AN INVESTIGATION OF IMPLICATIONS IN RELATION TO THE PHENOMENON OF CONCEALED HOMICIDE OF THE MEDICO-LEGAL SYSTEM IN THE UNITED KINGDOM WITH A PRIMARY FOCUS ON ENGLAND AND WALES
This study investigates the implications in relation to the phenomenon of concealed homicide of medico-legal system in the United Kingdom with a primary focus on England and Wales. The term "concealed homicide", as the term is used in this study, refers to a death resulting from an unlawful action wherein the actual circumstances of the death are concealed to cause the death to appear to be the result of natural causes or of human actions that were not unlawful within the context of wilful murder.
Concealed homicide, therefore, may refer to acts ranging, at one extreme of a continuum, from staged "accidents" to setting fire to buildings to mask the true cause of death, to the other extreme of the continuum wherein a mass murderer such as Dr. Harold Shipman is able to manipulate the medico-legal system to conceal the facts surrounding the causes of death of multiple victims. Between the extremes of the continuum lie a multitude of other tactics designed to conceal homicides, including the hiding or disposal of bodies to prevent the facts of death from coming to light.
The focus of this study, however, is on those instances in which the death of persons is known but wherein a person or persons attempt (successfully or unsuccessfully) to conceal the circumstances related to the true causes of death from responsible authorities in the medico-legal system. The study focus, therefore, narrows further to the elements of the medico-legal system in the United Kingdom that involve (a) determination and certification of causes of death and (b) authorizations for disposition of bodies.
The high-level functions of a medico-legal system in relation to the deaths of human beings are to (a) detect crime, (b) maintain a system of records related to crime, (c) inv...