Stabbing Inuries

Written by Dr. D. Rao


The principal feature of stabbed wound is their depth which is usually greater than their width. Although stabbed wounds are usually associated with knives and daggers, any piercing instrument such as scissors, screwdriver or a pointed stick may be used. The external wound gives no indication of its depth. Even with massive internal hemorrhage there may be no bleeding from the external wound. The edges of wound may give some indication of the nature of the instrument. Majority of cases are homicidal in nature and more rarely suicidal. The cases of accidental stabbing have occurred but are rare.


At the scene of death the principal objective of the medico-legal investigation is the recognition of the manner in which the injuries were sustained.

  1. Obtain information about the circumstances of death from police and witness at the scene
  2. Photograph the scene and make sketches before anything is marked
  3. Make a general observations about the scene. Not any evidence of struggle, such as overturned furniture or trampled ground.
  4. Describe the position of the body and the hands
  5. Examine the body including basic hands and forearms for defense wounds. Make notes and record in body diagram.
  6. Note whether the weapon is present or absent. If present record position of weapon in relation to body. If weapon is in person’s hand, maintain whether it is loosely held or tightly grasped. The presence of weapon loosely in hands does not rule out homicide but weapon held tightly indicate suicide. If the weapon is absent from the body, crime should be suspected
  7. If weapon present handle with care to preserve Finger Print, blood stains hair and fibers, retain in appropriate containers
  8. Let the police handle the weapon. Request them to make the weapon available for the evaluation of injuries often at has been examined for FP and trace evidence
  9. If not found, advice the police about the type of weapon that is likely to have been used.
  10. if  suicide is suspected, look for suicide note and inquire about the personal history of the decedent – social, financial, domestic and health problems, history of depression and suicidal threats.
  11. 11.If the injuries are suspected to be accidental, identify the object causing them.
  12. Describe the position of the body and the hands.
  13. Describe the clothing and note any tears, missing buttons and so on. Ascertain whether the weapon penetrated the clothing or whether the clothing was displaced from the area injury.
  14. Note amount of bleeding at the scene. It indicates length of survival.
  15. Make of note of injuries and record them on body diagram.
  16. Tears of clothing’s and injuries of genital areas should be noted.


  1. Photograph the clothing and injuries on the body.
  2. Record injuries by words and sketches death, shape, size etc.
  3. Whether before/after death
  4. Cut, stab or laceration and time of inflection.
  5. Kind of weapon-width/one or two edge sharp or blunt
  6. Collect foreign materials such as hair, grass, fibers and so on that may be in the wound.
  7. From depth estimate the minimal length of the blade of the weapon
  8. Determine the direction of the weapon with the body
  9. If homicidal Look for defense wounds.
  10. Assess the findings to determinate rapidity of death of collapse and ability to wake/perform acts
  11. If several wounds determine which one is fatal
  12. Record the findings suggesting sexual assaults. Examination of external and internal genitals and face
  13. Evaluate role of contributing factors such as pre-existing disease or intoxication in causing death
  14. If suspected weapon is present, determine whether the wounds found on the body are corresponding with those caused by such a weapon.



In homicidal stabbing

Accessible and Inaccessable areas of the body.

Through clothing

Multiples stabs.

Single stab on Vital Region like Heart,spleen.

Associated injuries of struggle like Defensive or Offensive injuries.

signs of struggle.

Weapon may or maynot be at the scene.


Suicidal Stabbing

Circumstantial evidences related to Financial,drug,mental,marital etc to be studied.

Presence of Suicidal note in his clothing,hand or surroundings.

Accessable areas of the Body

Area Unclothed.

Multiple Superficial Stabs followed by Fatal wound

No evidence of Struggle, offensive or defensive injuries.

Weapon at the Scene.



Circumstances leading to accident present.

Weapon of causation present.

No evidence of Offensive or Defensive Injuries.

Multiple Stabs unlikely

Stab and Sharp Force Injuries