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Suicide by hanging: multicentre study based on coroners' records in England

  • Olive Bennewith (a1), David Gunnell (a1), Navneet Kapur (a2), Pauline Turnbull (a2), Sue Simkin (a3), Lesley Sutton (a3) and Keith Hawton (a3)...
Summary

We studied 162 cases of hanging by suicide occurring in 24 coroners' jurisdictions in England within a 6-month period in 2001. Prison and psychiatric ward suicides accounted for only 6% of these. The most frequently used ligatures (ropes, belts and cable) and ligature points (beams, girders, lofts and trees) are commonly available in community settings, limiting opportunities for prevention. In only half the cases (52%) were victims fully suspended with both feet off the ground. Four per cent had also taken an overdose.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor David Gunnell, Department of Social Medicine, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 117 928 7253; e-mail: D.J.Gunnell@Bristol.ac.uk
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Declaration of interest

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References
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Appleby, L., Shaw, J., Sherratt, J., et al (2001) Safety First: Five-year report of the National Confidential Enquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. London: Department of Health.
Bowen, D. A. (1982) Hanging – a review. Forensic Science International, 20, 247249.
Brock, A. & Griffiths, C. (2003) Trends in suicide by method in England and Wales, 1979 to 2001. Health Statistics Quarterly, 20, 718.
Burrows, T., Brock, A. P., Hulley, S., et al (2003) Safer Cells Evaluation: Full Report. London: The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University College London.
Davison, A. & Marshall, T. K. (1986) Hanging in Northern Ireland – a survey. Medicine, Science and the Law, 26, 2328.
Department of Health (2002) National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. London: Department of Health.
James, R. & Silcocks, P. (1992) Suicidal hanging in Cardiff – a 15-year retrospective study Forensic Science International, 56, 167175.
National Institute for Mental Health in England (2003) The National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England: Annual Report on Progress 2003. Leeds: National Institute for Mental Health in England.
Shaw, J., Appleby, L. & Baker, D. (2003) Safer Prisons: A National Study of Prison Suicides 1999–2000 by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicides and Homicides by People with Mental Illness. London: Department of Health.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Suicide by hanging: multicentre study based on coroners' records in England

  • Olive Bennewith (a1), David Gunnell (a1), Navneet Kapur (a2), Pauline Turnbull (a2), Sue Simkin (a3), Lesley Sutton (a3) and Keith Hawton (a3)...
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