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Complex suicide of a drug addict; a case report


H. K. R. Sanjeewa,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About H. K. R.
Postgraduate trainee
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M. Vidanapathirana

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About M.
Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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The term “complex suicide” refers to suicides in which more than one method is applied. It can be further classified as planned and unplanned complex suicide. In planned complex suicides, two or more methods are employed simultaneously in order to make sure that death will occur even if one method fails. In unplanned complex suicides, several other methods of suicide are tried after the first method chosen fails. Following case discussion is based on a death with two methods of suicide. Body of a 20 year old drug addict was recovered from a river. A blood stained table knife was found in his room. There were no features of struggle at scenes. He had no previous attempts of suicide. Autopsy examination revealed four (4) superficial and parallel cut throat injuries.  There were no evidence of haemorrhagic shock, blood aspiration or air embolism. Fine continuous froth with kissing hyper inflated lungs were found. The cause of death was given as drowning. Since two suicidal methods were employed, namely cut throat and jumping in to river, it was identified as a case of complex suicide. Cut throat injuries could have been inflicted before entering the water. It appeared that, the initial cut throat injuries had failed to cause death and the victim subsequently succeeded by jumping in to river. Therefore, the death discussed showed clear characteristics of an unplanned complex suicide
How to Cite: Sanjeewa, H.K.R. and Vidanapathirana, M., 2017. Complex suicide of a drug addict; a case report. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 5(1), pp.18–21. DOI:
Published on 05 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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