True crime: The science of psychopaths and forensics

Mar 16, 2022 · London, United Kingdom
A night of crime with New Scientist. Find out what really makes a psychopath and the true science behind forensic investigations ..

New Scientist present …

True crime: the science of psychopaths and forensics

Join leading psychopath expert Mark Freestone, who helped create Killing Eve's Villanelle and forensic chemist Niamh Nic Daeid, forensic advisor to crime writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, for a darkly compelling evening of true crime.


The Psychopath Spectrum

Mark Freestone

Find out what truly makes a psychopath, from the leading expert who helped to create Killing Eve’s Villanelle. Mark Freestone has worked on some of the most interesting, infamous and disturbing psychopath cases of recent times and is now sharing his phenomenal insight.

The archetypal psychopath, immortalised in crime movies, is a cold criminal: lacking empathy or remorse, with a calculating streak, callously using others for their own ends. Yet evidence for the existence of psychopathy as a single, unidimensional scale, as it is usually measured, is surprisingly thin. It seems more likely that there is a spectrum of psychopathic disorders that someone may exhibit, depending on their childhood experiences, genetic makeup, and brain structure. In this talk, Mark will present the evidence for this spectrum and its implications for how we understand and treat ‘psychopaths’.

Dr Mark Freestone is Reader in Mental Health at Queen Mary University of London and Author of ‘Making a Psychopath’ (2020). Following a background in social science, he has since come to work mainly in the field of forensic mental health, conducting both epidemiological and health services research into the efficacy of treatments for offenders. He is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at East London NHS Foundation Trust and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. He has also consulted on forensic mental health issues for NHS England and recently the BBC America drama series Killing Eve.

Forensic Science – stranger than fiction

Niamh Nic Daeid

Over recent years there has been an increasing concern about the validity and robustness of the science underpinning some of the most known types of forensic evidence. From fingerprints to ballistics and shoeprints to DNA, all are now facing unprecedented challenges in our courts. It is critically important that the scientific analysis of materials are presented fairly and that the limitations of such evidence are fully communicated to the jury or decisionmakers, so that justice can be best served and we will discuss some of these limitations and how we can tackle them together.

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid is director of the award winning Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee. She grew up in Ireland in a family of scientists who were involved in the investigation of fires. From an early age she learned that science could be used as a real world practical problem-solving tool from which you could make a living. Her academic work as a forensic scientist undertakes casework in fire investigations, terrorist events and the illegal manufacture of drugs. She is good friends with crime writer Val McDermid and even inspired a character in her fiction.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and holds fellowships with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, the Royal Statistical Society, the UK Association of Fire Investigators and the Chartered Society of Forensic Science. She also works with many national and international organisations including the Home Office, INTERPOL, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations. She has received many awards for her work including the Stephen Fry Award for public engagement, the ENFSI Distinguished Forensic Scientist award and the Peter Ganci award for services to fire investigation.

Event Timings:

Doors: 6.30pm

Talks start: 7.00pm

Close: 9.00pm

Booking information:

The event will be held at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL.

Doors will open at 6.30pm with talks commencing at 7.00 pm. The event will finish at 9.00pm.

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