Homicide in Scotland, 2003 - Statistics Published

Summary statistics on homicides recorded in Scotland in 2003

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Statistics Release

24 November 2004

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Table 1: Cases and victims currently recorded as homicide by the police in Scotland, 1984-2003
Table 2: Cases currently recorded as homicide, by police force, 1999-2003
Table 3: Victims currently recorded as homicide, by sex and age, 1999-2003
Table 4: Victims currently recorded as homicide victims, by main method of killing, 1999-2003
Table 5: Victims currently recorded as homicide victims, by relationship of main accused to victim, 1999-2003
Table 6: Persons accused in homicide cases by sex and age, 1999
Table 7: Persons accused in homicide cases, by whether drunk and/or under influence of drugs, 1999-2003
Notes on statistics included in this Release
Scottish Executive Statistical Services
Correspondence and enquiries


Figures published today by the Scottish Executive reveal that Scottish police recorded 108 victims of homicide in 2003, 20 fewer than in 2002.

Summary information on homicides recorded in 2003, as known to the Scottish Executive on 10 November, 2004, is given below, (the full statistical bulletin Homicide in Scotland is published every two years and will next be published at end 2005).

Number of Cases and Victims of Homicide ( Table 1)

In 2003, there were 108 cases currently recorded as homicide by the police. These cases resulted in the death of 108 victims, 20 fewer than in 2002. The number of homicide victims per million population was 21 in 2003, compared with 25 in 2002.

Homicide Cases by Police Force Area ( Table 2)

The number of homicides in most police force areas remained similar to the numbers recorded in 2002, or showed a reduction, notably Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. In the case of Lothian and Borders 17 homicides were recorded, compared to 13 in 2002. Sixty-eight per cent of homicide cases recorded in 2003 took place in the Strathclyde Police Force area.

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

The rate for males - 38 victims per million population - was over six times the rate for females - six per million population. There were 93 male victims of homicide in 2003, 85 per cent of the total. Male victims in the 16 to 30 age group represented the highest rate with 72 homicides per million population.

Chart 1: Homicide victims per million population, by age and sex, 2003

bar chart

Method of Killing ( Table 4 and Chart 2)

Homicide victims killed by the use of a sharp instrument decreased from 68 in 2002 to 55 in 2003, a drop of 19 per cent. These victims represented just over half (51 per cent) of all homicide victims in 2003, similar to the proportion in previous years.

Chart 2: Homicide victims, by method of killing, 2003

pie chart

Relationship of Main Accused to the Victim ( Table 5)

For all but 3 of the homicide victims in 2003, 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 almost four-fifths of cases; 20 per cent of victims were presumed to have been killed by a relative or partner, and 59 per cent were presumed to have been killed by an acquaintance. Of the 21 victims in 2003 who were recorded as having been killed by a relative, 6 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 2003. As in previous years most (93 per cent) of these were male. Over half (56 per cent) of all accused were males aged 16 to 30.

Drink/drugs ( Table 7 and Chart 3)

Sixty-five per cent of the total of 140 persons accused in homicide cases in 2003 were reported to have been drunk or on drugs at the time (39 per cent were drunk, 16 per cent were on drugs and 10 per cent were both drunk and on drugs). Only 9 accused persons were reported not to have been under the influence of drink or drugs. The drink/drug status was not known for the remaining 40 (29 per cent) accused.

Twelve victims (11 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.

Chart 3: Drink/drug status of accused, 2003

pie chart

Current Status of Cases

Fifty-nine (55 per cent) of the 108 homicides recorded in 2003 have so far resulted in a conviction for murder (29 cases) or culpable homicide (30 cases). Thirty-one people have been convicted of murder and 34 of culpable homicide.

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