"Out of the blue": Men who murder an intimate partner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • R. Emerson Dobash
  • Russell P. Dobash
  • Kate Cavanagh


It came "out of the blue" is often said when a man with no known history of criminality kills his intimate partner. This reflects a belief that a "conventional man" without a criminogenic past or a problematic personal history would not commit murder. Casefiles from the Murder in Britain Study are used to compare men with no previous conviction (NoConvict, n = 25) with men with at least one previous conviction prior to the murder (PrevConvict, n = 79). The groups differed in childhood and adulthood with problematic lives and offending among the PrevConvict group and more "conventional" profiles among the NoConvict group but were similar in terms of circumstances at the murder and cognitions about the victim, especially possessiveness, jealousy, separation, empathy and remorse. The similarities challenge the notion that the murder comes "out of the blue" and underscore the relevance of gender and a feminist analysis of IPmurder. © 2009 The Author(s).

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-225
Number of pages31
JournalFeminist Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009