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One day in 2006, Sue Black, a professor at the University of Dundee's department of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology, received a phone call from a man called Nick Marsh. He was a forensic photographer who had worked with Black 17 years earlier as part of a team sent by the Foreign Office to examine the bodies of victims of war crimes in Kosovo. Marsh knew that Black had a talent for identifying people from scraps of flesh and bone. Now he had evidence of a different kind and wondered if she could help.

The piece of evidence was an eight-second-long digital video clip. Marsh had been working on a case involving a teenage girl who had alleged that her father had been coming into her bedroom at night to molest her. When her mother refused to believe her, the girl left her webcam running all night, pointed at her bed. The camera captured a person's hand and forearm touching her. Her father denied that he was the person in the video. "It was one of the spookiest and scariest things that I have ever seen," explains Black. "A real sort of horror movie."

Marsh asked Black if there was a way to identify the perpetrator. She didn't have clue. "I'd never done anything like that before. I'd never identified anyone using a hand," she says. But after studying the footage, Black noticed something that had escaped her before: the veins on the back of the man's hand were visible.

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