February 7, 2024

Case Work: Why an investigative mindset matters in Digital Forensics

CCL Digital Forensic analysts help solve a criminal investigation into child abuse providing evidence for an arrest.


A mother was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and her phone was subject to examination by one of CCL’s mobile analysts at the request of the investigating team.


The analyst recovered 1st generation child abuse images and videos from the phone, with the application usage logs determining when the camera was in use and proving consistent with the timestamps of the illegal files. The adult captured abusing the child in the images and videos was wearing a very distinctive blue nail varnish but was otherwise unidentifiable. Given this quite singular finding, the analyst extended her review, finding other ‘family’ photos and videos on the phone that showed the child’s mother wearing the same nail varnish. Furthermore, an examination of Kik instant messages revealed that the mother was in communication with an external party before and during the filmed abuse, with the external party passing on instructions to her.


As a result, the analyst immediately alerted the force and the child was safeguarded, with the digital evidence ultimately supporting the prosecution of the mother and also informing a separate investigation into the external party. This case is an excellent example of the calibre of CCL analysts and why we draw on our own law enforcement background to help develop this invaluable ‘investigative’ mindset. While always keeping to APCO guidelines and Code of Practice standards, analysts are encouraged to look around and dig deeper if that will help elicit more evidence or shine a light on a potential line of enquiry. It’s about missing nothing that matters.

Read more about our Digital Forensics work: Case Work: Advanced extraction keeps investigation on track

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