Preview: Catching Britain’s Killers: The Crimes That Changed Us

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys. Invented DNA fingerprinting, which was first used to solve the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in the 1980s, and created the field of forensic DNA.

Crime documentary following three unique murder investigations – and their extraordinary consequences.

There are more than 500 murders in Britain each year. Every murder is a tragedy, sending shockwaves through families and communities, but some have an impact that no one could have predicted. This new series reveals the extraordinary outcomes of three murder investigations that sparked an incredible chain of events, overturning laws, transforming police interrogation and revolutionising forensic detection.

This episode begins in Leicestershire in the 1980s. In 1983 and then 1986, the villages of Narborough and Enderby were shaken by the murders of two local teenage girls, who were attacked and killed in very similar circumstances.

Weaving together archive and interviews with police officers, local journalists, forensic scientists as well as friends and close relatives of the victims, this programme tells the story of the investigation, and how the struggle to find the killer would lead to the very first use of a brand new forensic science: DNA fingerprinting.

Following its use in the Leicestershire murders investigation, this episode explores the creation of Britain’s DNA database – a world first – as well as the development and evolution of this investigative tool which would lead to convictions for crimes that had, until then, been impossible to solve.

Exploring the ripples of one single investigation and the coincidences and twists and turns that led to this historic breakthrough, the programme paints a portrait of the 1980s as well as revealing the unforeseen, unfolding consequences of this pivotal investigation that has changed crime detection around the world.

Catching Britain’s Killers: The Crimes That Changed Us – Wednesday at 9.00pm on BBC2.