Serial Killers and Murderers

Posted in Weird People


The motivation to kill other human beings is still poorly understood. Killings undertaken in the heat of lust or passion are within the understanding of almost all - for who among us can claim to have never felt murderous urges when confronted with desperate situations or fear for a loved one?

But calculated killings, undertaken for some queer personal pleasure still seem beyond normal comprehension. Cold psychoanalysis can take us so far in describing the characteristics of such people but their motivations remain unknowable. Behind masks of normality, living in normal houses on everyday British streets, killers live among us, acting out their insanity on the innocents they rub shoulders with.

Whatever terror the idea of serial killers hold for us is magnified by the undoubted 'allure' of their crimes. By this, I do not mean approval - but rather the fascination they hold for those curious about human limits. How was it that Peter Sutcliffe could appear to be happily married and hold down regular work whilst committing his horrible crimes by night. Similarly, Dennis Nilsen was a well regarded functionary in the civil service by day, whilst a butcher of men by night. These killers were not the slavering, wild-eyed men of popular fiction, but functioning members of society who were often unsuspected - even by those closest to them.

And now, held in secure facilities around the country (some of which are described in this section) these stark outposts of human behaviour have attained queer semi-celebrity as they work their way towards death in prison. The likes of Ian Brady receive bags of letters. Some of it from the curious or the furious, but some from people seeking love in the arms of the most dangerous people in the lands. Sutcliffe, for example, has remarried whilst in Broadmoor and boasts in correspondance of his many 'girlfriends'. For some, it seems, there is no crime that cannot be forgiven.

Is the era of the serial killer over?

Until fairly recently, serial killers could operate unmolested for years at a time. Sutcliffe, Shipman and the Wests were undetected for decades as they went about their murderous pastimes. Arguably, today's technology, efficient record-keeping and the routine collection of DNA from everyone arrested for any crime (even if not charged) make it more unlikely that even the most determined killer could evade detection today.

In August 2014, for example, Mateusz Kosecki was jailed after pleading guilty to killing prostitute Yvette Hallsworth in Derby. After his conviction, police revealed that he had been implicated in a series of predatory attacks on prostitutes in the area and in light of this he was sentenced to life imprisonment aged just 18. Perhaps in an earlier era, his attacks would have continued and police would have floundered in their attempts to identify him - particularly as his confidence and skill grew with each killings.

Of course, it is pointless to speculate as to whether that would indeed have been the outcome of his life, but history shows that many serial killers display disturbing tendencies from youth and rarely is their behaviour truly checked until they are behind bars. With ever-present surveillance potential serial murderers face arrest at a very early stage in their careers.

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