Xanthé Mallett

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Xanthé Mallett
Xanthé Danielle Mallett

(1976-12-17) 17 December 1976 (age 42)
Alma materSheffield PhD, 2007
Cambridge MA, 2003
Bradford BA, 2002
Occupationforensic anthropologist, criminologist, TV presenter
Notable work
Mothers Who Murder, History Cold Case, Coast Australia

Xanthé Danielle Mallett (/ˈzænθi/; born 17 December 1976) is a Scottish forensic anthropologist, criminologist and television presenter.[1] She specialises in human craniofacial biometrics and hand identification, and behaviour patterns of paedophiles, particularly online.[2] She is a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.


Mallett was born in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute and grew up in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.[3] Her father was an engineer and her mother a former dancer. Mallet herself was a dancer, and from age 9 attended the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire. She was also active in other sports, such as tennis, and planned to take a degree in physical education. However, a car accident severely damaged her knee and required 10 surgeries.[4]

She received her bachelor's degree in archaeology from the University of Bradford, a master's degree in anthropology at the University of Cambridge and her doctorate in biological anthropology from the University of Sheffield.[4]

For five years, she worked at the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee, Scotland,[3] where she was also a professor of anthropology.[4][5] Mallet stated that her interest in criminology began to increase, which led her to move to Australia in 2012. "My casework experience helped me to realise that I was becoming more interested in investigating the behaviours behind the crimes, rather than identifying the victims and offenders from physical evidence they leave behind," she said. She was a senior lecturer at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales,[6] before taking the same role at the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, New South Wales.[7]

Mallett has been published in various academic journals including the International Journal of Legal Medicine and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. In 2014, she published the book Mothers Who Murder: And Infamous Miscarriages of Justice about mothers who kill their own children.[8]


Mallett worked as a forensic anthropologist on the BBC2 series History Cold Case in 2010-2011. The series involved Mallett and other experts working to find cause of death for human remains dating from Roman times to Victorian England. She also starred in the U.S. version of the series, which aired on the National Geographic Channel as The Decrypters.[9]

In Australia, Mallett presented the series Wanted in 2013 and is a co-host of Coast Australia.

In 2014, she presented a television special, Mothers Who Murder, on Channel Ten that coincided with the release of her book.[10] In the special, she met with families and police to investigate what led to the murders.[11] One of the women she profiled was Rachel Pfitzner, who killed her 2-year-old son, Dean Shillingsworth, in 2007.


  • Mallett, Xanthé; Blythe, Teri; Berry, Rachel (2014). Advances in Forensic Human Identification. Amazon. ASIN B00HZNQISS.
  • Mallett, Xanthé (2014). Mothers Who Murder. Random House Australia. ASIN B00IY5QK8O.
  • Patrick S. Randolph-Quinney; Xanthé Mallett; Sue M. Black (2009). "Forensic Anthropology". In Jamieson, Allan; Moenssens, Andre A. Wiley Encyclopaedia of Forensic Sciences. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley. ISBN 9780470018262.


  1. ^ "Meet the forensics queen debunking 'NCIS,' 'Silent Witness'". CNET. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  2. ^ Croxon, Natalie (8 February 2013). "Digging up the bare bones of history' curious cold cases is all in a day's work for UNE anthropologist". Northern Daily Leader. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b Hendry, Steve (9 June 2014). "Scottish scientist and Coast star Xanthe Mallet discusses her new life in Australia". The Daily Record. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Our worst secrets are not safe with her". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ Mallett, Xanthé (31 August 2011). "Is this the face of Jack the Ripper?". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Meet UNE's Xanthe Mallett". New England Focus. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  7. ^ Thompson, Angus (30 June 2018). "'Abuse on abuse': Parents' anguish over school's handling of sex abuse". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  8. ^ Purcell, John (8 December 2014). "7PM INTERVIEW: Dr Xanthé Mallett, author of Mothers Who Murder, chats to John Purcell". Booktopia. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  9. ^ "The Decrypters". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Dr. Xanthé Mallett". History Channel Australia. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Mothers Who Murder". Channel Ten. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015.

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