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J Forensic Leg Med. 2007 Jul;14(5):253-60. Epub 2006 Oct 18.

Suicidal and homicidal deaths: a comparative and circumstantial approach.

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  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine, Vasantrao Naik Medical College, Yeotmal 445 001, Maharashtra, India. vipulambade@rediffmail.com

Abstract

The incidence of suicide and homicide is on the increase worldwide, including India. One million people die annually due to suicides and homicides alone. A comparison of the results between suicides and homicides was performed. From a total of 5773 medicolegal deaths reported at an Apex medical centre of Nagpur University over a period of three years 1998-2000, only 241 cases (4.2%) were homicidal deaths in comparison to 1127 cases (19.5%) of suicidal deaths with suicide rate of 23.1/100,000 per year and homicide rate of 4.9/100,000 per year. Poisoning, burning, hanging and drowning forms the major methods of suicide in contrast to blunt trauma, sharp trauma, burning, and strangulation in homicide. Combined methods were more common in homicide as compared to suicide. Predominance of male was present in all methods of suicide and homicide, except burning. In general, male predominance was seen in both suicidal and homicidal deaths with peak age 21-30 years in suicides in contrast to 31-40 years in homicides. At younger age 11-20 years, the victims of suicide outnumbered the victims of homicide; but at extremes of ages below 10 years and above 60 years, homicides were relatively more common than suicides. Married victims were predominant in both types of deaths. Quarrel and revenge were the common precipitating cause/motive for homicide in comparison to chronic illness and mental illness for suicide. Majority of the accused were having close family relationship with the victims of suicide in contrast to homicides in which most of the assailant were having no family relationship with the victims. 'Acquaintance' were the accused in majority of the victims of homicides in contrast to 'self' in suicides. Most of the victims of homicide were killed outdoor in contrast to victim's own domicile in suicides. In both suicidal and homicidal deaths, most of the victims were found in summer season, but the peaks were noticed in the months of April and May in suicidal deaths and October in homicidal deaths.

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