SMS forensics
September 20th, 2008

In February this year, a man was convicted of murder partly on evidence relating to his texting style.

[by way of Stuart Houghton’s Pocketpicks]

After David Hodgson killed his girlfriend – nineteen year old Jenny Nicholl – he attempted to make it seem as though she was still alive by sending text messages from her phone. At trial, a team from the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University were able to show that the messages more closely resembled Hodgson’s own style of SMS usage.

The team used statistical techniques to compare samples of texts sent by Nicholl, those from Hodgson’s phone and those sent from Nicholl’s phone after her death.

“A linguistic analysis showed that text messages sent from her phone were unlikely to have been written by her but, rather, were more likely to have been written by Hodgson,” said Aston Uni’s Tim Grant.


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