I was born in South Wales but lived in London between 1960 and 1966. I then moved to Surrey in 1966 and have in this county ever since. I obtained a first class honours degree at King's College London, a Ph.D. from The University of Aberdeen, and an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Gloucestershire. I was a researcher and lecturer in Microbial Ecology and Palynology at King's College London and left in 1988, retaining an honorary lectureship until 1993. I lectured in Ecology and Conservation for the Extra-Mural Department of Birkbeck College London University from 1983-1996.
I was at University College London from 1988 to 2003 and worked as an Environmental Archaeologist on important archaeological sites all over the UK. While engaged in archaeological work, I became involved in forensic science, and this led to my setting up, and coordinating, an M.Sc. course in Forensic Archaeological Science at UCL. I retained an honorary lectureship at ULC until 2004 after which I became a consultant in forensic ecology, botany, and palynology. I was a research associate at the University of Gloucestershire between 2004 and 2015. I am an honorary research fellow of the University of Aberdeen (2006-ongoing), research associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and visiting professor at the University of Southampton (2015-ongoing), where I am involved in an active research programme. I have lectured on forensic courses in many UK Universities including Oxford, Strathclyde, King's College London, Cranfield, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, University of the West of England, and others.
I have also lectured at universities, forensic institutes, and police forces overseas, including at Syracuse, Tennessee, Lausanne, Madrid, Medellin (Colombia), Netherlands, Canberra, Wellington (NZ), and others. I continue to present my work for professional bodies such as the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Pathologists, and at conferences in the UK, and abroad, including at Los Angeles, The Hague, Madeira, Uppsala, New Jersey and others. I am currently contributing to a series of seven workshops for the Coroners of England and Wales.
I have worked with every police force in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Eire and helped police forces in Europe. I have run independent training courses for British police and taught at most of the police training colleges in the UK. I have worked on very many high profile criminal cases, and am an experienced expert witness. I work for both the Prosecution and Defence, and have undertaken work in civil investigations.
I have an extensive publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals and books, and have written guidelines for police in environmental forensic work, particularly at the crime scene. I am an editor of the scientific journal "Forensic Science International" and frequently act as reviewer of scientific submissions to several academic journals. I have contributed to radio and television programmes on many occasions, and have written popular articles on environmental topics for the press. From time to time, I give lectures to local interest groups.
I have wide interests in environmental affairs, particularly in soils and terrestrial habitats, such as ancient woodland and grassland. Mole Valley is richly endowed with species-rich landscapes, and I am concerned with preserving these for future generations. I am also concerned with the trees and other plants in the built environment, especially those which come under the remit of MVDC. With my husband, David Hawksworth, I was involved with the Green Belt Boundary Review and Neighbourhood Development Plan as a member of Ashtead Community Vision, and Ashtead Neighbourhood Forum.
I was a founder member of St Stephen's House Surgery Patient Participation Group (PPG) in 2010, and continue to be an active member. I was later appointed by the Surrey Downs
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