Investigating the nature of expressiveness in stranger, acquaintance and intrafamilial homicides

Stephanie K. Last, Katarina Fritzon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This study explores the role of the victim-offender relationship in the dynamics of homicide, by examining the crime scene behaviour of 25 intrafamilial, 30 acquaintance and 27 stranger homicide offenders (n = 82). Six crime scene variables were examined: 'Weapon from the scene', 'Excessive wounding', 'Facial trauma', 'Multiple wounds to a single area', 'Post-mortem activity' and 'Manual violence'. The first objective was to identify whether these variables could be combined to form a partially ordered scale of expressiveness. The second was to examine whether the nature of this expressive crime scene varied according to the victim and offender relationship. It was hypothesised that the intrafamilial homicides would be characterised by a more expressive crime scene. This was examined by Partial Order Scalogram Analysis which supported the hypothesised link between the level of expressed emotion evident in the crime scene and the nature of the victim-offender relationship. Further analysis on the individual variables revealed that the best single predictor of the relationship between victim and offender was the presence of multiple wounding. These findings are discussed both as contributing to a theoretical understanding of the emotional salience of crime scene actions when killing a family member, and in practical terms in relation to the significance of these variables for both police investigations and clinical interventions with homicide perpetrators. Copyright (C) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-193
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating the nature of expressiveness in stranger, acquaintance and intrafamilial homicides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this