I offer forensic linguistic consultancy for cases of authorship analysis and I also work on historical cases of disputed authorship.
Authorship analysis is the application of linguistic methods to shed light on the authorship of a questioned text. For instance, it can be used to indicate the most likely author of a text from a sample of suspects or the most likely demographic details of an anonymous author. These techniques are commonly adopted in forensic linguistics to solve cases of disputed authorship, including cases of threatening, abusive, or generally malicious texts.
Most of my research and teaching is dedicated to authorship analysis for forensic linguistics. I regularly apply my research to real-life case work for private clients and law enforcement units and I also work on the application of authorship analysis to historical problems of authorship.
The topic of my PhD thesis is authorship profiling, or the use of linguistics to infer characteristics of the anonymous author of a text from their style of writing.
Here is a sample of forensic or historical cases I have worked on:
The Jack the Ripper letters – The name ‘Jack the Ripper’ comes from one of the more than 200 letters that were received during and after the Whitechapel murders. The most supported theory is that this letter that introduces the persona of ‘Jack the Ripper’ was actually fabricated by journalists. The results of my research indicate that the author of this letter also wrote two more letters out of these 200, one of which is believed to be fabricated by the Central News Agency.
The Bixby letter – A famous letter of condolence written in 1864 and sent by Abraham Lincoln to Lydia Bixby of Boston, who had lost her sons during the Civil War. Some historians believe that Lincoln’s personal secretary, John Hay, was the real author.
The Sony Pictures hack case – In November 2014 a group of hackers retrieved and illegally distributed documents, films, and confidential material from Sony. The hackers also left some messages, some of which threatened terrorist attacks. Together with colleagues and MA students at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University I carried out an analysis aimed at profiling the most likely first language of the author(s).
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms – A declaration supporting the American Revolution written in 1775. Although most of the scholars believe that the Declaration was written by John Dickinson and based on an earlier draft written by Thomas Jefferson, the authorship of the Declaration is disputed.
If you require consultancy on forensic or historical authorship problems please contact me via email at email@example.com or fill in the form below.