Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Felo de se

Felo de se (a felon of himself) is one who, being of sound mind and years of discretion, deliberately causes his own death, and also, in some cases, where one maliciously attempts to kill another, and in the carrying out of such attempt unwillingly kills himself, he is adjudged a felo de se. When the deceased is found by the coroner and jury a felo de se, all his chattels, real and personal, are forfeited to the Crown, though they are usually restored upon payment of moderate fees. A will made by a felo de se is void as to his personal estate, though not as to his real estate, nor is his wife barred of her dower. Formerly he was buried in the highway, with a stake driven through his body; but by 4 Geo. IV., c. 52, it is provided that a felo de se shall be privately interred at night in the burial-ground in which his remains might by law have been interred if the verdict oifelo de se had not been found against him. The Interments Act, 1882, repealed and re-enacted the above Act, omitting the provisions as to the hours of burial, and allowing, by permission of the ordinary, a religious service, the Prayer Book expressly forbidding the use of the Burial Service therein contained in the case of those who die "laying violent hands on themselves." A coroner's inquest must be held in every case of suicide, and in the absence of evidence of unsoundness of mind, the verdict of felo de se must still be directed and returned. To attempt to commit suicide is a misdemeanour at common law. [Coroner, Felony.]