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January 2022

Murder followed by suicide: A study of the reporting of murder followed by suicide in The Times 1887-1990

Author(s): Soothill, K.

Journal/Book: J Forensic Psychiatry. 1996; 7: 11 New Fetter Lane, London, England EC4P 4EE. Routledge. 310-322.

Abstract: This study of The Times over a hundred years (1887-1990) identified reports of 2,274 cases of murder of which there was evidence that 142 (Or 6 per cent) involved murder followed by suicide. While it is important to stress the limitations of The Times as a source, some important patterns emerge. A much higher proportion of murder-suicides is reported in the period between 1887 and 1910. The study supports the view that murder-suicides are mostly family affairs. Reports of female murder-suicides always involve family members. The much higher proportion of reports of male murder-suicides probably reflect the greater likelihood of males committing offences which deviate from this 'family norm'. The demise of throat-cutting as a method of suicide in the 1920s is quite striking, while shooting continues to be the method of suicide favoured by males in particular.

Note: Article L Danson, Univ Lancaster, Cartmel Coll, Dept Appl Social Sci, Lancaster LA1 4YL, England

Keyword(s): murder; suicide; victims; media reporting

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