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Strangulation. What is the difference between strangling, choking, garrotting and throttling? Often these words are used in an interchangeable way but they are very different, and they mean different things, so it’s worth understanding the difference.
Strangulation is the overall umbrella term; it’s the accidental or deliberate compression of the neck which interferes with the normal flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. Strangulation is broken down into two categories; manual strangulation and ligature strangulation.
Manual strangulation also known as throttling is when a person is strangled using bare hands and/or fingers, but they can also be strangled by the use of other body parts including the arms, legs, feet and parts of the torso, as well as blunt objects such as police batons. Manual strangulation usually occurs with the perpetrator and victim being face-to-face but it can also occur when the victim is manually strangled from behind, this is known as yoking.
Ligature strangulation, also known as garrotting, is when a person is strangled using some form of cord, whether a rope, belt, wire and stocking, which is partially or fully wrapped around the neck, to induce hypoxia and asphyxia. Typically, unconsciousness occurs within 10 to 15 seconds. And although the term choking is often used in place of strangulation -as medically its effects and outcome are similar - choking (or being choked) is when the airflow in the trachea is internally blocked by food or a foreign object, and not by a compression of the neck.
Well, that was cheery, wasn’t it? And if ever you see a man being strangled with a rope and he’s frantically shouting “help, help, I’m being choked to death”, rush up to him and say “actually, I think you’ll find that as you’re not currently eating, you can’t be being choked, the correct term is garrotted, which is a Spanish term, don’t you know?” And he’ll be so pleased.
If you found this interesting? Check out the Mini Mile episodes of the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast, or click on the link below to listen to an episode.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards 2018", and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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