Accidental death

Accidental death is usually caused by one of three ways:

  • Coma (failure of brain)
  • Syncope (failure of heart)
  • Asphyxia (failure of lungs)


Usually caused on one of four ways:

  • Depressed fracture of the skull, compressing the brain. In homicide, this is usually caused by a direct head injury by bludgeoning by a blunt implement, or in car accidents.
  • Some poisons
  • Some narcotic and hypnotic drugs
  • Medical conditions such as cerebral haemorrhage and brain tumour. Also some diseases poison the brain as a by-product


  • Natural heart failure caused by several degenerative diseases. Can be exacerbated by shock.
  • Some poisons
  • Direct injury to heart


Anoxia means “lack of oxygen”. Is it the main cause of death in homicide. There are four main types.

  • Anoxic Anoxia (Asphyxia) This also also called “manual anoxia”. It is caused by:
    • Breathing air that doesn’t have enough oxygen
    • Obstruction of oxygen supply by air passages being blocked or swollen
    • Pressure on chest or abdomen preventing breathing
    • Paralysis of repiratory system by electric shock or some poisons.
  • Anaemic Anoxia
    • Insuffient supply of oxygen to the body due to blood loss or obstruction of the arteries. This is what happens when you bleed to death.
    • Obstruction of the supply of oxygen in the blood, as in carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Histotoxic Anoxia Some poisons, eg cyanide, paralyze the body tissues preventing them from using oxygen.
  • Stagnant Anoxia Where the blood circulation is stopped, such as with a shock, heart failure or an embolism.