Murder Followed by Suicide: Filicide–Suicide Mothers in Italy from 1992 to 2010


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Alberto D'Argenio, M.D.

Psychiatric Unit

Department of Neurosciences

Military Policlinic of Rome

Piazza Celimontana 50

00184 Rome




The international literature shows that in 40–50% of the cases, homicides–suicides involving children under the age of 10 are committed by mothers. Here, we report some results on homicides–suicides, in the mother–child relationship, occurred in Italy between 1992 and 2010.

We examined 36 cases of filicide–suicide mothers by consulting the archives of RAI, daily newspapers, and the ANSA news agency. We focused on: mothers and children's age, place of residence, date and place of the murder, number and sex of the murdered children, and modality of the homicide–suicide.

At the time of the homicide–suicide, the average age of mothers was 35.4. The number of children killed by each mother was one, except in seven cases. All the women had underestimated psychopathological disorders and only six women were regularly treated.

The dynamics and characteristics of the events were much more similar to suicides than homicides, so we can consider them as “extensive suicides.”