The Fingerprints

The two most prominent prints on Folien 1 are the left index (fore) finger and the right thumb. Both pointing to the left in positive view.

We ask the very simple question: Considering that a drinking glass is round, surely this means that prints will be smaller and shorter than normal flat prints? Because the surface of the round glass curves away from the finger cushion, there will be a smaller recordable area. Even if you press very hard, the print will always be significantly (around 15-20%) shorter than the full length print (flat print). The traced image below illustrates the very basic principle why a print on a drinking glass will be shorter than a full flat print.

The animations and illustrations below show what happens to a fingerprint (of the same finger) when lifting a round and weighted drinking glass. The flat print measures about 26 mm, the glass print measures about 20 mm. A very significant 6 mm difference. Then there is the curve between the two phalanxes as well as a distortion of the finger’s cushion.

Although the images below (of the ten-print known prints to the left and Folien 1 to the right) have been reduced to fit the screen, cross over and respective scales stayed intact. It clearly shows that the print of the left index finger on Folien 1 did not foreshorten, as Pat Wertheim claimed. He was right to imply that it should be foreshortened if the print was deposited on a drinking glass, but it is not. It did not foreshorten.

It is a simple, measurable and conclusive fact that the left index print on Folien 1 is the same length as the known flat print. It did not get any shorter. Therefore it cannot be a print from a round and weighted drinking glass.

Although Folien 1’s print looks somewhat like the silhouette of a finger if you view it through the glass, it is important to note that only the pink part will touch the glass, forming a smooth tear-like print facing downwards. You can test it yourself: pick up a drinking glass with some water in. There is no reason for the circled tip to be recorded. Note how the core and delta shifts down in the print (the blue dots on the finger to the left).

The right thumb print is also too big to be from a curved glass surface. The upper tip and lower bottom part of the thumb’s cushion simply will not touch the surface of the glass. The images below show a similar size print on a drinking glass and a DVD cover. Pick up a glass and look at the size and angle of the print.

Summary: Because of weight and resulting friction, the left index finger will be curved between the first and second phalanxes. The print will be shorter and rolled onto the upper part of the finger. This simply is not the case with the Folien 1 print. The cushion of the finger was not affected by weight and friction.

It is important to note that Pat Wertheim did not use the known print (the ten-print police prints) when he made the statement that the left index is “foreshortened, curved and rolled onto a side”. He is right, it should have been the case, but was not. The fact that Pat Wertheim had the ten-print card at his disposal, as he mentions in his report, does not mean he used it. His report contains no evidence that he used the flat print for comparison purposes to substantiate his claim.

It may be argued that it was not necessary to use the known print, as the source of the prints was known (to be that of Fred van der Vyver). However, it was important for the following reason: If someone shows you a stick and ask whether it is foreshortened, how will you know if you do not know how long the stick is supposed to be – thus, how long the original stick was? In order to make any finding on the length of a particular print, you must use the known flat print as reference, because this will tell you the original length of the print. Pat Wertheim did not use the known flat print as reference. Contradicting Wertheim, Arie Zeelenberg shows on Slide 71 and 72 (Part 2) of his court testimony that the index print on Folien 1 is the same length as the known print – thereby confirming that the print didn’t foreshorten. By implication Arie Zeelenberg is of the opinion that a print does not need to be foreshortened to be from drinking glass. That a print on a drinking glass will significantly foreshorten can be proven by means of simple experiments over and over again.

The bottom line is that these prints on Folien 1 are simply too big and too long and to straight to have been deposited on a round surface, such as a drinking glass. They are prints that were deposited on a flat surface.

Above: Top, a print left after holding a flat piece of plastic in a very reasonable way, and the same as you may hold a DVD cover. The print on the paper is the on-scale Folien 1 print (which the defence said came from a drinking glass) and the print on the flat piece of plastic just below the paper is a print left after it was held like the finger is holding the piece of plastic just below the powder print. Compare the top edges of the prints, the bellies at the bottom, and the tips of the prints – nearly identical. To be noted is that the test finger is very much the same as the accused’s print with regard to length and class.

Very important: The print maintained its full length (when you compare it with the known print).

(To those saying we are forcing a position and way of holding a DVD cover – why can Pat Wertheim suggest a way of handling a drinking glass and not us of a DVD cover? We simply looked at one very reasonable way of handling a thin, flat object.)

Above: A print on a drinking glass (when held in a reasonable way like displayed by the finger to the bottom) compared to the Folien 1 print. The powder print is clearly much shorter and drop-shaped than the Folien 1 print. The curve between the second and first phalanxes is also notable.

Very important: A print on a drinking glass – as shown here – will always lose some length – about 15-20% (up to 5-6 mm). This is simply because the glass curves away from the finger and the touchable and recordable area decreases as a result.

It is a measureable fact that the Folien 1 print did not lose any length as compared to the ten-print known print – therefore it was not deposited on a round surface (where it would certainly have lost length.)

If you dispute the exercise above, please do it yourself.

Above: Which one would you say made the Folien 1 print? Left or right?

Read more about Folien 1 here – and please make sure to read Professor Visser’s report.