The number of homicide cases in Scotland has fallen to the lowest level for more than four decades, figures show.
There were 55 homicides recorded in Scotland in 2020-21 – the fewest since comparable records began back in 1976.
With three cases involving more than one person, there were 58 victims, the Scottish Government statistics showed – with 48 of them male, while 10 were women.
The number of victims was down from the previous year, with 65 deaths from homicide in 2019-20
And over the last decade the figures showed that the number of homicide cases recorded in Scotland has fallen by 40%.
Cases have dropped from 91 homicides in 2011-12 – with Glasgow City accounting for about a fifth (22%) of this fall, with cases there dropping to eight in 2020-21.
The coronavirus lockdown may have helped reduce the number of homicides, the report said, although it urged caution.
“The nationwide lockdowns and other measures put in place to limit social contact during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic may have had an impact on the number of homicide cases,” it stated.
“However, some caution is advised in assessing this, as the volume of cases recorded in 2020-21 is not substantially different to some earlier years (such as 59 in 2017-18).”
Of the 48 men who died as a result of homicide last year, almost three quarters (73%) were killed by an acquaintance.
Meanwhile 30% of the women killed died at the hands of their partner or a former partner.
Almost three out of five killings (59%) involved the use of a knife or some other sharp instrument, such as a broken bottle, sword or sharpened screwdriver.
In 17% of cases, the victim was hit and kicked to death, with 5% being shot.
Just over two thirds (67%) of all homicides took place in someone’s home, with 31% happening in a public place and 2% in prison.
All cases of homicide recorded in 2020-21 were solved, the report said.
Of the 65 people accused of carrying out the killings, a total of 60 were male.