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Arch Kriminol. 2009 May-Jun;223(5-6):185-94.

[Reconstruction of a fire homicide after pouring denatured alcohol on the victim].

[Article in German]

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Institut f├╝r Rechtsmedizin der Universit├Ątklinikums Freiburg.


A 48-year-old man died from extensive burns suffered especially on the upper part of the body during a dispute with his ex-wife, who had poured spirit or a spirit-water mixture over him. For initially unknown reasons, the man's clothing caught fire. Whereas the public prosecutor assumed that the woman had intentionally poured a larger amount of spirit over her ex-husband before setting fire to him, the defendant first claimed to have poured the rest of a water-spirit mixture left over from cleaning the windows over the man and that his clothing caught fire on lighting a cigarette. To clarify the course of events, fire tests with spirit in various dilutions were conducted, which showed that even with undiluted spirit a direct contact with the flame of at least 1 second is necessary to start a fire. There is no deflagration, if spirit is used as a fire accelerant. In the trial, the defendant made a confession and admitted to have poured a mixture of 75% spirit and 25% water over her ex-husband and set fire to his right sleeve with the intention to kill him.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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