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King-hit fatalities fuelled by alcohol

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5th Dec 2013
Catherine Hanrahan   all articles by this author

AT LEAST 90 people have died after being king-hit in Australia in the last decade, with the violence fuelled by alcohol in almost two-thirds of cases, research shows.

The study, conducted by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, identified closed cases from the National Coronial Information System where death was attributed to a king hit. This was defined as any instance where a single blow to the head, neck or chest caused the individual to fall to the ground unconscious.

Of the cases where toxicology was available, 73% involved the use of alcohol and all but four were in men with a median age of 33.

Illicit drugs were detected in only 10 cases, of which cannabis was the most common. The authors said they had anticipated a higher incidence of use of stimulant party drugs in late-night assaults at drinking venues.

“This study indicated that alcohol intoxication increases the risk of victimisation not just aggressive offending,” they wrote.

“This reiterates the serious consequences of alcohol-fuelled violence in Australia.”

The study showed that 28 cases happened in NSW, with 24 each in Queensland and Victoria, in line with population distribution. More than half occurred in a hotel or pub, or public space.

Half of the cases occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and the perpetrator did not know the victim in more than a third of cases.

Drug Alcohol Depend; online 1 December

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