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Kraus, S.; Graw, M. and Gleich, S. (2016): Suizide im Schienenverkehr. Suizide im Schienenverkehr. In: Rechtsmedizin, Vol. 26, No. 1: pp. 2-8

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Fatalities involving railway networks represent a challenge for forensic pathologists and for criminal investigation departments. The objective of this study was to determine the characteristic features and backgrounds of people who commit suicide in railway networks compared to people who commit suicide by other methods. This study carried out at the Department of Forensic Medicine of the University of Munich involved a retrospective statistical analysis of 1069 cases of suicide that were committed between 2009 and 2011. Suicides involving collisions with railway vehicles were selected out and compared to cases of suicide by other methods. Approximately 10 % of all suicides involved collisions with railway vehicles making this suicide method the fourth most frequent form of suicide in this study. In almost all cases other people were also affected by such suicides, for physical, mental and/or financial reasons. The results indicated that this kind of suicide is often the result of a spontaneous decision by the victims. Toxicological analyses are rarely carried out on behalf of the state prosecutor but can be important for the differentiation between suicide and homicide. Medicolegal investigations play an important role in the criminological investigations of fatalities involving railway vehicles as they can provide important evidence for the differentiation between accidental death, suicide and homicide as well as for identification of the victim.

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