The Duckmanton murder and abandoned DNA

Publication Date 
16 February 2018

It seems likely that a DNA profile will be an important piece of evidence in the Renee Duckmanton murder trial.

Interestingly, Police obtained the DNA sample of murder suspect Sainey Marong after a Judge issued a search warrant and went undercover as potential homebuyers at his flat’s open home. When there, went into his bedroom and took his comb and cap to get his DNA.

Everyone leaves behind DNA – whether it is hairs on a cap or comb, lipstick on a disposable coffee cup or any number of other ways. Your DNA contains vast amounts of information about who you are as a person. As science advances we are able to read more of that information: people’s hair colour, eye colour, age, ethnicity, family relationships and genetic health.

We recently discussed this issue of abandoned DNA – DNA that people leave lying around – in a short podcast: When is your DNA private and when should the police be allowed to collect it without you knowing?

Currently, the Law Commission is reviewing how the police should use DNA to investigate crime. Police collecting and using abandoned DNA is one of the issues we are considering.

We do not know what the answer is yet. But it is an interesting question. It is important that we design a law that allows Police to investigate crime and also respects people’s privacy.

If you want to share your thoughts visit our DNA and Crime website or email us at