Homicide-suicide (dyadic death), homicide, and firearms use in England and Wales

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2007 Dec;28(4):314-8. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31815b489b.


Homicide-suicide forms a distinct form of homicide. An analysis of cases in the Yorkshire and Humberside region of England between 1991 and 2005 revealed 37 episodes with 42 victims. Previous studies have shown a high rate of use of firearms. Over the last 2 decades firearms legislation has become more restrictive. In this study all assailants were male, mean age 46.8 years. The commonest method of homicide was strangulation (36%) with 16% killed by firearms. This is a reduction compared with a previous study in the same region. All killers who shot their victims killed themselves with firearms. There were no multiple killings with firearms in this study and no stranger killings. Hanging was the commonest method of suicide. During the same period the use of firearms as a method of homicide increased in England and Wales with handguns, the most common weapon. Nationally, suicide after homicide has remained at a similar rate over the half century and is an uncommon phenomenon. Firearms use remains low in both homicide and homicide-suicide episodes in England, and further analysis is required to determine changes in patterns of killing.

MeSH terms

  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / etiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / pathology