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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

SUICIDAL, HOMICIDAL AND ACCIDENTAL WOtTOTS                         243

A case27 occurred at Agra, where a Lumbardar killed a boy, aged IT, By inflicting
wounds on the face and neck with a sword, and then fired a rifle froir. a distance of
a few feet, causing further wounds on the face and head which resulted in the splmter-
ifiet of the face and skull bones and laceration of the brain substance, Afterwards he
placed the rifle over the corpse to make it look as if it were a case of suicide. During
the trial the defence suggested* that the boy committed suicide by firing the rifle with
the muzzle in the mouth. But the medico-legal officer who held the post-mortem
examination proved to the satisfaction of the court that the rifle was not fired within the
mouth and that some of the injuries on the neck and face were such as could not have
been caused by the firing of a rifle, but were caused by a cutting weapon and might have
been caused by a sword. The Lumbardar was convicted of the murder of the boy under
secuon 302, IP.C., and was sentenced to death.

On the other hand, several severe injuries on the body may sometimes
be suicidal.

Wm. Alexander28 reports a case where an officer was found lying on a couch with
two deep incised wounds on the front of the abdomen and one similar wound on the
"back near the spine. Twenty-six incised wounds were found about the left breast,
some of them penetrating the thorax and others leading along the ribs; both hands
were dreadfully mutilated. Lying close by the officer was a sword covered with blood
and bent to an angle of about 45 degrees. He lived for several hours, and mentioned
how he had transfixed himself by placing the hilt of the sword against the wall and
then pressing forward on it; but failing to effect his object he made a second attempt.
This time the blade, impinging on the spine, was bent, so that he had great difficulty in
withdrawing it, his hands being cut severely in the effort. As death did not ensue, he
then tried to perforate the heart, but without success.

On August 27, 1933, a Mohamedan male, 60 years old, was admitted to the King
George's Hospital, Lucknow, as a case of suicide with multiple injuries inflicted with a
razor. On examination Mr. Mathur, Reader in Surgery, found the following injuries;

1.   An incised wound, 3" X 2J" X i", round the base of the penis and the scrotum
cutting off both the structures with the testicles from the body.

2.   An incised wound, 4" X I" X i", along the middle line of the abdomen towards
the right and directed from above downwards.

3.   An incised wound, 6" X 2J", across the abdomen at the level of the naveL   A
loop of the small intestine, 4 feet long, was protruding out of the wound.   One foot of
the intestine was slit longitudinally and then divided transversely into two.

The abdominal cavity was full of blood, and the stomach was also found divided
vertically into two parts in its middle.

In his statement he mentioned that he felt heat in Ms head and, therefore, inflicted
the wounds with a view to ending his life.

The presence of a large number of superficial wounds is presumptive
evidence of self-infliction.

Douglas J. Kerr29 mentions the case of a healthy young man who, tinder the
influence of a delusion that he had killed his sister, had made over 440 cuts on various
parts of his body, e.g. on the forehead, chin, front of the neck, chest, abdomen, scrotum
and the dorsal and palmar surfaces of the fingers, hands and wrists, These had been
inflicted with a blunt pen-knife, and were chiefly superficial though in a number of
cases underlying muscles were divided.

* Suicidal wounds caused by a cutting instrument on the neck are
- generally single and are situated either above the fayoid bone and open
directly into the mouth or are situated below the hyoid bone and involve
the thyroid or cricoid cartilage, or the large blood vessels of one side. How-
ever, extensive wounds in the neck involving the large blood vessels of both
sides and reaching the spine, though rare, are seen in suicidal cases.

In June 1915, a Hindu male, aged 22, committed! suicide by cutting his throat with
a razor. On inspection an incised wound, 4J'f by 2", was found across the front of the
neck above the hyoid bone cutting ^11 the stnictures down to the spine.

In a criminal case of reference before the Patna High Court where one Sheocharaa
Das30 was accused of murdering two young boys by inflicting wounds on their throats
and then having attempted suicide by cutting his own throat the Honourable Judges

27.   All, High Court Crim. Appeal Ho. 12G2 of 1929.

28.   Lancet, Jan. 24, 1885, p. 178.

29.   Brit, Med. Jour., Feb. 12, 1927, p. 278.

30.   K. E. v. Sheocharan Dos, Patna Hi^h Court Cr. Kef. No. 5 of 1387; 3$ r.
Jan. 1938, p. 66.