Volume 31, Issue 2 (April 1986)
Patterns in Sharp Force Fatalities—A Comprehensive Forensic Medical Study
A ten-year series of 142 homicidal fatalities caused by sharp force injury was studied with the aim to systematize information inherent in the characteristics of the victim and the pattern of injuries. The population of victims consisted of 112 males (79%) and 30 females (21%); among perpetrators, 125 (88%) were males. Among victims as well as among perpetrators, persons of non-Swedish origin were overrepresented in relation to their share of the nonselected population. In 82 cases (58%), one or two wounds had been inflicted; in 23 cases (16%), ten or more wounds. In the latter group, eleven victims but no perpetrators were female.
In the majority of cases victim and perpetrator were known to each other, and in instances of multiple wounding, a close relationship between the two was clearly more common than in the group of one- to two-wound fatalities. Tests for blood alcohol were positive in 86 of 116 victims (74%), the majority being in elimination phase. Furthermore, 96 of 120 perpetrators (80%) had positive tests or were known to be drunk at the time of the killing. In multiple wound fatalities, alcohol inebriation was less common both among victims and perpetrators. In these cases, the two persons involved were usually closely related or intimately known to each other, and in the absence of psychiatric disorder in the assailant, the motive was of a passionate type.