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Suicidal hanging resulting in decapitation: A case report and review of the literature
- Leccia, Céline, Alunni, Véronique, Quatrehomme, Gérald
- Forensic science international 2017 v.279 pp. e10
- cartilage, case studies, decapitation, energy, forensic sciences, neck, vertebrae
- Decapitation following suicidal hanging is rarely encountered in forensic practice. The authors report a case of suicidal hanging resulting in decapitation following a fall of 5m. This case is compared with 30 cases found in the literature. Several factors including type of rope, skin abrasion, level of the severed vertebrae, thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone injuries and vital signs are studied. The force applied to the neck and the kinetic energy were calculated. The kinetic energy (ranging from 1820 to 7310J) takes into account the weight of the victim but also the length of the rope (height of the fall). The speed of the body as it is stopped by the rope ranged between 6.49 and 14.01ms⁻¹.