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Late on August 28, 1993 the parents and eldest son of a Sydney family were stabbed to death in their family home.  On the basis of admissions and material evidence the court convicted the youngest son, Jeffrey Gilham, for the manslaughter of his older brother, who it was said had killed his parents. Gilham was released on bond and remained a free man for nearly one and a half decades, however following settlement of the murdered parents Last Will the Supreme Court assembled in 2006 to retry Gilham on emerging new information, a case that was over-turned by the jury who were unable to reach a verdict.  


Despite diminishing evidence Gilham was yet again retried in 2008, with a jury siding toward the prosecutors case of "unexplained intervals" in the chronology of events.  Gilham was convicted to serve two life sentences for the murder of his parents.  With another appeal set for November, 2011 this notorious case has raised as many questions around the quality of evidence as have been raised about the influence in human interperetation of that evidence.  


Like many such complex cases the material evidence is only as good as the contextual influence with which it is presented to the court.  




Due to the complexity of this case it was clear that to understand the events in their full context accurate 3D modelling and visualisation of the crime scene was required.  As a research tool forensic animation is an invaluable way to understand time and distance relationships of the available evidence, as well as to see the events from the eyes of the various family members on that tragic evening.


However, developing this research visualisation warranted more than just building some 3D models in a virtual scenario.  While modelling was constrained to limited available evidence and stated information, it was the assembly of this evidence in the context of environment and time that allowed less unambiguous vizualisation of relative events.   In this research reconstruction there were three primary considerations:  


Firstly, the computer reproduction of the evidence must technically represent real-world physics so that the visualisation conforms scientifically with the evidence submitted by expert witnesses.  For example; animation of fire impact evidence needed to analytically apply combustion science engineering and analysis so that all elements of fire-linked evidence are represented in a scientifically accurate and plausible manner. 


Secondly, the computer generated modelling had to accurately represent relative time-motion-distance relationships of all available evidence.  It contiguously links multiple layers of physical or material, testimonial and demonstrative evidence within the real-world environment to ensure that the visualisation is conclusively probable and trustworthy. 


And lastly, the testimonies and material or subservient evidence must be assembled chronologically with painstaking care so that the facts remain cohesive and flow logically.   The research modelling was intended to provide an easy to understand visualisation of events, environments and situations that encompassed the evidence and the perspectives of family members in a way that cross-linked all factual information to help eliminate improbabilities that may confuse or conflict the appeal.


Watch the ABC's - Australian Story coverage of this baffling case here:


Whether your needs are for scene or scenario recreation, clear and concise depositions or testimonials, activity documentaries, visual proof of damage, pre-construction or technical education Ripple have a team of fully qualified videographers and animation artists, as well as the specialist tools and equipment necessary to make your case.    Learn more about Forensic Animation and Videography for Law and Science here >






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