Apple Watch heart rate data provides vital evidence in murder trial

Apple's smartwatch gives Australian police a helping hand
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Wearables are in the courtroom once again as data from an Apple Watch could help explain what happened in a murder trial in Australia.

Heart rate data recorded on the smartwatch could potentially help establish a timeline and explanation of the death of Myrna Nilsson in Perth, Australia.

Read this: 6 stories when wearables helped save the day

Caroline Nilsson, her daughter-in-law who is on trial for murder, has claimed that her mother-in-law was ambushed at her home and tied up by a group of men who followed her home in a car.

Prosecutors however have cast doubt on the story and are using data from an Apple Watch worn by the mother-in-law to indicate that she wasn't in fact ambushed when she arrived at her home and actually died hours earlier than her daughter-in-law claims.

Ms Nilsson said that an argument took place between the men and her mother-in-law for 20 minutes but she did not hear the fatal attack because she was in the kitchen with the door closed. The police were alerted by a neighbour after Ms Nilsson had appeared from the house gagged and distressed as she had managed to escape after the men left.

According to prosecutors, the heart rate data recorded by the Apple Watch worn by Myrna Nilsson is consistent with a person going into shock and losing consciousness, adding that the attack and subsequent death happened earlier than suggested.

If the Apple Watch evidence is accepted, that would point to the attack happening over three hours before Ms Nilsson said she emerged from the house.

This isn't the first time that a wearable has provided an potentially vital insight into a murder case. In 2017, Fitbit data was used as part of a case involving a man accused of murdering his wife. The data from a Fitbit, which indicated the last movements of Connie Dabate appeared to conflict with the time her husband Richard Dabate said his wife had been killed by intruders.

The trial of Ms Nilsson is set to continue in June.

Source: BBC

Apple Watch heart rate data provides vital evidence in murder trial

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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