A murder-suicide. In 1958, a 47 year old soldier was found sprawled across a blood-stained settee in the front room of Army Married Quarters with a blood-stained axe in the kitchen. The wife, the assailant, was suspended from the bannister of the staircase. At autopsy, 18 very irregular split lacerations were seen over the whole of the top of the skull and left ear, some of these being arranged in pairs lying parallel to each other and one inch apart. Over the right side of the middle of the scalp there is a lacerated abrasion, oblong in shape (2 1/4 x 1”) which would correspond to the shaft end of the axe. "There is recent bruising over the tops of both shoulders and over the middle parts of the right and left sides of the chest, with fractures of the middle parts of the 6thand 7th ribs on the left side." Under the scalp wounds there was a depressed fracture of the middle part of the right side of the skull with linear fracturing extending there from across the vault and the base of the skull. Brain contusion into both cerebral hemispheres was present. No defense wounds were identified. This wet specimen at Bart's is the actual scalp showing the lacerations. In forensics, there is a difference between a laceration wound and an incision wound. A laceration occurs when there is a break or a rip in the skin, usually from blunt force trauma. When the skin is hit hard it rips and there is what is called tissue bridging, which basically means pieces of flesh did not completely rip from either side of the wound and actually "bridge" across the wound. An incised wound is caused by sharp force injury, such as a knife. These wounds are clear incisions with smooth borders and no tissue bridging.
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