Misrepresentation of UK homicide characteristics in popular culture

J. Brown, N.S. Hughes, M.C. McGlen, J.H.M. Crichton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The homicide statistics of a popular UK television fictional crime series and the former Lothian & Borders police force region, Scotland were compared. This comparison was used to consider the implications for public attitudes which may influence the adoption of public health interventions to reduce homicide. 217 homicides were identified by 105 perpetrators in the television series 'Midsomer Murders' between 1997 and 2011; these were compared to 55 homicides by 53 perpetrators in the regional sample between 2006 and 2011. The numbers of serial killings (p < 0.0001), planned homicides, female perpetrators (p < 0.0001), shootings (p = 0.0456) and poisonings (p = 0.0289) were higher in the fictional sample. Lothian & Borders cases were almost all single killings, mostly unplanned, with a far greater rate of homicide by kitchen knives (p < 0.0001) and hitting/kicking (p = 0.0005) by intoxicated perpetrators. Control of access to pointed kitchen knives by members of certain groups may reduce homicide rates. If the popular perception of UK homicides is influenced by popular culture, the importance of such a public health intervention may not be apparent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-64
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Issue numberSupplement C
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • homicide
  • media
  • forensic
  • psychiatry


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