Engineers at the University of Leicester have for the first time created a way of measuring how much force is used during a stabbing using a broken bottle. The advance is expected to have significant implications for legal forensics.
A team from the University has conducted a systematic study of the force applied during a stabbing and come up with the first set of penetration force data for broken glass bottles. This work has been published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine
Stabbing is the most common method of committing murder in the UK. Injuries and assaults related to alcohol consumption are also a growing concern in many countries. In such cases the impulsive use of weapons such as a glass bottle is not uncommon.
In approximately 10% of all assaults resulting in treatment in the United Kingdom (UK) emergency units, glasses and bottles are used as weapons. Official UK estimates suggest that a form of glass is used as a weapon in between 3,400 and 5,400 offences per year. There is little understanding of how much force is required to create the injuries as, until now, there have been no systematic studies of how much force is required to penetrate skin with such weapons.
The study has also revealed that carrying out reconstructions of glass bottle stabbing incidents can be unreliable and may lead to a misleading approximation of force involved as glasses and bottles fracture to leave a unique stabbing surface of sharp and blunt points. This could have major implications for not only those in the field of forensics but also for anyone involved in a stabbing incident.