While I've been here...

photo of a postcard of Dallas, Texas with Kennedy

Chris Longbottom has devoted his professional career to researching tooth decay. But away from the chair, the lecturer in paediatric dentistry has put his physiological skills to an altogether different use...

The assassination of US President John F Kennedy sparked a 35-year obsession in Chris and he is now regarded as a British authority on the forensics of the case.

Chris's fascination with the shooting on November 22 1963 was born in the mid 1960s when as a dental student here at the University of Dundee he came across a newspaper article focussing on growing speculation that there was more to the shooting than there first seemed.

"People were beginning to realise that the evidence just didn't seem to tally," said Chris. 'A great debate exploded on the "single bullet theory" and as a dental student, studying anatomy and physiology, I found it immensely intriguing."

The "single bullet theory" lies at the crux of the controversy over Kennedy's murder, which still rumbles on today. The official body which investigated the assassination concluded that lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald could have fired the purported number of shots from his position at the book depository window, and that one of the bullets fired that fateful day hit both Kennedy and Governor John Connally who was sitting in front of the President as their limousine toured the streets of Dallas.

Given the location of Kennedy and Connally's wounds, the bullet would have had to change course several times - something which many still maintain is impossible. A second gunman must have been present, say the conspiracy theorists, shooting from the notorious grassy knoll.

Captivated by the mystery, Chris spent hours examining any documentary evidence available and in 1969 was one of the few people in this country to obtain a copy of the infamous Zapruder film, the amateur video footage which captured the brutal shooting of the President. He has consulted Dr Charles Crenshaw, the Dallas hospital trauma room doctor who examined Kennedy's body and has made the trip to Dallas to see Dealey plaza, the scene of the shooting, for himself.

After qualifying in 1971 he took two months away from dentistry tow write a detailed medical manuscript on the case, which has formed the basis of the numerous lectures he has given over the last thirty years.

His investigations have brought him to the conclusion that the shots which killed Kennedy did indeed come from the book depository window, but he is reluctant to speculate on Oswald's motivation for the crime.

"That is something I'll never know, not even in another 35 years!"

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