The Most Common Targeted Area in Murders

The Most Common Targeted Area in Murders

1. Azhar Masud Bhatti 2. Babur Rashid Chughtai 3. Muhammad Iqbal

1. Ex-Senior Demonstrator of Forensic Medicine, KEMU, Lahore, DHS (EPI), Punjab & EDO (Health), Gujranwala 2. Prof. of Forensic Medicine, WMC, Wah Cantt.  3. Asstt. Prof. of Forensic Medicine, WMC, Wah Cantt.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To identify the most targeted area in homicidal injuries which may be helpful in crime control
in society. 

Study Design: Retrospective and observational study. 

Place and Duration of study: This study was carried out on 5 years autopsies reports collected from THQ Hospital Taxila from 2009 to 2013 and analysis was done with emphasis on most common targeted area of the body during this period.

Materials and Methods:  Autopsy registers containing reports from 2009 to 2013, along with police papers and treatment notes were taken from THQ Hospital Taxila and analyzed with reference to most targeted area, kind of weapon used, age, sex, injury pattern and nature of injuries

Results: During total 5 year tenure total 279 autopsies were conducted. Among total 279 autopsies  234 (83.87%) dead bodies were of males while only 45 (16.13%) were belonged to  females. 138 (49.46%)dead bodies were of adult age between 20-40 years, among these 112 (81.16%) belonged to males and 26 (18.84%) to females. In 88 (31.54%) cases head was targeted. The 2nd most common area of target was the chest, 76 (27.24%) persons were hit on the chest. In 33 (11.83%) persons abdomen was the target while 28(10.04%) bodies were with neck injuries. Firearm was the most common weapon causing 177 (63.44%) deaths. Blunt weapon remained the 2nd mostly used weapon claiming 22 (7.88%) lives. Use of sharp edged weapon was restricted only to 7 (2.5%) persons. In total 40 cases (14.34%) no cause of death could be found.

Conclusion: The analysis may offer some help to bring the crimes under control.  

Key Words: Head, Chest, Target.


 

INTRODUCTION

The word autopsy is derived from Greek and is translated as “to see with one’s own eye”1. Autopsy is mandatory in all cases of un-natural deaths. A Forensic autopsy is performed to determine the cause, and the manner of death in people dying sudden, unexpected, violent, drug related, or otherwise suspicious deaths2. The only thing worse than no autopsy is the partial autopsy, in every case the autopsy must be complete3. Analysis of autopsies performed in an area may be helpful to make certain amendments in the laws to control the crimes. Homicide means purposeful killing undertaken with the intension of causing the death of the victim. Common motives for homicide include trivial altercations, jealously, revenge, romantic triangle, robbery, sexual assault, burglary and dispute in drug transactions4.

Head injury is defined as morbid state resulting from gross or subtle structural changes in the intracranial contents of the skull with or without involvement of skull or extra cranial structures, due to direct or indirect mechanical force5.There are three main components of the head; the scalp, skull and brain6. Skull has three tables, outer table the strongest and inner table (weakest) and in between two, there is dipole7. Of all the regional injuries those of head are most common and accounts for 25% of all deaths due to violence8. It is also true that when a victim is pushed or knocked to the ground, he often strike the head9.

Globally head injury is a major problem for health services, not only in industrialized but also in developing world. Every year in UK about one million patients are admitted to the hospitals with head injuries of varying severity10. Approximately 300 per 100000 of the population per year require hospital admission in connection with head injury in Britan11. Head injury is classified as coup injury and contre-coup injury. Injury at the site of impact is coup and opposite to the site of impact is contre-coup injury12.

The firearms remained the most common used weapons in cases of homicides as in other studies also13. There is something happening new every day14,as modernization of firearm weapons increases their lethal power many times. On the skull a special phenomenon occurs on entry and exit wound, a making sloping surface or edge caused by firearm weapons called beveling. Beveling will occur on inner table of the skull on entry and on outer table of skull on exit wound15.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The autopsy reports of duration from 2009 to 2013 along with police papers and treatment notes were collected from THQ Hospital Taxila. Complete analysis regarding age, gender, manner of death, opinion of the Authorized Medical Officers, kind of weapon used, with particular emphasis on area wise distribution of injuries was made.  Total 279 autopsies were carried out during tenure of 5 calendar years.

RESULTS

Total 279 postmortem examinations were carried out at THQ Hospital Taxila during 5 years (2009-2013) duration. Year wise distribution is given in Chart No.1.

Age and gender analysis: Regarding age of the victims, overwhelming majority 49.46%  (138) belonged to adult age (20-40Years) group, among them 81.16%  (112) dead bodies were of males and only 18.84% (26) of females. Age above 40 years remained the 2nd most common age group involved, as out of total 77 autopsies 89.61 % (69) remained of males and 10.39 % (8) of females. 53 bodies were belonged to young age between 12-20 years, 84.91 % (45) males and 15.09% (8) of females. Age between 0-12 years remained the least common age group being the innocent age as total out of 11 postmortems 72.73%( 8) bodies were of males and 27.27(3) of females.

Regional Distribution of injuries: Head remained the most common targeted area, as out of 279 persons 88 (31.54%) were hit on the head. 2nd most targeted area was chest, as 76 (27.24%) person died due to chest injuries. Overall head and chest injuries claimed 164 (58.78%) lives.  Abdomen was at No. 3 as with involvement of 33(11.83%) cases. In 40 (14.34%) autopsies no cause of death could be ascertained. The detail of regional distribution of injuries found, are given in Table No. 1 & 2.

 

Manner of death: As for as the manner of death is concerned, most common 199 (71.33%) cases remained of homicide. The other detail is given in the following table No.4.

Kind of weapon used: Firearms remained the most commonly used weapon causing 177(63.44%) deaths. In 22 (7.88%) persons assault was committed with blunt weapon. 7 (6.81%) injuries were caused by sharp edged weapons. Hanging was responsible for causing 19(6.81%) deaths. In 7(2.51%) persons use of poison, in 4 drowning and in 3, burns remained the cause of death. 40 (14.34%) cases remained undiagnosed being negative autopsy.


 

Table No.1: Regional distribution of homidical injuries

Year

No.

Head

%

Neck

%

Chest

%

Abdomen

%

2009

42

14

33.33

4

9.52

13

30.95

5

11.90

2010

44

19

43.18

3

6.82

14

31.82

4

9.09

2011

61

24

39.34

4

6.56

14

22.95

4

6.56

2012

64

17

26.56

9

14.06

17

26.56

3

4.69

2013

68

14

20.59

8

11.76

18

26.47

17

25.00

GT

279

88

31.54

28

10.04

76

27.24

33

11.83

Table No.2: Homicidal deaths due to poison, drown and burns

Year

No.

Poison

%

Drown

%

Burns

%

Nil

%

2009

42

1

2.38

-

 

2

4.76

3

7.14

2010

44

1

2.27

-

 

-

-

3

6.82

2011

61

3

4.92

-

 

-

-

12

19.67

2012

64

-

  -

3

4.69

-

-

15

23.44

2013

68

2

2.94

1

1.47

1

1.47

7

10.29

GT

279

7

2.51

4

1.43

3

1.07

40

14.34

 

Table No.3: Manners of deaths

Year

No.

Homicide

%

Suicide

%

Accident

%

Nil

%

2009

42

32

76.19

5

11.90

2

4.76

3

7.14

2010

44

35

79.55

3

6.82

3

6.82

3

6.82

2011

61

41

67.21

5

8.2

3

4.92

12

19.67

2012

64

41

64.06

-

-

8

12.5

15

23.44

2013

68

50

73.53

9

13.24

2

2.94

7

10.29

GT

279

199

71.33

22

7.88

18

6.45

40

14.34

 


 

DISCUSSION

An evil is almost always in a society, there could hardly any society in the world which can be considered absolutely crime free. It is generally the un-justice, delay in dispensation of justice, along with deteriorating moral values in a community results in rapid rise of crimes. The population in our country is rapidly developing into two major economic classes, very rich and very poor families with progressively declining middle class, is another cause of crimes.

In present days all over the world, dispensation of justice through legal system has become much dependent on medical science16.The victim is taken to medical facility for an examination and collection of existing evidence17. Forensic evidence is physical or trace evidence that can be significantly matched with a known individual or item. Every criminal could be linked to the crime she or he committed by examination of transferred trace evidence18,facts or circumstances that tend to implicate a person in a crime. It is very much unfortunate that medico-legal investigations in our country are of much low standard as compared with developed countries.

Though the murder is least common of all crimes but this offense receives the greatest attention from the law enforcement agencies and media19. Forensic autopsy is primarily conducted to know the cause of death, meaning disease or injury that initiated the lethal chain of events that led to death20. In the past it was assumed that the murderer must have been a man of physical strength, great courage and daring. But with the modernization of weapons with particular reference to the firearms these qualities are no more required to commit a murder, Just press the trigger and life is over.  

Homicidal manner of killing remains on the top as in every society21. Number of persons committed suicide remained at minimum as suicide is prohibited not only in our religion but under our law also22.

In our study the Head remained the most common target, almost similar results in other studies conducted23-24.Of all injuries those of head and neck are the most common and most important in forensic practice25. The incidence of head injuries is going up with the speeding mechanization of modern life26. There is 33.5 % increase in head injury admission in UK in the last decade27. Traumatic brain injury, according to the World Health Organization, will surpass many diseases as the major cause of death and disability by the year 2020. With an estimated 10 million people affected annually by head injury, the burden of mortality and morbidity that this condition imposes on society, makes the traumatic brain injury, a pressing public health and medical problem28.

Although the brain is well protected within strong, bony skull but it is not well restrained within this compartment and injuries to the brain result from differences between the motion of the skull and brain. Severe injury to the brain may occur without any external visible injury to the skull and scalp.

The firearms remained the most common used weapons for homicide is also indicated in other studies29. Free availability, frequent use of these lethal weapons, constantly deteriorating law and order situation in the country have make us a  gun culture state of society. Possession of firearms by males is much more common in our country as compared with females, being the male dominant society. But Possession of firearms in USA is more common in females than in males. Mostly adult persons (20-40 years) are the victims of homicide, is consistent with other studiesalso30.

CONCLUSION

Strict statutory control over fatal weapons and rapid dispensation of justice are required to minimize the offence of homicide from our country.

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Address for Corresponding Author:

Dr. Babur Rashid Chughtai,

Prof. of Forensic Medicine, WMC, Wah Cantt.