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International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 55–57 | Cite as

Suicidal hanging resulting in complete decapitation: a case report

  • A. Tracqui
  • K. Fonmartin
  • A. Géraut
  • D. Pennera
  • S. Doray
  • B. Ludes
Case report

Abstract

This paper reports the case of a 22-year-old man, weighing 87.5 kg, who committed suicide by jumping from a bridge over a canal with a nylon rope tied around his neck. The drop height was between 3.70 and 5.30 m before the rope tightened and the subject was completely beheaded. The head sank straight under the bridge, while the torso floated 205 m downstream. Pertinent autopsy findings were a sharp decapitation wound with circumferential skin abrasion and cervical spin transection between C1 and C2. Decapitation is a complication of extreme rarity in the event of a suicidal hanging and is always related to a drop of several metres with a poorly extensible line used as the hanging ligature.

Key words Hanging Decapitation Suicide 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Tracqui
    • 1
  • K. Fonmartin
    • 1
  • A. Géraut
    • 1
  • D. Pennera
    • 1
  • S. Doray
    • 1
  • B. Ludes
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Médecine Légale, Faculté de Médecine, 11 rue Humann, F-67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France Fax +33 (0) 388 356758FR

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