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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • decapitation;
  • guillotine;
  • suicide;
  • cutting instrument;
  • autopsy

Abstract:  Suicidal decapitation is seldom encountered in forensic medicine practice. This study reports the analysis of a suicide committed by a 31-year-old man with a self-fabricated guillotine. The construction of the guillotine was very interesting and sophisticated. The guillotine-like blade with additional weight was placed in a large metal frame. The movement of the blade was controlled by the frame rails. The steel blade was triggered by a tensioned rubber band after releasing the safety catch. The cause of death was immediate exsanguination after complete severance of the neck. The suicide motive was most likely emotional distress after the death of his father. In medico-legal literature, there has been only one similar case of suicidal complete decapitation by a guillotine described.