Murderers might seem like lonely creatures, doing their evil deeds in secret. But misery loves company, and some killers hunt in pairs.
The horrific crimes of killers like the Moors Murderers and Fred and Rose West seem to be more evil because they were born out of a twisted kind of love.
Psychologist Joni E. Johnston, author of a several books on serial killers, believes that when couples kill there is usually a dimension of domestic abuse or domination involved – usually perpetrated by the male partner.
But, she adds, there is something “already missing” in women who participate in rape, torture and serial killing. “Perhaps it's empathy, perhaps it's willpower, perhaps it's a moral compass,” she writes. “It's this absence that leaves room for evil.”
These are some of the deadliest couples in the vile history of murder.
Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
The Moors murders – five sexually-motivated killings of children between July 1963 and October 1965 – left a scar on Britain. Brady and Hindley were described at their trial as "two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity”. While they are known to have murdered five children, the body of Keith Bennett, who the couple lured into their van on June 16, 1964, has never been found.
Despite repeated pleas for the killers to identify the site of the 12-year-old’s grave, the evil pair went to their deaths without revealing their last secret.
Hindley died in 2002, aged 60, while Brady lived on until 2017, when he succumbed to COPD at the age of 79.
Fred and Rosemary West
Fred West killed at least twelve people – including his former wife – and least eight of the murders involved vile sexual acts by Fred and his second wife Rose.
The murders, which involved rape, bondage, torture and savage mutilations took place between 1967 and 1987. While Rose tried to present herself as having been forced into the barbaric acts, she killed at least one young girl, her stepdaughter Charmaine, while Fred West was in jail for theft.
Fred West killed himself in 1995, while still being held on remand for his crimes, while his wife convicted of ten murders and sentenced to ten life terms with a whole life order. She is still in HM Prison New Hall, Flockton, West Yorkshire, where she was for a time reportedly in a lesbian relationship with Myra Hindley.
She told one fellow con “I’m not going to be the next Myra Hindley – I’m not going to die in prison”.
Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were known as the "Ken and Barbie Killers” because of their fresh-faced appearances.
Their crimes horrified Canada in the early 1990s in the same way that Brady and Hindley had shocked Britain 20 years before.
After the sexually-motivated murder of Homolka’s 15-year-old sister Tammy. the evil pair went on to kill and dismember two more young women, making videos of the sick acts which were shown at their trials. Bernardo also raped at least 20 women.
Notorious serial killer Ivan Milat wore nappy in years before death, inquest told
At her trial in 1993 Komolka convinced prosecutors that she had been an unwilling accomplice to the murders, receiving a shorter sentence as a result. 12 years later she was released, and she lives in Quebec, Canada, to this day.
After his 1995 conviction for his part in the murders, and dozens of vicious rapes, Bernardo was sentenced to life imprisonment and was later declared a “dangerous offender”. It’s unlikely that he will ever be released from prison.
Suzan Carson and James Carson
Religious fanatics Suzan and James Carson claimed they were killing “witches” and described themselves as themselves "vegetarian Muslim warriors”.
They roamed California in the early 1980s on a deranged quest to cleanse the world. "Witchcraft, homosexuality and abortion are causes for death,” said James, who renamed himself Michael Bear Carson after he became embroiled in a strange cocktail of drug abuse and bizarre mysticism.
The pair kept a bizarre “hit list” of celebrities such as former US president Ronald Reagan and YV host Johnny Carson, who they planned to kill.
On June 12, 1984, the Carsons were convicted first of killing 23-year-old Keryn Barnes and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Later, they were convicted of the murders of farm worker Clark Stephens and 30-year-old hitchhiker Jon Charles Hellyar,, for which they received sentences of 50 years to life and 75 years to life, respectively.
While they were convicted of three murders, author Richard D. Reynolds, who researched the pair extensively for his book Cry For War , the Carsons were suspects in nearly a dozen other suspicious deaths in the US. and Europe.
Both are now in jail, with little prospect of release.
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