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A Journal on Forensic Medicine

Frequency: Quarterly

ISSN 0026-4849

Online ISSN 1827-1677


Minerva Medicolegale 2006 March;126(1):101-5


Autopsies at the Legal Medicine Depar-tment of the University of Turin in relation to murder cases from 1904 to 1997

Viazzi F.

Istituto di Medicina Legale Ospedale Gradenigo, Torino

Aim. This paper assesses autopsy activity at the Legal Medicine Department of the University of Turin with regard to murder cases.
Methods. Murders committed between 1904 and 1997 of which documentation is present in the Department’s archives are considered: 38 087 autopsies were carried out in this time and these revealed 2 091 murders. Only verified cases of murder were considered; the 2 091 murders were subdivided using an Excel database grouped by sex, age, type of murder and motive; also evaluated were the causes of death and, where possible, the victim’s social status (profession or trade) and the province and place where the autopsy was requested.
Results. Of the 2 091 murder victims, 1 505 were male, 580 female and, in 6 cases, the sex was not determined: so the male group proved to be the most numerous at 71.9% of the population examined. Most of the murders took place in the age group between 21 and 30 (479 cases); this decade represents 22.9% of the population examined, whereas the age of 284 victims (13.5%) could not be determined.
Conclusion. It can be stated that, with the passing of the years and the change in the social conditions of the cities examined in this paper, firearms were always the most used in murders, almost excluding other types of weapons. Finally, from the socio-occupational viewpoint, most murder victims subjected to autopsy by the Department in the years between 1904 and 1997 were from the group of accused (144 previous offenders and 44 prostitutes).


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