Criminal Dismemberment is the first book to examine dismemberment as a phenomenon in the context of criminal acts. While the number of such dismemberment cases in any given country is often small, the notion of dismemberment captures the imagination, often leading many to question the motivations as to why anyone would perpetrate such an unnatural act.

The act of dismemberment, in its original form, referred to cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise separating the limbs from a living being as a form a capital punishment. In today’s society, it has become associated most frequently with the criminal act of sectioning the remains of the dead in an attempt to conceal the death and dispose of the remains or make the process of identification of the deceased more difficult to achieve.

Drawing on expertise from leading forensic anthropologists, pathologists, and forensic materials engineers, the book brings together much of the literature on criminal dismemberment—viewing it from the investigative, forensic, and social science perspectives. Key features include:

  • Psychological analysis of the perpetrator
  • Detailed examination of case studies, anonymized from recent investigations
  • Difficulties encountered in a dismemberment investigation
  • Tool mark analysis, including knives and saws, accompanied by over 120 detailed, full-color illustrations and photographs
  • Serves as a unique and useful resource in the investigation of dismembered human remains

The diverse backgrounds of the contributors offers a thorough account of such topics as the history of dismemberment, the forensic pathology in such cases, the importance of developing a common vocabulary in terminology used, the legal admissibility in dismemberment cases. As such, Criminal Dismemberment will serve as a comprehensive reference for students and practitioners alike.

chapter 1|6 pages

Introduction to Criminal Human Dismemberment

BySue Black, Guy Rutty, Sarah Hainsworth, Grant Thomson

chapter 2|19 pages


A Historical Perspective *
ByShane McCorristine

chapter 3|13 pages

Psychology and Dismemberment

ByDavid Holmes

chapter 4|18 pages

Mr. Adam Vincent, Humberside Police

ByMark Oliver

chapter 5|9 pages

Miss Gemma McCluskie, Metropolitan Police Service

ByJohn Nicholson

chapter 6|9 pages


BySue Black, Grant Thomson

chapter 7|17 pages

Principles of Tool Mark Analysis and Evidential Best Practice

ByGrant Thomson, Sue Black

chapter 8|15 pages

Overview of the Examination of a Dismembered Body

ByGuy Rutty (Gr), Bruno Morgan

chapter 9|22 pages

The Role of Forensic Anthropology in Cases of Dismemberment

ByLucina Hackman, Sue Black

chapter 10|22 pages

Identification Marks – Saws

BySarah Hainsworth

chapter 11|18 pages

Identification Marks – Knives and Other Implements

BySarah Hainsworth

chapter 12|12 pages

Future Research in the Analysis of Criminal Dismemberment

BySue Black, Niamh Nic Daéid, Lucina Hackman, Grant Thomson