Professor Lorna Dawson, head of soil forensics at the James Hutton Institute and SEFARI advisor on the Scottish Government's Strategic Research Programme 2016-2012, was awarded the Pride of Britain award in the Special Recognition category for her pioneering work in soil forensics. (Photo: Courtesy of the James Hutton Institute)

She's a “Soil sleuth” who has pioneered forensic techniques that have helped solve more than 100 crimes, and put some of the UK’s most notorious killers behind bars.

While studying in Edinburgh, Lorna Dawson was gripped by a crime that happened on her own doorstep.

On a Saturday night in October 1977, she was asleep in her university halls of residence when 17-year-olds Helen Scott and Christine Eadie were murdered after a night out at the city’s World’s End pub.

The killer was not found, but Lorna never forgot the case, and nearly 40 years later, after becoming one of the country’s leading forensic scientists, she uncovered the vital evidence that finally nailed the killer.

Lorna says: “The World’s End case made me feel vulnerable because the perpetrator was never found. I was a student back then and I had just got off the farm in the countryside, where there was very little crime. I would often go to the area where the World’s End pub was with my friends. None of the girls at the university would walk back alone after the murders.”

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