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People sporting Ned Kelly tattoo more likely to die of suicide or homicide

June 16, 2011 - London

People who have got a Ned Kelly tattoo made have an above average incidence of traumatic deaths, according to a new research.

Roger Byard, a professor of pathology at the University of Adelaide, made the connection after noticing that an unusual number of deceased individuals undergoing forensic autopsy had tattoos showing, or were otherwise related to, Ned Kelly, who was a 19th century outlaw in Australia, reports the Discovery News.

Compared to the general autopsy population included in the study, suicides and homicides were 2.7 and 7.7 times higher respectively.

All of the deceased were men between the ages of 20 and 67, with an average age of 37 years.

"Although the population studied is highly selected, individuals with these (Ned Kelly) tattoos had an above average incidence of traumatic deaths," Byard wrote.

Although Ned Kelly (1855-1880) died in the 19th century, he remains a powerful and controversial figure in Austalia.

The suicide/homicide link to tattoos associated with Kelly suggests that these body adornments can serve as honest visual signals communicating a person's social affiliations and values, Byard added.

The study has been published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.


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