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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"



inches round the wound of entrance are lacerated and the surrounding skin
is usually scorched and blackened by smoke and tattooed with unburnt
grains of gunpowder. The adjacent hair is singed, and the clothes covering
the part are burnt from the flame of the gas. If the powder is smokeless
there will be no blackening of the skin, but there may be a greyish or white
deposit on the skin round the wound. JToJ^ackening or scorching is found,
if the firearm is discharged from a distance of more than four feet. More-
over, these signs may be absent even when the weapon is pressed tightly
against the skin of the body, as the gases of the explosion and the flame,
smoke and - particles of gunpowder will all follow the track of the bullet in
the body.7

StewasŁ s reports a case of suicide by gun-
shot wounds in which there i^ere two punc-
tured wounds in the forehead, both measur-
ing in diameter three-sixteenths of an inch-
One was situated in the mid-line, and the
other in the upper margin of the right eye-
brow in a line with the outer angle of the
right eye. There was no burning or search-
ing around either of wounds, nor was there
any singeing of the eyebrow. The wound
in the middle of the forehead penetrated the
whole depth of the tissues, and at its base,
lying against the bone, was found a flattened
bullet. There was no injury to the bone at
this point. The other wound over the right
eye penetrated the skull. The bullet had
made its way diagonally across the brain
and in a slightly downward direction. It
was found in the brain substance at the tip
of the left occipital bone. There was no
injury to the base of the skull The weapon'
with which the wounds were infected
was a Marlin repeating rifle, calibre 0.22.
He carried out experiments with the
rifle on dead skin from a post-mortem exa-
mination. At a distance of 3 feet the edges
of the wound were irregular. At the distance
of lyiG" there was absence of scorching and
singeing. In the original wounds the margins
were regular and slightly inverted, There
were marks which closely resembled tattoo-

g. 93.—Gunshot wounds
from close quarters.

ing. Section of these marks showed them to be subepithelial petechial hsemorriiages ;
there was no destruction of the squamous epithelium, Microscopic examination showed
abundant deposit of unspent gunpowder in the deeper layers of the tissues, although
there was no tattooing around the wounds of the deceased.

produced by small shot fired from a shot-gun vary according
to -the distance of the weapon from the body, A charge of small shot, fired
very close to, or within a few inches of, the body enters in one mass like
a single bullet making a large irregular wotmd with scorched and contused
edges, and is followed by the gases of the discharge which greatly lacerated
and rupture the deeper tissues. Particles of unburnt powder expelled from
the weapon behind the missile are driven to some distance, through the
wound, and some of them are found embedded in the wound and &e
surrounding skin which is also blackened by the smoke of combustion. At
a distance of one to three feet small shot make a single aperture ' h
irregular and lacerated edges corresponding in size to the bore of the :
of the gun, ais the shot enter as one mass, but are scattered
the- wound and cause great damage to the internal tissues.

7.   Spilsbury, Lancet, Feb. 28, 1025, p. 421.
a   Lancet, Dee. 25, 1930, p, JS9& ,*