Making the Common Kitchen Knife Less Useful as a Murder Weapon

Felix Light, aka Little Gordon Ramsay

One might think it would be reasonable to assume that a study on designing safer kitchen knives would have some professional application. Perhaps commissioned by an insurance corporation to study which shape of handle causes the fewest mishaps, or which style of serrated knife is least likely to go skipping across the surface of a crusty loaf of bread into a finger. Well, one would be wrong. DEAD wrong.

Sarah Hainsworth and her staff of forensic-engineers at the University of Leicester in the UK have been studying how to make the common kitchen knife less useful as a murder weapon while keeping its culinary utility intact, reports The Economist. The conclusion was that knives ought to be less pointy and have tips of the "sheep's foot" formation found on serrated knives.

The force needed to go deeper is much less than that required for the entry. In fact, some convicted killers have commented on how their knife seemed to “fall into” the body of their victim after breaching his skin. That, combined with the closeness of many vital organs to the surface (depending on the area, a wound a mere 2cm deep has a 41% chance of puncturing the lungs, more than a 60% chance of rupturing the liver or the femoral artery and even a 6% chance of penetrating the heart) means a lethal wound is easily (and often unintentionally) inflicted. It also explains why the sharpness of the knife’s edge is less relevant to the damage ultimately caused than is the sharpness of its tip.

Apparently 30% of murders in the UK are committed with knives! No wonder Gordon Ramsay always seems so stressed out.

—Paula Forbes

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