Child homicide in Cologne (1985-94)

Forensic Sci Int. 1996 May 31;79(2):131-44. doi: 10.1016/0379-0738(96)01900-7.


Twenty five child homicides investigated in the Cologne University Institute of Forensic Medicine from 1985-94 were retrospectively analysed with special reference to the evidential value of the autopsy findings and possible peculiarities related to the infants' physiological condition. About 65% of the victims were boys younger than 3 years. About 65% of the child homicides were committed by the mother in the parental flat, predominantly in the early hours of the evening during the weekend. The mode of death were 10x blunt injury, 6x sharp violence, 6x strangulation, 3x smothering, 2x drowning, 2x gunshot and 5x neglect (starvation). The defenseless, helpless and immobile condition of the infant particularly favours a homicide by manual assault, smothering or neglect (starvation).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / mortality*
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Homicide*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution