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J Forensic Leg Med. 2011 Aug;18(6):276-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Ned Kelly tattoos--origins and forensic implications.

Author information

1
School of Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. roger.byard@sa.gov.au

Abstract

Tattoos depicting Ned Kelly, a 19th-century Australian bushranger (outlaw) are occasionally encountered in the contemporary Australian population at forensic autopsy. To determine the characteristics of decedents with such tattoos, twenty cases were identified in the autopsy files at Forensic Science SA. All of the decedents were white males (100%) with an age range of 20-67 yrs (average 37 yrs). Seventeen of the deaths (85%) were unnatural, due to suicide in eight cases (40%), accidents in seven cases (35%) and homicide in two cases (10%). Compared to the general autopsy population suicides and homicides were 2.7 and 7.7 times higher, respectively, than would be expected, with a striking male predominance. A Ned Kelly tattoo identified at autopsy in another country or in a disaster victim identification situation may suggest that the decedent was Australian or had a connection with that country. Although the population studied is highly selected, individuals with these tattoos had an above average incidence of traumatic deaths.

PMID:
21771558
DOI:
10.1016/j.jflm.2011.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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