A Medico-Legal Perspective on the Practice of Garrotting

Yitna, Y. G. and Le Roux-Kemp, Andra (2011) A Medico-Legal Perspective on the Practice of Garrotting. Medico-Legal Journal, 79 (1). pp. 15-25. ISSN 0025-8172

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1258/mlj.2011.011002

A Medico-Legal Perspective on the Practice of Garrotting
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The term garrotting, today, suggests a swift and fatal action that results in immediate death. We hear of financial or economic garrotting and the expression is particularly well-liked by politicians to express total cut-off. In Thomas Hardy’s bibliography, mention is even made of literary garrotting: a term said to neatly combine censorship with economic strangulation (Millgate 2004). The image that comes to most people’s minds, however, is that of beheading and/or strangulation; not unlike the imagery of the infamous French Guillotine or the blue etched drawing by Goya entitled The Garrotted Man (El agarrotado [1778–1780] Francisco de Goya y Lucientes). This article will focus on this last associ- ation of the word “garrotting”.
Our aim in this article is to provide some insight into the method and manifestations of garrotting as a particular form of ligature strangulation and asphyxiation. Starting with the history of this gruesome activity and the technique, the act and the instruments employed and the development and transformation of this practice in different countries and in particular in Spain, where the practice was widely used – if not actually originating there – and India, Latin America and the UK. In light of their historical significance, specific reference is made to the thuggees of India and the “London Garrotting Panics” at the beginning of the 19th century. The subsequent discussion will focus on present manifestations of garrotting as a form of ligature strangulation and reference will be made to relevant practical, investigative and medico-legal considerations in handling cases of this nature, and observations pertaining to offender characteristics.

Keywords:Garrotting, Medico-Legal Practice, Forensic Pathology/Law, Ligature Strangulation
Subjects:M Law > M190 Law by Area not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:36608
Deposited On:19 Aug 2019 10:12

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