A half century retrospective study of homicide-suicide in Geneva--Switzerland: 1956-2005

J Forensic Leg Med. 2010 Feb;17(2):62-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 9.


This study provides a retrospective review from the forensic files of the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Western Switzerland in Geneva, from January 1956 to December 2005. The studied homicide-suicide cases cover a period of half a century (50 years). As a rule, all police-ordered forensic examinations of violent death cases in the Canton of Geneva are conducted by the University Centre of Legal Medicine. All of the data necessary for an exhaustive retrospective study are thus readily available. During the period covered in this work, 228 homicides were perpetrated in Geneva. In 23 cases, the homicide was followed by the suicide of the aggressor. The 34 victims of these homicides (18 women, 1 man and 15 children) had either an intimate or filial relationship with the perpetrator. Most of the suicidal perpetrators were men that killed their spouses or intimate partners, with children as additional victims in some cases. Shooting was the most common means to kill, followed by stabbing. The majority of the victims and perpetrators were Swiss nationals. This retrospective study shows that in the last 50 years, homicide-suicide cases in the Canton of Geneva have been a rare and an episodic phenomena with a very variable frequency from 1 year to another.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drowning / mortality
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homicide / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Poisoning / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide / trends
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality
  • Wounds, Stab / mortality
  • Young Adult