While there’s no one who would argue five serial killers is five too many, unfortunately, the world – both at present and throughout history – has seen a vast number of serial killers and here we follow on from Part 1 in the series.
In little under six weeks between 31st October and 10th December 2006, Steve Wright murdered five women, all of whom were prostitutes in or around Ipswich, Suffolk, UK. Their naked bodies, found at several different locations in the area, showed no signs of any sexual assault, but the cause of death of two was certified as by asphyxiation.
Police officers from other forces around the country were seconded to help find the person responsible for these horrendous crimes and the investigation, codenamed Operation Sumac, eventually resulted in the arrest of Wright on 19th December. He was charged on the 21st December 2006 with the murder of all five women.
Wright’s trial began over a year later on 14th February 2008 and despite pleading to the contrary, on the 21st February 2008 he was found guilty of the murder of all five women. Sentenced the following day to life imprisonment, this included the recommendation – because of the substantial degree of pre-meditation and planning involved – that he should never be released.
Image: Joe Mabel (Wikipedia)
This 3 times married American, with a deep rooted hatred of prostitutes, is suspected of killing more than 90 over a 2 decade span. He would proposition them, drive them down to the banks of the Green River area and have them remove all of their clothing. It was then that he struck and strangled them to death.
Dumping the first 5 bodies nearby – hence the nickname ‘The Green River Killer’ – he carried out sexual acts on the dead corpses to satisfy himself, sometimes returning to the scene on several occasions.
Ridgway was questioned about the murders on several occasions, but was never at any time detained. Fortunately, his luck ran out on 30th November 2001, when he was arrested – due to DNA evidence – for the murders of 4 of the 5 women.
Charged with killing 71, to which he pleaded guilty to 48, this conviction found him facing 48 life sentences with no parole and the only reason he avoided the death sentence was the due to the fact that he told police the whereabouts of the unfound bodies.
Image: R Sones (wikipedia)
Known as the ‘Gay Slayer’, as the five men Ireland strangled after picking them up in pubs were all homosexual, it is said that he told police he had decided to become a serial killer as a New Year resolution for 1993.
The unemployed Ireland began his killings in The Coleherne in West London, a pub which was part of the London gay scene. With the clientele wearing colour coded handkerchiefs as an indication of their sexual preferences and preferred roles, it was ideal for Ireland, as he could simply pick up the men who preferred the more passive role and sadomasochism.
After Ireland killed, he meticulously cleaned the victims flat to remove any evidence of him being there and even stayed until the next day with the body to avoid being seen leaving in the middle of the night. At the flat of one of his victims, however, he slipped up and left finger prints which would tie him to the murder.
The police charged him with two murders and Ireland confessed to the other three while he was in prison awaiting his trial. On the 20th December 1993, Ireland was found guilty of all five murders, receiving a life sentence for each, later to be changed to a whole of life tariff.
Colin Ireland died on 21st February 2012, while serving his sentence at Wakefield prison.
Image: Arto Katajamaa (Flickr)
This Ukrainian serial killer earned the nicknames ‘The Red Ripper’, ‘The Rostov Ripper’ and probably the most nerve-wracking, ‘The Butcher of Rostov’, due to the way Chikatilo killed and what he did to his victims afterwards.
Confessing to 56 murders – all children and women – each and every one was ruthlessly tortured before being stabbed, strangled or drowned. When his victims were dead, he would mutilate their genitalia before eating some of their flesh and drinking their blood.
In October 1992, Chikatilo was charged with 53 murders and although he confessed to 56, he was only ever convicted of 52. This conviction carried the death sentence and Andrei Chikatilo was duly executed in February 1994.
Image: Daan Prinsloo (panoramio)
Known as the ‘ABC Killer’, this South African serial killer he started his murders in Atteridgeville, before moving onto Boksburg and finally the Johannesburg suburb of Cleveland. In total, Sithole killed 38 women in 1994 and 1995, largely by passing himself off as a business man and offering them the prospect of employment.
On the pretext that his victims were going to his business office, he lured them to a quiet location where his true intention came to light, first raping before torturing and murdering. To add insult to injury, in some of the cases he perversely called the victim’s family and taunted them.
When the police caught up with him, he attacked them wielding an axe, for which he was shot twice and wounded. At the end of his trial on December 5th 1997, Sithole was sentenced to a grand total of 2,410 years in jail, having to serve 930 years before becoming eligible for parole.