Violence in sleep: medico-legal issues and two case reports

Psychol Med. 1987 Nov;17(4):915-25. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700000726.


Reported cases of violence during sleep are reviewed. Two new cases are reported where the subjects were charged respectively with attempted murder and murder; both were acquitted on the grounds of non-insane automatism. Clinical features and aetiological factors are analysed. The legal concepts surrounding non-insane automatism are discussed and criticized.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dreams*
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense*
  • Male
  • Violence*