Murder-suicides in Milan: case history from 1990 to 2018. Criminological and medico-legal considerations

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
This study reviews autopsies performed by the Legal Medicine department of the University of Milan from 1990 to 2018. In particular, the characteristics of the perpetrator, the victim and the type of existing relationship, the means used, and the place and time of the crime. A retrospective analysis was conducted, extracting data from the Milan Institute of Legal Medicine database, selecting cases of murder-suicide from the archive between 1990 and 2018 (a total of 75 cases with 84 murder victims). Available data was processed statistically. Univariate and bivariate analysis techniques were mainly used. Significance tests (Chi-square) and correlation studies (Pearson’s R) were also conducted, the results of which were then examined and discussed in light of legal, medical and criminological expertise.In almost all cases, suicide followed immediately after the murder, at home and in the context of an emotional relationship. The murderer and person committing suicide is almost always male and the victim female. A firearm was the most common weapon in cases of both murder and suicide.The results indicate that the issue of gender is relevant in murder-suicides as indicated by international and national literature on homicides. Furthermore, the use of firearms endorses the importance of limiting their availability through more restrictive laws.

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