Criminal corpse dismemberment in Hamburg, Germany from 1959 to 2016

N. Wilke-Schalhorst, A. S. Schröder, K. Püschel, C. Edler*

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Cases of corpse dismemberment are rare, but occur most frequently in urban agglomerations. A distinction is made between defensive and offensive corpse dismemberment. This systematic review retrospectively assesses the phenomenology of 51 cases of corpse dismemberment (30 defensive and 21 offensive), which occurred in a period of 57 years and were subject to medico-legal autopsies performed at the Departement of Legal Medicine in Hamburg, Germany. The victims’ gender ratio was 1.7:1 female to male. In most cases, the perpetrators were middle-aged men from the close social environment, who had no psychiatric primary illnesses, no experience in the medical sector, and had not worked professionally as a butcher. In 80% of the cases it was possible to establish the cause of death; the most frequent cause was injuries sustained through sharp force (15 cases). The cases are discussed within the context of the existing international literature on corpse dismemberment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalForensic Science International
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 07.2019


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