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Homicides in Scotland in 2001 - Statistics Published

DescriptionAnnual statistics on homicides
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateNovember 28, 2002


Statistics Release
Homicides in Scotland in 2001 - Statistics Published

A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication

28 November 2002

This document is also available in pdf format (59k)

Figures published today by the Scottish Executive reveal that Scottish police recorded 107 victims of homicide in 2001, 2 more than in 2000.

Summary information on homicides recorded in 2001, as known to the Scottish Executive on 10 November, 2002, is given below, (the full statistical bulletin Homicide in Scotland is published every two years and will next be published at end 2003).

Number of Cases and Victims of Homicide ( Table 1)

In 2001, there were 104 cases currently recorded as homicide by the police, the same number as in 2000. These cases resulted in the death of 107 victims, 2 more than in 2000. The number of homicide victims per million population was 21 in both 2000 and 2001.

Homicide Cases by Police Force Area ( Table 2)

The number of homicides in each police force area remained similar to the numbers recorded in 2000, with the exception of Grampian, where 7 homicides were recorded, compared to 12 in 2000.

Sex and Age of Victims ( Table 3 and Chart 1)

There were 82 male victims of homicide in 2001, 77 per cent of the total. Male victims in the 16 to 29 and 30 to 39 age groups represented the highest rates of homicides per million population; 50 and 48 respectively.

Chart 1

Method of Killing ( Table 4 and Chart 2)

Homicide victims killed by the use of a sharp instrument increased slightly from 43 in 2000 to 49 in 2001. These victims represented around half (46 per cent) of all homicide victims in 2001, similar to the proportion in previous years.

Chart 2

Relationship of Main Accused to the Victim ( Table 5)

For all but 2 of the homicide victims in 2001, one or more accused persons have been identified. Of the 105 victims where an accused person(s) has been identified, the main accused was known to the victim in over three quarters of cases; 23 per cent of victims were presumed to have been killed by a relative and 56 per cent were presumed to have been killed by an acquaintance. Of the 24 victims in 2001 who were recorded as having been killed by a relative, over half (14) were killed by their partner. The proportion of victims who were killed by a stranger or where the relationship between the victim and accused was unknown, was 21 per cent, similar to the proportion reported in each of the previous 4 years.

Sex and age of accused ( Table 6)

There was a total of 140 accused persons in the homicide cases recorded in 2001. As in previous years most (89 per cent) of these were male. Over half (51 per cent) of all accused were males aged 16 to 29.

Drink/drugs ( Table 7 and Chart 3)

Fifty six per cent of persons accused in homicide cases in 2001 were reported to have been drunk or on drugs at the time (59 were drunk, 9 were on drugs and 11 were both drunk and on drugs). Only 13 persons were reported not to have been under the influence. The drink/drug status was not known for the remaining 48 accused.

Eleven victims (10 per cent of all homicide victims) were reported to have been killed in a drug related homicide, i.e. a homicide motivated by the need to obtain drugs (or money for drugs), homicide of a supplier or consumer of drugs in order to steal proceeds of drug trade or homicide as a consequence of rivalry within the trade/between users or dealers.

Previous convictions ( Table 8 and Chart 4)

Of the 140 persons accused in homicide cases recorded in 2001, 43 (31 per cent) had no previous convictions, whilst 22 (16 per cent) had over 10 previous convictions. All 22 of the accused with over 10 previous convictions were male, the majority (19) killing with a sharp or blunt instrument or by hitting or kicking. Sixteen of those with over 10 previous convictions were also reported to have been drunk and/or on drugs at the time of the homicide, whilst for the remaining six their drink/drug level was not known. (See Annex note 5 for definition of previous convictions).

Charts 3 and 4

Appeals ( Table 9)

There were 215 appeals against conviction for culpable homicide and 101 against convictions for murder in the decade 1992 to 2001. Twenty eight per cent of appeals against culpable homicide convictions resulted in a reduced sentence, with a further 7 per cent resulting in the ordering of a retrial, the conviction being quashed or an another appeal sustained. For appeals against conviction for murder, the majority (89 per cent) were dismissed or abandoned. The remaining 11 per cent were successful in the conviction being quashed, the charge reduced to culpable homicide or a retrial ordered.


1. This Statistics Release (and the biennial bulletins) gives details on cases of homicide - that is murder and common law culpable homicide. Causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs are excluded. In 2001, there were 34 such crimes recorded by the police (including 2 of death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol).

2. A single case of homicide is counted for each act of murder or culpable homicide irrespective of the number of perpetrators or victims.

3. A homicide case is included against the year in which it is recorded by the police. This is not necessarily the year in which the offence took place, the year in which the accused is brought to trial for the crime, or the year in which the case is finally disposed of by the courts.

4. The figures given in this Statistics Release are as known to The Scottish Executive on 7 November 2002. The initial classification of a case as homicide is made by the police; this will generally be murder. This classification may be altered as a result of decisions taken in the course of criminal proceedings. Some cases initially classified as homicide will, on the basis of criminal proceedings, no longer be classified as such at a later date. This happens in cases where it is found that a homicide had not in fact taken place at all, for example where the main accused person is found guilty of a lesser offence, such as serious assault; or where the decision has been made not to proceed with the case, for example if it is concluded that the victim committed suicide. For this reason the figures for 2001 and previous years which will appear in the next bulletin may differ slightly from those given here.

5. Counts of previous convictions are based on the Scottish Offenders Index (SOI) which covers virtually all convictions between 1989 and 2001 for the most serious crimes and offences. Some types of convictions are not covered by the SOI however, including:

  • convictions for motor vehicle and most minor statutory and common law offences
  • convictions in courts outwith Scotland
  • convictions prior to 1989.

6. This Statistics Release may be viewed on the Scottish Executive Internet Web Site: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00205-00.asp

7. Copies of the December 2001 statistical bulletin on homicide are available at a cost of 2.00 from Scottish Executive Publication Sales, The Stationary Office Bookshop, 71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AZ.

Media enquiries about the information in this Statistics Release should contact:

Contact: Alison Shields: (0131) 244 3073

Public enquiries (non-media) about the statistical information should contact:

Contact: Fred Thorne: (0131) 244 2227


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Justice Department

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e-mail: Julie.Bright@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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Most recent Crimnal Justice Statistical Publications relating to the Crime and Justice theme

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Recorded crime in Scotland, 2001

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Liquor Licensing in Scotland, 2001

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Fire Statistics Scotland, 2000

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Firearm Certificates Statistics, Scotland, 2001

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Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms, Scotland, 2001

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Prison Statistics Scotland, 2001

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Domestic Abuse Recorede by the Police in Scotland, 1 January - 31 December 2001

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