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Weapons of choice: A statistical comparison between different weapons and resulting injuries, opportunist weapon selection and forensic awareness

Fletcher, Emily (2022) Weapons of choice: A statistical comparison between different weapons and resulting injuries, opportunist weapon selection and forensic awareness. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Homicide is a known term for the unlawful killing of another person, which can be classified into three subcategories; Mass, Spree and Serial Homicide. Serial Homicide is the chosen focus for this literature review, and the following study to come. A Serial Killer can be described as an individual who takes the life of at least two people, each within a separate event to one another. Specifically, the weapons of choice by these Serial Killers is the main concentration of the study, and how different external variables can change their choosing, as well as the resulting injuries the victim sustains from these weapons. Variables such as victimology of both the offender and the victim, the level of forensic awareness known by the offender and whether the weapon was an opportunist circumstance or not are detailed to identify the changes in weapon choice and injury infliction as these variables change between offenders. The literature review aims to display what information is already present in the field, with the relation of all factors in weapon choice and injuries and if there is already a link between any. The review ultimately defined that there is a big gap in research about weapons of opportunity and the factors which can cause an offender to use an unplanned weapon to cause injury, as well as how the injuries differ between opportunity and planned weapon selection. The review also revealed there is an obvious gap in knowledge linking all of these mentioned variables, to the way the offender inflicts injuries on the victim. The proposed study will hopefully fill these research gaps by comparing victimology, opportunity and planned weapons, forensic awareness knowledge and clean-up to the type of weapon used and the resulting injuries, the hope is to link them all together, as well as identify individual characteristics of each which can change offenders weapon selection.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Keatley, David and Chapman, Brendan
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