Traumatic lethal injuries caused by crossbows are a rarity in forensic pathology. They occur as accidents, suicide and, more rarely, as murders. We report a case of murder received at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Milan carried out by two weapons – a crossbow and a hunting knife – that resulted in multiple thoraco-abdominal wounds. The case is also rare because of the unique circumstances involving the victim – a local service psychiatrist – and the perpetrator – a former medical specialist in psychiatry, suffering from a delusional psychotic disorder. The crossbow was the decisive instrument in the realization of the murder; it was chosen with premeditation for its high destructive capacity and the fact that it was easily obtainable, and it was used with darts that were specially modified to increase its harmful capacity. The presented case, as well as providing an opportunity to highlight the damaging effects of a rarely used weapon, stresses the problems inherent with access to tools such as the crossbow that are used in sport, and which are potentially dangerous but easily accessible, even to those with serious mental disorders, rendering them legally unfit for using firearms.
- forensic medicine
- forensic pathology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects