The average person doesn't wake up in the morning and think "hmm, today I'm going to go on an ape-shit killing spree, murdering my family, friends and anyone who looks at me in a weird way". I mean some people probably want to, and joke about it, but very few people actually kill. So what motivates a serial killer to kill? What is the key defining moment or early emotional trauma in a serial killer or mass-murderer's life which either festers away inside their brain and is the over-all impetus (and in their eyes a logical justification) for their heinous crimes, or the final moment of madness which tips them over the edge from being "such a nice boy" to "a complete monster"?
Point of this article is not to justify the murders or to absolve these killers of their heinous acts, but to try and understand where such unnatural violence, hated of others and an inability to empathise with people comes from. What follows is (what is believed to be) the real reason behind many of the world's most prolific serial killers, mass murderers and spree-killers most horrific crimes, as theorised by the police, a psychiatrist, or the killer themselves...although - to be honest - does anyone really know the real reason we do the crazy things we do? Probably not.
Frustrated at his lack of ambition and immaturity, she broke up with Bundy, which absolutely devastated him. It is said that many of his later victims resembled this girlfriend, many of whom were severely raped and sadistically beaten to death.
John Wayne Gacy raped and murdered 33 young men and boys, often dismembering and hiding their corpses under his home's crawl space, but on the surface he presented as a respected member of the community; a US Army soldier, loyal KFC manager and fun-loving children's entertainer, as well as a heterosexual married man. He lived his real life behind a mask.
Following his arrest, numerous investigations have been launched to uncover other victims in Los Angeles, Berlin and New York, all places there Lupo lived.
MacKay was later diagnosed twice as a "psychopath" (1967 & 1972) but one year after his release from Moss Side Hospital he hacked Father Crean to death with an axe. MacKay was charged with five murders and is currently serving a whole life tariff.
Maudlsey was later convicted of killing two fellow prisoners, and is currently serving a whole life sentence incarcerated at Wakefield Prison in a 5.5m by 4.5m glass cell. Robert Maudlsey once said “If I’d killed my parents in 1970, none of these people need have died”.
The second occurred in 1978, when “Twinkle” his sexually promiscuous boyfriend ended their brief relationship, causing Nilsen to spiral out of control; killing, sodomising and dismembering fifteen young men, many of whom were young, slim, gay and homeless – just like “Twinkle”.
Later having qualified as a local GP for Hyde and Todmorden, Dr Harold Shipman would later be convicted of the murders of fifteen patients (with an enquiry later concluding that he’d killed as many as 215 people, although it is believed this figure could be as high as 457 over a 25 year period, making him one of the most prolific serial killer in history), many of whom were elderly ladies who he’d attempted to “alleviate the suffering of”… using an injection of morphine.
Soon afterwards, Rose descended into prostitution, which was when she met Fred West, her future husband, who together they would rape, torture and murder twelve young women… including Rose's own daughter. Often it is said that later in life, some children of abuse seek out victims to abuse themselves out of revenge as they are unable to attack their own abusers, or – having been abused for so long - are unable to tell the difference between right and wrong.
Although rarely tied together, Christie was the victim of a WW1 mustard gas attack, which left him physically and mentally traumatised, having witnessed those around him lying motionless and helpless, having been overcome by deadly gas fumes (a scene similar to his victim's deaths).
Other traumatic events and (possible) motivations for serial killers include:
If you "enjoyed" this blog post try; Odds of a US Presidential Assassination, Killer Couples Part 1 & Part 2, Famous British Serial Killers - Where Are They Now? Serial Killers & Murderers Who Were Never Caught, London's Deadliest & Often Forgotten Disasters, Killers Born During a Full Moon, Killer's Star Signs, Serial Killers Who Were On TV, Celebrities Who Have Killed, London's Railway of Death, Serial Killers as Kids and the World's Weirdest Death Rituals
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian 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 quirky & unusual things to do in London” and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totalling 75 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime historian, writer and tour guide of Murder Mile Walks.