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Investigating homicide offender typologies based on their clinical histories and crime scene behaviour patternsAbreu Minero, Valeria; Barker, Edward; Dickson, Hannah; Husson, Francois; Flynn, Sandra; Shaw, Jennifer; University of Derby; Kings College London; Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes, France; The University of Manchester (Emerald, 2019-09-16)The purpose of this paper is to identify offender typologies based on aspects of the offenders’ psychopathology and their associations with crime scene behaviours using data derived from the National Confidential Enquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health concerning homicides in England and Wales committed by offenders in contact with mental health services in the year preceding the offence (n=759). The authors used multiple correspondence analysis to investigate the interrelationships between the variables and hierarchical agglomerative clustering to identify offender typologies. Variables describing: the offenders’ mental health histories; the offenders’ mental state at the time of offence; characteristics useful for police investigations; and patterns of crime scene behaviours were included. Results showed differences in the offenders’ histories in relation to their crime scene behaviours. Further, analyses revealed three homicide typologies: externalising, psychosis and depression. These typologies may assist the police during homicide investigations by: furthering their understanding of the crime or likely suspect; offering insights into crime patterns; provide advice as to what an offender’s offence behaviour might signify about his/her mental health background. Findings suggest information concerning offender psychopathology may be useful for offender profiling purposes in cases of homicide offenders with schizophrenia, depression and comorbid diagnosis of personality disorder and alcohol/drug dependence. Empirical studies with an emphasis on offender profiling have almost exclusively focussed on the inference of offender demographic characteristics. This study provides a first step in the exploration of offender psychopathology and its integration to the multivariate analysis of offence information for the purposes of investigative profiling of homicide by identifying the dominant patterns of mental illness within homicidal behaviour.
Method of homicide and severe mental illness: A systematic reviewAbreu Minero, Valeria; Barker, Edward; Bedford, Rachael; Kings College London (Elsevier BV, 2017-09-28)There is limited research that has examined offense characteristics in homicides committed by individuals with mental illness and with differing psychiatric diagnoses. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize previous findings of studies analyzing homicide behavior by mentally ill individuals, and reporting any associations between mental illness and method of homicide. We searched four databases (MedLine, PsychINFO, Web of Science and Embase), and identified 52 relevant articles for analysis. Of these 52 articles, nine reported specific information on mental illness and method of homicide. Five out of nine articles revealed an association between schizophrenia/delusional disorder and the use of sharp instruments as a method of homicide. Four out of nine studies revealed an association between mood disorders (bipolar disorder/major depression) and strangulation/asphyxiation/suffocation/drowning. Our review confirms consistency across studies reporting a significant association between close contact methods and schizophrenia/mood disorders. Also identified as possible influential factors concerning weapon choice are illness duration, victim characteristics and planning/lack of planning of the homicide. Additionally, studies revealed up to 96% of severely mentally ill offenders experienced psychiatric symptoms at the time of the homicide. Future research may examine the presence of specific psychiatric symptoms when a mentally ill offender commits a homicide and whether these may be more influential in the method of homicide used than the psychiatric diagnosis of the offender.
The patterns of homicide offence characteristics and their associations with offender psychopathologyAbreu Minero, Valeria; Dickson, Hannah; Barker, Edward; Flynn, Sandra; Ibrahim, Saied; Shaw, Jennifer; Kings College London; University of Manchester (Wiley, 2018-09-30)Previous research suggests different crime scene patterns reflect differences in the background characteristics of the offender. However, whether differences in crime scene patterns are related to offender psychopathology remains unclear. We hypothesise that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive illness will each associate to a specific homicide crime scene pattern. Homicide data were obtained from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. Our sample comprised 759 homicides committed by offenders in contact with mental health services in the year preceding the offence and with an available psychiatric report. We used joint correspondence analysis to examine patterns between different methods of homicide, circumstances of homicide, victim gender, and victim age groups. Three homicide patterns were identified: male conflict homicide, intimate female homicide, and child homicide. Additionally, each homicide pattern was associated with one or more mental illnesses. Results are discussed in terms of the possible role of psychopathology in “offender profiling” research.