Meet the Team
Meet the team from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine who were involved in solving the mystery of Ned Kelly’s remains.
Associate Professor David Ranson
Forensic pathologist and Deputy Director of VIFM
David provided forensic pathology input to the investigation and was the scientific project leader, overseeing the investigation.
Ms Fiona Leahy
Senior Medico-legal Officer at VIFM. Fiona has coordinated the legal and historical aspects of the investigation. Fiona has undertaken research around the relevant historical legislation and, with the help of Helen Harris, a professional historian contracted to assist with the project, searched for material to guide and support the scientific investigations.
Dr Richard Bassed
Richard is a Forensic Odontologist, (dentist who applies their skills and knowledge to the law). Recently completed his PhD here at VIFM. He was responsible for investigating the provenance of the ‘Baxter skull’. This involved using photo superimposition, including 3D imaging to compare the skull to historical images and information.
Dr Tony Hill
Tony is a forensic odontologist, dentist who applies his skills and knowledge to the law. Tony was also involved in checking the provenance of the Baxter skull. Tony was responsible for examining the skull and the tooth recovered from the Ott family
Dr Dadna Hartman
Dadna is the Manager of the VIFM molecular biology (DNA) laboratory. She and her staff were responsible for the assessment and testing of the blood sample provided by Lee Olver, a descendant of the Kelly family. Dadna liaised with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) whose genetic laboratory undertook the DNA analysis of the bone samples. The matching of the profiles from the blood and bone samples led to the identification of Ned’s remains.
Professor Chris Briggs
Chris is Head of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Melbourne University. He is also consultant forensic anthropologist for the VIFM. Chris’ role at the VIFM is to assist with the identification of skeletal remains by examining them to estimate ancestry, determine sex, and estimate age and stature. He is also able to make an interpretation of injury and disease processes. These were the skill that he brought to the investigation into the remains exhumed from Pentridge.
Dr Soren Blau
Soren is the Senior Anthropologist at the VIFM. She examines and analyses human skeletal remains to attempt to provide information about the ancestry, sex, age and stature of the person when they were alive. In cases where there is evidence of skeletal alterations, Soren’s role as an anthropologist is to attempt to determine whether the alterations are evidence of pathology or trauma, and where possible, comment on whether the trauma occurred while the individual was alive (ante-mortem), around the time of death (peri-mortem) or whether the defect was in fact a post-mortem artifact. These skills were applied to the investigation of the human remains exhumed from Pentridge and provided support for the confirmation of the identification of Ned Kelly’s remains.
Ms Deb Withers
Media Consultant to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Co-Producer for ‘Ned’s Head’ documentary (SBS ONE, 7:30pm, 4 September 2011).