25 years later, Prof's pioneering discovery is still making history
Today marks 25 years since the arrest of a paedophile killer due to a scientific discovery - made in Leicester - which revolutionised criminal justice around the world.
On September 19, 1987, Colin Pitchfork, of Littlethorpe, was arrested for the rape and murder of schoolgirls Lynda Mann, of Narborough, and Dawn Ashworth, of Enderby.
Pitchfork was snared after more than 4,500 men from around Narborough gave DNA samples to police. Pitchfork was linked to both murders and was jailed for life in 1988, becoming the world's first criminal to be convicted due to DNA fingerprinting.
Just last week, it was announced that after 527 years, the suspected remains of King Richard III had been discovered under a car park in Grey Friars, Leicester.
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Both these historic events are victories for the University of Leicester, not only for its School of Archaeological Services who revealed the suspected regal remains, but also for its Department of Genetics – more specifically, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys.
It was he who invented the DNA fingerprinting process that caught Pitchfork and also the DNA profiling process which will determine if the discovered remains are that of the long lost king.
Prof Jeffreys was born in 1950. After growing up in Luton, he went on to graduate from Merton College, Oxford, with a first class honours degree in biochemistry.
He moved to the University of Leicester in 1977, and in September 1984, discovered a method of showing variations between individual's DNA, leading to genetic fingerprinting.
The following year, Prof Jeffreys and his team also developed DNA profiling.
In recognition of his scientific breakthroughs, Prof Jeffreys was made an honorary freeman of Leicester in 1992 and knighted for Services to Science and Technology in 1994.
He has also received a score of awards, ranging from Midlander of the Year to the Albert Einstein World Award of Science.
Resident in the county for 35 years, Prof Jeffreys is a true Leicestershire hero.
Meanwhile, we eagerly await the DNA profiling results of the Grey Friars discovery - potentially one of the most exciting archaeological finds in British history.