Real Silent Witness, The [Radio Wales]


2018040520180408 (RW)

Forensic pathologist Derrick Pounder reveals his role in investigating major crimes.

Welsh forensic pathologist Professor Derrick Pounder opens his case files to reveal his pivotal role in the investigation of some of the world's biggest crimes.

"We're in the business of investigating the dead in order to assist the living," says Derrick. In this programme the Pontypridd-born Professor reflects on a career that has taken him across the world and into the heart of some of the biggest murder cases and history's most mysterious deaths.

He revisits key cases and the part he played in investigating the evidence - including the story of Doctor Harold Shipman, the most notorious serial killer in British history who is thought to have murdered more than 220 of his patients. Derrick recalls how he had to prove Shipman administered lethal doses of morphine with very little pathological evidence to go on. He also reveals the mind games Shipman played in his personal dealings with him.

The programme explores how Derrick's belief in science and his commitment to the truth has not wavered, despite being subjected to political pressure. He revisits his key human rights cases which have taken him across the world from South America to the Middle East.

Closer to home, we hear how his most controversial case almost lost him his career. He courted establishment disapproval when, in 1987, he agreed to act for the families of the three Provisional IRA members shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar.

And he describes how he has been asked to reopen the historical case files that still capture the public imagination - including the death of Rasputin and the identity of Jack the Ripper.