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Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales - Corpus Delicti - A Case Report

Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran-Iran.
Publication Date
  • Corpus Delicti
  • Stab Injuries
  • Broken Knife
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Forensic Pathology


Background:The case report highlights the importance of doing a thorough searching autopsy in all cases, and particularly in cases of homicide, as objects of valuable evidential importance can be found within the body, which form part of the “Corpus Delicti”, providing clinching evidence towards guilt of the accused person and thereby ensuring conviction of the guilty.Case Report: This case report describes the case of a person who was stabbed and the terminal portion of the knife broke and got lodged in his spine. At autopsy, the broken tip was recovered and showed to fit perfectly with the main part of the knife which was recovered by the Police from the scene of the crime, proving that the recovered weapon was indeed the weapon of offence. Further, the blood group of the blood stains over the knife recovered at the scene of crime and that of the victim matched.Conclusion: A match between a broken tip of a knife recovered from the body of stab victim and the main part of the knife recovered from the scene of crime is almost equal to a ballistics match in significance, with regard to establishing whether a given knife was the particular weapon of offence in a certain crime or not. Hence, in cases where such a knife with a broken blade is found and suspected to be the weapon of offence, a careful search at autopsy should be made to locate the broken tip.

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