it some individuality.

Crucial clue: Blue fibre (seen in stock image) proved integral to solving the murder case

Crucial clue: The murder case was solved by the blue fibre (see stock image).

Professor Jobson first examined the morphology, cross sectional shape, colour, and chemical composition of both fibre samples to determine if they were the same material. 

He said that it was easy to identify the fibres. “They were blue nylon, which is a nylon-like substance used to make hard-wearing carpets and rugs. 

“But they were so unusual because they were extremely thin. I had never seen these polypropylene fibres before.

Next, we had to rule out the possibility that the fibres were simply being transferred from something she had in her home or office. After this, it was much more likely that the fibres were linked with her perpetrator. 

A detailed examination revealed that the fibre was contaminated with a fish-eye extrusion mark.Professor Jobson explained that the marker is similar to a fingerprint and specific to a brand. It could have allowed him to trace the material back at the manufacturer. 

He began his career in Bradford with a company. 

He said, “They put together their technical team and by the end the first day, they knew that they could eliminate themselves.” They eventually tracked the fibre to its source, a ‘little factory in India. 

Expert witness: The police investigation was re-examined in BBC's Expert Witness, which focused on the work of Professor Roger Robson, pictured, a leading expert in the forensic examination of textile fibres and hairs, with over 40 years of experience

Expert witness: The BBC’s Expert Witness examined the police investigation again. This time, it focused on the work and expertise of Professor Roger Robson (pictured), a leading expert on the forensic examinations textile fibres/hairs. Robson has over 40 years experience.

“They had a conversation to the managing director, and they discovered that this man had been using very fine polypropylene fibres to make small rugs.

They were not exporting them into the UK or Europe, but rather to one outlet in Jamaica.

Police also looked into John Cort’s business dealings, a close friend for over 30 years. 

Cort had a lavish lifestyle that was well beyond his means. He owned two flats in west London and a penthouse in Leicester, as well paid for luxury London hotel stays. 

Weeks before Mrs Patel’s death he had persuaded her they should up their life assurance cover from £500,000 to £1.5 million, claiming he had a serious illness. 

More than £650,000 had gone missing from the company’s client account, which should have been paid to customers or mortgage lenders. He also took £1.1million out of the business, the BBC claimed.

Vina’s DNA was closely related to Brian Farrell, who was described by BBC as a friend and sometimes lover Cort. 

Professor Jobson was able to analyse distinctive blue fibres found on Vina's body, eventually helping to tie her murder to her business partner John Cort, pictured

He hired hitman Brian Farrell (pictured) to carry out the killing so he could get a life assurance payout

Professor Jobson was able analyse the distinctive blue fibres found on Vina’s body and tie it to John Cort, left, her business partner. Brian Farrell, right, had been hired by Brian Cort (right) to execute the killing in order to get a life insurance payout.

Farrell admitted to police that he had been in the Office and had been having sex with Cort. So it was possible that Vina’s DNA had somehow been transferred to him shortly before his death. 

This explained why his DNA would not be sufficient to tie him or Cort to the crime. 

Investigations revealed that Farrell had recently returned to Jamaica, the only country where the Indian factory exported. 

Police believe he bought the rug during his visit to the UK and then returned with it to the UK. Vina was then wrapped in the rug. 

The evidence in court suggested that she had fallen either because she was being attacked or because she had been attacked. After that, her body made it seem like an accident. 

John Cort, Leicester, and Brian Farrell of west London were found guilty of the murder of Mrs Patel in May 2010. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Mrs Justice Linda Dobbs gave them the following information: Cort was sentenced to a minimum of 29 years, Farrell to 28 years. Farrell was sentenced to 28 years.

The Nottingham Crown Court trial heard that Cort was in debt and hired Farrell as a murder victim to get a huge life insurance payout.

The unique blue fibres held the case together.  

Professor Jobson stated that ‘Just a few tufts can take you from India to India to Jamaica to Jamaica to then back to Leicester. 

“It just illustrates the powerful inferences that fibre can make to an investigation.

Expert Witness is available to view on iPlayer