True Crime Stories: The Worlds Most Dangerous Killers: Serial Killers Evil True


True Crime


[The Worlds Most Dangerous Killers: Serial Killers Evil True Crime Stories

Book 2

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What is a serial killer?

Chapter 2: The Co-ed Killer: Edmund Kemper

Chapter 3: Harold Shipman – The Evil Doctor

Chapter 4: Javed Iqbal – The Respected Killer from Lahore

[+ Chapter 5: The Forgotten Cannibal – Karl Denke+]

[+ Chapter 6: Sasha Spesivstev – The Russian Cannibal+]

[+ Chapter 7: Crazy Charlie – Charles Ray Hatcher+]





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I want to thank you and congratulate you for downloading the book, “True Crime Stories: The Worlds Most Dangerous Killers: Serial Killers Evil True Crime Stories”.

As a society, we are fascinated by crime. It is something that dominates our interest, given the high viewership and ratings for shows such as Law & Order and Criminal Minds. We remain highly interested not only in the way the crime is committed, and then solved, but also in the psyche of the criminal.


What possibly could have forced them to commit their crime? What was the impulse behind their actions? Was it that they had faced some abuse in the past? Were they pure evil? These are the questions the public struggles with.


In this book, we will talk about not of any crime such as tearing a parking ticket, but serious crimes that shook the fabric of society when they were discovered. They were crimes of such magnitudes that we as a society couldn’t believe someone could have descended to such depths. They went against every core belief that we hold strictly as the prerogative of humanity.


I am talking about serial killers.


Since, perhaps, the time of Jack the Ripper, the originally famous serial killer who was never found, the idea of a serial killer has dominated popular thought for a very simple reason: There have been way too many of them. A serial killer is a person who murders multiple people, who are often not related to each other by any means.


That is to say, a serial killer usually lacks any motive for their murders. Their murders are not crimes of passion, suddenly brought upon by anger, or hatred, but a result of cold and calculated planning. All their murders often carry the same modus operandi, and even some signature, as a primary reason of a serial killer to do what they do is the fame they get. Sending the police on a wild goose chase is something that serial killers enjoy.


Perhaps the most famous serial killer in literary history is Hannibal Lecter, from the Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal was not only interesting because he killed people, of course, but because of how he did it. Hannibal’s signature, the mark he left upon his victims, was the sign of cannibalism.

He used to cook and eat the body parts of his victims. If you read some of the following, real life examples of some truly depraved serial killers, it will not even be the most disturbing thing you shall find in this book. A word of caution: This book contains graphic details of extreme violence; proceed carefully.

I thank you once again for downloading this book and I hope you find it interesting.

Copyright 2015 by Travis S. Kennedy – All rights reserved.


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Chapter 1:


What is a serial killer?


I suppose it is now worthwhile to talk about what exactly classifies a serial killer. A serial killer is classified as someone who has committed more than three murders, separated, crucially by a “cooling” period.


The cooling period is a necessary criterion as for the serial killer; murder is a habitual need that is created by (usually) a psychological disorder. They are typically not crimes of passion, which tend to happen at the spur of the moment, but by careful planning on the part of the serial killer.


Serial killers also share a similar modus operandi and a similar target group, though both of these are not hard and fast rules but something that has been observed in a majority of cases involving serial killers. The major motive for a serial killer is not any material gratification from their victims but a fulfilling of a psychological desire. Most serial killers have also involved sexual abuse, but the motive for a serial killer can be anything from seeking a thrill, attention seeking, anger and financial gain.


Characteristics of a serial killer


p<>{color:#000;}. Mental illness: The most common characteristic, serial killers often exhibit various mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and psychopathy. However, in this scenario, what is common for most serial killers is that they are able to hide their mental illness from common society with what is referred to as “The Mask of Sanity”.

p<>{color:#000;}. Abuse as a child, either in domestic situations or in school: Serial Killers often have a traumatic episode early in their lives, which influences the rest of their lives. They are often abused, emotionally, physically and/or sexually by their family and are subject to bullying in school. However, most suffer abuse from a family member – the abuse and breach of trust from a socially obligated family member causes deep-seated issues in the psyche of the child.

p<>{color:#000;}. Paraphilia: Serial Killers often engage in paraphilia, which are defined as alternative and socially condemned sexual fetishes. These might include necrophilia (which is sexual attraction to the dead), vorarephilia (which is the sexual attraction to cannibalization) and other fetishes. It is a product of a fascination with others and their bodies, which is inextricably linked to their sexual attraction towards their victims.

p<>{color:#000;}. Cruelty towards animals: Cruelty towards animals is a prime example of early sociopathy and psychopathy. In childhood the subject often needs to let out their rage and anger, as well as their budding sociopathic urges. Defense-less animals are often the easiest targets for them to focus their destructive energy towards. A survey indicated that more than 60% of known serial killers and exhibitors of psychopathic behavior had a history of cruelty towards animals.

p<>{color:#000;}. Interest in tokens: The serial killer often takes tokens of each of their victims, maintaining a record of each and every crime they have committed. Indeed, the likes of Javed Iqbal and Karl Denke were caught with such things as evidence. They take tokens from their victims, including teeth (famously, in the case of Karl Denke), clothes, jewelry, photographs (Javed Iqbal had photographs of every one of his victims). This has two manifestations. First, the killer is able to relive the pleasure and satisfaction from their crime when they use these tokens. Also, the token in a twisted sense allows them to have a measure of control over their victims even after their death. This extends in to their “normal” life as well, with serial killers often keeping vague and seemingly useless items as recollections of various people. When these tokens take on a violent meaning, it becomes a potential indicator of serial killers.

The following serial killers may subscribe to these characteristics; break away from them, and in some cases might even defy them. The crux of the matter is that serial killers are generally extremely good at their elaborate pretend life – several are married and have a happy family life, with the entire family unaware of their criminal side.


Chapter 2:

The Co-ed Killer: Edmund Kemper


An imposing figure at over 6 feet 9 inches and 300 pounds, with an IQ in the range of 140, Edmund Kemper was a serial killer and a necrophiliac who operated in California in the early 70’s. He was caught at the age of 24 for the murder of six hitchhikers, his mother, and his mother’s best friend in the Santa Cruz area of California, but amazingly, had already murdered about 10 years ago.


Edmund Kemper was born in Burbank, California in 1949, to Edmund Emil Kemper Junior and Clarnell Stage. He was a middle child and the only son. Kemper, notwithstanding his immense intellect, was a deeply troubled child. He had exhibited sociopathic tendencies before, including killing his father’s pet cat, burying animals in the garden and then digging them out later, and enacting dark sexual rituals with his sisters’ dolls.


Kemper had a difficult relationship with his sisters – whom he claimed used to dunk his head under the water in their swimming pool for long stretches of time, and also push him in front of approaching trains.


In 1957, his parents divorced. Edmund, who had been very close to his father, was devastated. He was forced to, against his will, stay with his mother Clarnell. Edmund and Clarnell shared by all accounts a deeply dysfunctional relationship. Clarnell was identified by some, as exhibiting obvious signs of advanced Borderline Personality Disorder.


She was a shrewish woman who hated and feared her son. She was also a violent alcoholic, who would spare no opportunity to berate, insult and humiliate him. She forced him to sleep all on his own at the young age of 9 in a dark basement, ostensibly because she was afraid that he would rape his younger sister.


Edmund and Clarnell’s relationship worsened over time, and at the age of 14, Edmund ran away to his father in 1963. He found his father, who had remarried and had another son. Edmund lived there for a while, but eventually was sent back to his mother.


His mother also understanding that a breaking point had been made in their relationship sent him to live with her in-laws, Edmund and Maude Kemper. At this point, Kemper lived a secluded life on a ranch in North Fork, California, at the age of 15.


First Murders – Maude and Edmund Kemper Senior


Edmund did not enjoy his time with his grandparents. Maude Kemper, especially, reminded him of his mother, as she was also a shrewish woman who kept insulting and berating him. Kemper accused her of emasculating himself and his grandfather.


On August 27, 1964 Maude was at the kitchen table, working on her children’s book, when she began an argument with her grandson. Eventually, Edmund shot her in the head. (Some reports have claimed that after shooting her, Edmund also stabbed her with a kitchen knife.)


Then, as he heard the sound of his grandfather approaching, he went outside to the driveway, and then shot his grandfather dead as well. He then called his mother, and told her to call the police.


Edmund was subject to questioning from the police with regards to motive and means. According to him, he had ““just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma” and had killed his grandfather because he would not been pleased to see his wife murdered by his grandson. Edmund was put in juvenile detention and was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital, where he quickly befriended his fellow inmates and his psychologists.


Eventually, he became his psychologist’s assistant. He was released less than 5 years later, in 1969, and by then had grown into his full height and weight – an imposing 6 feet 9 inches in height and 300 pounds in weight; few could hope to survive an unexpected attack from such a man. He was released from prison, and on the account of good behavior, his juvenile record was expunged.


Against the advice and wishes of his psychologists Edmund was sent to stay with his mother again. After working a series of menial jobs, Edmund secured work in the Department of Public Works in the Highway Division. As far as his home life goes, it returned to what it had been before he had run away, his mother abusing and humiliating him and Edmund planning his revenge.


The disturbed Edmund probably exhibited characteristics of the Oedipal Syndrome, as he was simultaneously attracted sexually to his mother while wanting to kill her. He planned to kill his mother as early as 1970, but deferred, apparently to ‘perfect his killing skills’ on others.


In May 1972, Kemper began a spree of murders on female hitchhikers he would give lifts to while in his 1969 Ford. He killed 5 co-eds and one student, earning him the moniker from the police and the press as the “Co-ed Killer”. In the meantime, Edmund frequented a bar that was a hub of investigators and police officials called “The Jury Room”. He made several friends in Law Enforcement there and they regarded him as “Big Ed”, and trusted him enough to even discuss the “Co-ed Case” with him.

The beginning of the crime spree: Anita Luchessa and Mary Ann Pesce


On 7th May 1972, Edmund picked up two 18-year-old hitchhiking students from Fresno State to drive them towards Stanford University. He found a secluded area near Alameda about one hour into the journey, and there he smothered and stabbed Pesce, followed by stabbing Luchessa to death. He then put both the women in the trunk of his car, and returned to his apartment.


There, he carried the women to his room, and then took several photographs of their dead bodies in a pornographic vein. He then dismembered their bodies, cutting them into small pieces and disposing their body parts in plastic bags dumped near Loma Prieta Mountain. Before disposing Pesce and Luchessa’s heads, he performed oral sex on both of them before disposing of them in a ravine.


The third murder – The Student in 5 Co-eds and a student


On 14th September 1972, Edmund picked up 15-year-old Aiko Koo, who was hitchhiking to her dance class after missing her bus. He held her at gunpoint before pulling her to the side of the road, and then strangled her to death. He then raped her corpse, before dumping the body a few miles further on.


The fourth murder – Cindy Schall


On 7th January 1973, Edmund picked up 19-year-old Cindy Schall near Cabrillo College. He drove her to secluded woods, and then shot her fatally. He then took her back to his apartment and kept her in his room for the entire night, removing the bullet from her body, and then dismembering her.


He dumped her body parts in a ravine, but buried her head in his mother’s garden as a joke, as his mother had always wanted people to look up to her.


The end of the Co-ed crime spree – Alice Liu and Rosalind Thorpe


By this time, the Co-ed killer was dominating the news in California. The fact that another serial killer named Herbert Mullin was also committing his crimes at the same time, and that Santa Cruz had, just three years ago, suffered under the crimes of John Linley Frazier, who had killed the eye surgeon and his entire family meant Santa Cruz earned the moniker of the “Murder Capital of the World”.


Female students were more hesitant to step into strangers’ cars. However, Kemper was incredibly charming and a smooth talker. He could convince people to do anything, and made friends extremely quickly.


On 5th February 1973, he convinced 24-year-old Rosalind Thorpe to step inside at the UC Santa Cruz campus. Thorpe convinced her friend Alice Liu to come along as well. Immediately after leaving the campus grounds, Kemper shot Liu and Thorpe with a .22 caliber gun.


He then wrapped the bodies in a blanket and kept them in the backseat of his car. He sexually abused their bodies and then the next morning dismembered their bodies, and discarded their remains in the Eden Canyon near San Francisco, where they were found a week later.


Killing the Mother


Finally, after successfully committing six murders and getting away with them, Kemper decided to push on with his plan of killing his mother. After several missed opportunities, on Good Friday, which was 20th April 1973, Clarnell Kemper had gone for a party. Whilst waiting for her to return, Kemper fell asleep and woke up when she returned home. He walked to her room to see her reading a paperback book.


She insulted him once more, and asked him if he probably wanted to spend the night talking about the party. Kemper replied, “No, good night” and then beat her with a pink claw hammer to death. He decapitated her, performing oral sex on her severed head, and then using it as a dartboard.

He removed her vocal chords and tried to put them in the garbage disposal, but the disposal couldn’t take care of the tough tissue and ejected it back out, which amused Kemper.


Once done, he hid the remains of the body in his room, and then invited his mother’s best friend Sally Hallet, ostensibly on behalf of his mother, over. Sally had previously taken part in several of his mother’s ‘abuse sessions’ with her son, and when she arrived he strangled the 59-year-old woman to death.

Kemper then left the scene of the crime, driving through California, Nevada and Utah before reaching Colorado. There, because he had not heard the news of his mother’s murders on the radio, Kemper called the police from a booth and confessed, but only to his murders of his mother and Sally Hallet.


The Aftermath


Incredibly, the police did not believe him, and thinking him to be some disturbed teen, asked him to call them when they were not busy. He then called some of the friends he had made at the “Jury Room”, and relayed the same confession. They did not believe him either, until he revealed several specific details of the Co-ed crimes only the killer would have known. Kemper then waited in his car for the police to arrive and to take him into custody.


At his trial, however, Kemper pleaded Not Guilty on account of insanity. In November 1973, however, he was sentenced as guilty on 8 counts of murder. Given his immaculate planning of each murder, from location, to the necrophilia, to the disposal of the bodies, and his obvious feeling of hate towards his mother which persisted still, and his confession that on seeing a pretty girl, part of him wanted to ask her out, and another to strangle her and then rape her corpse, meant that the Court really could not accept a plea of insanity.


Then, Kemper pleaded for the death penalty, but because the Death Penalty had been suspended in the State of California, he was given Life Imprisonment with a possibility of Parole. Kemper is still incarcerated and presently in the general prison populace of California Medical Facility.


The Psyche of the Criminal


Edmund Kemper is a fascinating case study into the psyche of a serial killer. He has exhibited little to no remorse for his crimes. He really saw nothing wrong in killing 6 innocent college girls who had done nothing to him, he viewed their murders as practice for when he would kill his mother.


His mother became a center of attention to his life, which motivated his spree and gave him the reason to escape the attention of the police. He hated his mother, but was also indubitably sexually attracted to her.


In that respect, Kemper had demonstrated signs of an alternative and disturbed sexuality from his youth, frightening his mother enough that she got him to sleep in a locked basement for fear he would rape his sister. He often decapitated his younger sister’s dolls and performed sexual rituals on them, which was eerily similar to the necrophilia he committed upon his victims.


Kemper was attracted sexually to women, but he also hated them and wanted to see them dead because he associated all women with the traumatic abuse he had suffered under the hands of his grandmother, his mother, and his older sister. He associated all women with such behavior.


His picking up of hitchhikers slightly younger to him suggests that his mother’s fear of his sexual attraction to his sister was not entirely unfounded. If some wondered if his propensity to crime had ended after his murder of his mother, they were wrong. When asked by reporters of the Cosmopolitan Magazine what he felt on seeing a pretty girl, this is what he said: “One side of me says, I’d like to talk to her, date her. The other side says, I wonder how her head would look on a stick.”


Surely the abuse that Kemper suffered in his youth was an important contributing factor to his eventual life of crime. But Kemper exhibited classic signs of sociopathy from his youth. Serial killers, psychopaths and sociopaths often kill animals to perfect their skills and to glean some of the satisfaction that they receive from killing.


Killing animals proceeds to become the act of killing people. In fact, more than 50% of the serial killers and the psychopaths who have been caught have been found to have abused animals in their childhoods. Further, the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother’s really does not justify his crimes – sexually abusing six unknown students in the prime of their lives and then performing messed up sexual situations with the dead bodies of his victims.


The abuse he suffered can only, at the most, create a sense of his criminal psyche. His guilt however is absolute, and cannot be justified by any rational means of thought.


Kemper has left an indelible mark on our understanding of crime. He was a contributor to the early wave of notoriety of serial crime in the United States. His was a case that was devoured by the media, who attributed all kinds of unproven crimes to him, including cannibalization and several more murders.


He was depicted as a grotesque monster who was ugly to look at, while Kemper in reality was a handsome and strapping man who was charming and friendly, and quick to gain the trust of women.


He was popular in every social circle he was a part of, including law enforcement circles and at work. His immense IQ was not just an anomaly, he was a talented driver, good at his work, and was well informed about all kinds of things. He was one of the main inspirations of Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.


Like Kemper, Bill’s crime record started with the murder of his grandparents, after which there was a significant period when he did not do any murders, before starting again. Kemper has also been sensationalized and historicized.


The movie, which is ostensibly a biopic, is almost entirely lacking in facts. His story is grotesque and disturbing enough without the addition of unproven and almost entirely untrue apocryphal tales of his twisted nature.


Chapter 3:


Harold Shipman – The Evil Doctor


A respectable and innocuous looking doctor turned out to be Britain’s most prolific serial killer and one of the most evil serial killers in the history of humanity.


In his time as a general practitioner first at Abraham Ormerod medical center, and then at Doneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde, where he served for the rest of his medical career, Shipman was judged to have killed at least 215 of his patients with lethal injections of diamorphine.




Shipman was born Harold Frederick Shipman in Bestwood council Estate in Nottinghamshire, England. He was the second son of four to Harold Shipman, a lorry driver. His parents were devout Methodists, and young Shipman was particularly close to his mother Vera, who died when he was seventeen of lung cancer.


Vera’s illness was a long and protracted one, and she was administered morphine for months to minimize her pain, an act that became a modus operandi for Shipman in his criminal career. Shipman was present for all these sessions with his mother.


He studied medicine in Leeds Medical University and got his degree in 1970. His first job destination was in Ponticraft, at the Ponticraft General Infirmary and followed that with his first job as a general practitioner at the Abraham Ormerod medical center. Here, he was caught forging prescriptions of Demerol (pethidine) for his personal use.


His license was suspended for a while and he was fined 600 pounds. At this time he briefly attended a drug rehabilitation center in York.


Shipman then moved to Hyde in 1980 and had a successful medical career as a General Practitioner at the Doneybrook medical center. In 1993 he established a surgical center as well, and became a well-known and respected face in town. No one had any clue that this man was orchestrating one of the most brazen and criminal feats that the world had ever known.




Dr. Linda Reynolds who was from the Brooke surgical center at Hyde expressed suspicion and concern to the Coroner of the South Manchester District about Shipman. She had been recommended to do so by Frank Massey and Sons Funeral parlor that pointed out the abnormally high rate of death among Shipman’s patients.


Reynolds pointed out that Shipman had needed an extraordinarily high amount of female elderly patients’ cremation forms countersigned by the Coroner. The matter was brought to the police, who looked into it, but later dismissed the case, as they had not found enough corroborative evidence for the same.


They abandoned the case in April 1998. In the time Shipman was finally brought to court, he killed three more victims. The police in charge thus was deemed responsible for the death of the three victims.


Shipman’s last victim was Kathleen Grundy, who was found dead in her home in June 1998. Shipman was the last person to have seen her alive, and then later signed her death certificate, adjudging the cause of death as “old age”. However, concerns were only truly raised when Grundy’s will became available to her family.


The will excluded Grundy’s daughter Angela Woodruff, who was a lawyer, and her family but bestowed 386,000 Pounds to Shipman. Accordingly Woodruff reported the case, and the body of Kathleen Grundy was exhumed, and it was found that she had contained traces of diamorphine, which was only used for treating terminally ill cancer patients.


Shipman was thus arrested in September 1998, and was found to be in possession of the same typewriter, which had typed the forged will. The police then looked further into Shipman’s medical history, remembering the inquiry instituted by Dr. Reynolds.


They picked fifteen specimen cases where a lethal dose of diamorphine had been administered by Shipman, who had then signed death certificates and then falsified medical records to show a fictitious history of poor health in these patients.


Two theories have suggested as to why Shipman would take such a transparent effort as to forging the will. The first is that he actually wanted to be caught so that he could stop, and the other that he wanted to retire and leave the country. In any case, the will, which was a clear forgery, was the reason Shipman was ever found, as up to then his patients had always been satisfied with his explanation of poor health.


The trial


A trial was called for and presided over by Justice Forbes, beginning on October 5th, 1998. Shipman was tried for the murder of the following fifteen people


p<>{color:#000;}. Kathleen Grundy

p<>{color:#000;}. Joan Melia

p<>{color:#000;}. Winifred Mellor

p<>{color:#000;}. Maureen Ward

p<>{color:#000;}. Pamela Hillier

p<>{color:#000;}. Norah Nutall

p<>{color:#000;}. Bianka Pomfret

p<>{color:#000;}. Kathleen Wagstaff

p<>{color:#000;}. Marie Quinn

p<>{color:#000;}. Muriel Grimshaw

p<>{color:#000;}. Ivy Lomas

p<>{color:#000;}. Jean Lilley

p<>{color:#000;}. Irene Turner

p<>{color:#000;}. Marie West

p<>{color:#000;}. Lizzy Adams

All these victims had been found dead from 1995 to 1998. The trial concluded in 2000, when the jury unanimously found him guilty of killing all the patients with fatal doses of diamorphine, and of forging Mrs. Grundy’s will, and sentenced him to 15 consecutive life sentences, with the recommendation that he never be released. Additionally, Shipman received a sentence of four years for forging the will.


Grundy pleaded Not Guilty throughout, disputing the scientific evidence. He refused to explain any of his actions. His defense failed in their attempt to get the trial of Kathleen Grundy tried separately.


Their argument was that while clear and direct evidence was provided between Shipman and the crime in this case, all the other cases were made with circumstantial evidence and no motive. Shipman’s wife, Primrose also remained defiant in her certainty in his innocence until the very end.


Although by the end of the trial many more cases could have been examined, the court opined that the mass media spectacle that the trial had become would make a further objective judgment difficult. It was also necessary, given the magnitude of his sentence. They recommended the formation of the Shipman Inquiry, which would look at his medical history more deeply.


Shipman was the first and only physician to be charged and sentenced with killing his patients. Dr. John Bodkins Adams had been charged for killing 160 patients over a ten-year period in 1957, but had been acquitted. Nigel Cox was the only other doctor charged, for attempted murder to hasten death, but his sentence was suspended. Thus Shipman was the first physician to ever be found guilty.


The Shipman Inquiry


The Shipman Inquiry was presided over by Dame Janet Smith, which in five reports found Shipman of being guilty of killing at least 215 patients in two separate tenures at Todmorden and Hyde.


80% of the victims were elderly women in robust health. In their sixth and final report, the Shipman Inquiry added three more cases, with significant doubt over at least four more, including a four year old girl, Susan Garfitt in Shipman’s early medical career at Pontefract from an investigation of 137 suspected cases.


459 people died under Shipman’s care, with at least 250 of those proven to have been because of his direct intervention. The Inquiry admitted serious doubts over several other cases, but no definitive evidence could be found.


Meanwhile, the General Medical Council charged six doctors of signing death certificates for Shipman without noticing the pattern or the frequency. All the doctors were found not guilty. Primrose Shipman, his wife was called to give evidence during the trial and the inquiry. She maintained her belief in his innocence throughout, before, during and after the trial.


The first report examined the number of deaths under Shipman, the methods of murder and the period over which the killings took place. This report was titled ‘Death Disguised’.


The second report examined the police investigation, and the third the methods of death certification and investigation of death by coroners. The fourth regulated the sale and provisions of controlled drugs. The fifth investigated the GMC, advising that the GMC be stripped of their role in judging misconduct cases due to their failure to impartially judge and award compensation in the past.


They also investigated the direct role of the GMC in Shipman’s murder spree, but were unable to find any connection for that lead.


It was also found that Shipman had stolen jewelry from his victims, with 10,000 Pounds of jewelry found in his garage. Primrose maintained that she owned all of it, and in 2005 she pressed the Court to return the jewelry, which had been seized as evidence during the trial to her. Thus, the police wrote to all the families of the victims to come forward to identify the jewelry.


66 pieces were returned to Primrose, and 33 (which she could not identify) were auctioned with the proceeds going to Tameside Victim Support. The only piece returned to the family of a murdered victim was a platinum-diamond ring, for which the family provided a photograph as proof.


The Shipman inquiry also provided a series of recommendations asking for sweeping changes to the British Medical Association. The change was not only formal, in terms of official directives, but almost cultural in nature. Following his much-publicized trial, doctors across the United Kingdom reported they had changed their dispensing practices, controls in prescribing pain relief and death certificate processes were changed as well.


The biggest change which was a pan-British change was the shift from single GP practices to multi-GP practices as the Shipman Inquiry had said that Shipman being in a single GP practice had found it much easier to commit and get away from his crimes as there was no supervising force present to look over the actions of a GP. This wasn’t even a direct recommendation by the Inquiry but a mention that the lack of monitoring and supervisory facilities had been a huge contributor to Shipman’s crimes.


These sweeping changes, which became cultural phenomena on their own right changed the landscape of medicine in Britain, and were called the “Shipman Effect”.




Shipman did not get out of the spotlight of the media even after his incarceration. He committed suicide by hanging on January 2004 at Wakefield Prison, where he had been interred. He hung himself from the window bars of his prison cell using bed sheets.


While some celebrated the news, with The Sun having the headline of “Ship Ship Hooray”, most people felt cheated by his death, as they perceived he had escaped from the just punishment he had given for his actions.


Till the end, Shipman denied any involvement in the murder of his patients. Families felt cheated by that as well, as they had never received any confession, or apology, from a man whose guilt had more or less been proven. Following his suicide, calls were made to check the prison system and its welfare that it provided to the prisoners.


Other suggested that the style of sentencing be changed from indefinite sentences to multiple life imprisonments as the latter erased any hope of the prisoner from getting out of prison.


Shipman was reported as having said to his probation officer that he was considering suicide so that his wife could receive a pension from the National Health Service. While his own pension had been suspended, his wife would still have to receive benefits if Shipman died before the age of 60.


When he refused to confess to his guilt, privileges such as phone calls to the family and a library subscription were removed. These privileges were returned a week before his suicide. Additionally, Primrose, his wife, the only person who had stuck by his claim of innocence had also begun to doubt him given the piling amount of evidence from the Shipman Inquiry.


Shipman has appeared in the news as recently as 2014 with his victims claiming compensation from his estate. An auction of his letters to his patients was considered, but was eventually stopped due to complaints from the families of the victim who cited that this would be tantamount to more harassment on a public scale.




It is difficult to make any opinion of Shipman and his crimes. He never confessed to his crimes under no doubt extreme pressure, but the weight of evidence against him is staggering and very complete. Since he has never confessed, no motive has been found for his murder of any of his 250 victims, except for the very last, Kathleen Grundy.


Though he primarily murdered elderly women, no other major pattern emerged as his victim’s spanned religion, social and economic class. His presence as his own mother slowly withered away under the effects of lung cancer, with the administering of morphine to reduce her pain becoming a regular feature under his presence in his youth, but a fixation like that should have been more obvious to spot for somebody.


He showed no signs of mental disorders and rarely, if ever, mentioned his mother to his wife. When he did he was always calm about it. However a subconscious thought that morphine would relieve some pain may have been present. His choice of victim was very close to the age of his mother who had suffered terribly.


Shipman may have thought that he was helping his victims in a twisted way by administering euthanasia on his own. It would also explain his continuous maintenance of his innocence. However a degree of self-confidence markedly appeared in the particularly brazen way Shipman conducted his murders and their aftermath.


The Shipman effect has revolutionized the British medical system as the Doctor’s woke up to the enormous amount of power they had over the lives of their patients. The systems for administering controlled substances such as diamorphine and investigation before signing death certificates have been the new norm for doctors in Britain.


The insight has been that if there had been such controls present earlier many more deaths may have been proven to be murders due to either the negligence of the doctor or their direct interference. Britain woke up to the idea that the doctor, a trusted figure may not always be acting in their self-interest.


The much publicized trial thus also presented everybody with the warning signs that they should be looking at their own general practitioners and not taking any of their advice without first understanding the reasons for the prescribed medicines and drugs.


Chapter 4:


Javed Iqbal – The Respected Killer from Lahore


Here is a case, which is truly extraordinary in every way. Javed Iqbal was a businessman with interests in steel recasting. His father owned two houses in Shadbagh, and Iqbal set up his business there. He also stayed there with several boys, including paying guests, workers in his business and friends.


Javad was a respectable name on the street known for his philanthropy and friendly behavior. He was also a serial killer, with at least 100 people falling victim to him. What makes his case extraordinary is the protracted way the entire case played out on the media during his trial.




Iqbal was born the sixth child, and the fourth son of Mohammed Ali Mughal, a well off and well-known trader in Pakistan. He passed his matriculation from Islamia High School. While an intermediate at Islamia College, he started his business in steel recasting in one of the villas his father bought and lived there for the rest of his life, in Lahore.


A well-known figure on the streets near Ravi Road, where he lived, Iqbal was known both to the law enforcement agencies and to the populace as a docile old man who lived a simple and uncomplicated life. No one could believe such a man could lead such an elaborate double life whilst maintaining enough secrecy to commit his crimes.




In December 1999, Iqbal sent a letter to the police and a Lahore based news agency confessing to the murders of 100 boys, all aged six to sixteen. Iqbal claimed in this letter that he would strangle and dismember his victims, before keeping them in a vat of hydrochloric acid, which he had an abundant supply of due to his dealings in the steel recasting industry, before dumping them.


Earlier, he had dumped them in the sewers near his home, but when the neighbors began complaining about the smell of acid in the sewers he began dumping the acid with the dissolved parts of the bodies of his victims in the Ravi River.


In his house, the police found bloodstains of the victims on the walls and the floors, and on the chain with which Iqbal claimed he had strangled his victims. Several photographs of his victims were also found, neatly organized and meticulously labeled in plastic bags. The police also found two vats of acid with partially dissolved bodies in them.


In his diary were records of how much the disposing of each murder had cost him, with the understanding that Iqbal had spent 120 Rupees (2.4$ at that time) per victim. In the letter, Iqbal had claimed he was going to drown himself in the Ravi, but after unsuccessfully searching for him there, the police launched the biggest manhunt Pakistan had ever known to find him.


However, Iqbal who was a portly person who was easily recognizable, managed to elude capture from the police for months. The boys who had shared Iqbal’s flat with him were proven to be accomplices, and were arrested. Within a week one of them committed suicide by jumping outside the window.


The police’s ineptitude was proven as Iqbal walked to the offices of the Daily Jung, a prominent news daily with its office in Lahore and turned himself in. Iqbal claimed he had turned himself in to the newspaper rather than the police because he was afraid that the police would kill him off.


Iqbal’s victims were some of the poorest children in all of Pakistan, beggars and homeless children on the streets. Apparently, Iqbal and his accomplices lured in the children with promises of food, sweets, money and clothes, took them into the house where they sexually abused the children and then murdered them.


The Trial


He even deposed to the truth of his confession to the magistrate in a televised interview that was used as definitive evidence in the trial. Why, you may ask, would such an open and shut case even need a protracted trial? The answer is simple. Iqbal did a U-turn during his trial and claimed his innocence there, with the most incredible justification.


Iqbal claimed that the entire thing was a hoax that he had designed to show awareness about the plight of street children. He accused the police of trying to frame him. Iqbal claimed that he had accused two police of sexually abusing a beggar on the street and then murdering him on the pretext of a fake encounter, which had resulted in such an extensive smear campaign against him.


He claimed his statements claiming responsibility and guilt to the police had been made under severe pressure and torture by the police. Over a hundred witnesses deposed against Iqbal, but the bulk of the evidence did not directly connect him to the crime. Though meticulously updated photographs of his victims were found in his house Iqbal testified that he had not been in his house for more than a month prior to them being found, meaning that anybody could have placed them there.


He explained the bloodstains and clothes of his victims in a similar manner. No corpses were found either, making direct evidence from that end difficult to find, given the lack of DNA tests at that time.


The only direct evidence against Iqbal was his own deposition to the magistrate, weeks after being arrested. This deposition had been videotaped, and was submitted as evidence. Iqbal fought to have these removed from the evidence on the grounds that his confession had been made under duress and that videotaped evidence was not admissible in a court of law without the permission of both the prosecution and the defense, but failed in this endeavor.


The prosecution claimed that they had told Iqbal that this evidence would be used in the court of law and he had still made his confession. In the video Iqbal clearly claimed responsibility for the sexual abuse and murder of 100 boys. His lawyers claimed that he was a victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by the police. Iqbal claimed that the boys were actually alive, as a part of the conspiracy of the police.


What all this resulted in was a sensational trial that was covered extensively by the media, with rumors flying everywhere, including claiming that Iqbal was actually sponsored by foreign interests to destabilize internal security in Pakistan. His alleged sexual assault of children also received much interest, with a past-suspended sentence of sodomy hanging heavy on Iqbal.


The result was anything but a fair trial. The judge had already decided he was guilty, and indeed with the mountain of evidence against him Iqbal would have had a tough time defending his case, not the least with the sensational claim that it was all a hoax.


The media trouble did not end with the end of the trial, not the least because the Judge gave no less than a matching sensational sentence. Under the terms of Sharia law, which worked on the principle of “An eye for an eye”, the Judge Allah Bukhsh Ranjha sentenced Iqbal and his three surviving accomplices.


Iqbal was sentenced to death by public strangulation in the same square he was a frequent visitor of, by the same chain he had allegedly committed murders with. His body was then to be cut up in a 100 pieces, and then dissolved in hydrochloric acid, in front of the parents of his victims. Yes, that is a real sentence.


His seventeen-year-old accomplice Sajid Ahmed was also sentenced to death. Mamad Nadeem, another one of Iqbal’s housemates was found guilty of thirteen of the murders and sentenced to 182 years in prison. Thirteen-year-old Mamad Sabir was sentenced to 63 years in prison. The sentences received much attention from the press the world over.


The sentence was disputed both by the government, who argued against the severity of the sentence as against the Human Rights tenets, to which Pakistan was a signatory to, and pushed for a simple hanging, and by the Islamic advisory lobby, who argued that desecration of the body as was planned with the execution of Iqbal would be against Islamic tenets. Iqbal, too, challenged the sentence.




On January 2001, Iqbal was sentenced to death. The appeals made by the Government and Iqbal meant that the process would take longer. Iqbal claimed several times he feared reprisal from the police whilst in jail, and that he would be murdered in jail.


Just four days after the Supreme Court agreed to hear Iqbal’s appeal against the sentence, he and his accomplice Sajid Ahmed were found dead in their prison, of poison. This happened in October 2001. Though the deaths were officially ruled a suicide, a fresh media controversy began with several doubts over the authenticity of that claim.


Iqbal’s lawyer presented a letter from Iqbal saying he feared that he was going to be murdered. Further, no plausible explanation as to how Iqbal and Ahmed were able to procure poison was given. Thus, a separate inquiry was called to investigate their deaths. The inquiry ruled that the deaths, indeed, had been suicide.


All this became grist to the rumor mill with headlines splashed across newspapers celebrating, doubting or in some cases, mourning his death. The case still did not end with this, as a year later, 25 children alleged to have been killed by Iqbal were found alive on the streets of Lahore.


This opened up a fresh can of worms with accusations traded back and forth as several people attacked the police for their overly aggressive investigation (one of the occupants of Iqbal’s house, a potentially valuable witness jumped out of the window to his death within weeks of the beginning of the investigation), another witness was also found dead, days after he was called in for an investigation.


This case was sensational in its beginning, with Iqbal’s letter splashed across all the prominent newspapers of the country. The trial became a sensation in its own right, with thousands of people present and received extensive media coverage. The extraordinary claims by Iqbal in his defense also made the case something that would stick to the front of people’s minds.


The Killer’s Psyche


It is difficult to make an objective decision about Iqbal’s case. There was little transparency in the police investigation, and potentially valuable evidence was lost from being checked in the future due to the police’s inept handling of the evidence.


For example, the acid vats with the bodies dissolving inside were disposed of. Further, the clothes found in Iqbal’s house were given to the families of the victims, obfuscating direct linking of the crime via fingerprint analyses.


Iqbal, for his part did a complete turn in his position. Whereas in his letter, and in his videotaped confession, Iqbal confessed to being personally responsible for 100 murders, during trial he claimed that none of the children had actually even been murdered. In the letter, Iqbal had stated that he had been harassed and sexually assaulted by a beggar, and on complaining to the police, had been slapped with a false sodomy charge.


He claimed he had been beaten up by the police as well. Therefore, his crime spree was to exact revenge over both the beggar population of Lahore as well as the police.


However, at the same time Iqbal claimed that while searching for the aggressor in that case, he and his friends had become exposed to the absolutely depraved living conditions that the poor children on Pakistan’s streets were exposed to. He claimed that they were neglected by their parents, and that they were victims of abuse and harassment from passers-by. He claimed his murders had been a way to publicize their poor living conditions.


Why Iqbal was such a polarizing figure as well as media-worthy is clear. He was right. His murders of as many as 100 children were not even reported. No one had any inkling that he was a murderer and that the streets of Lahore had been subject to such a crime spree until he reported it.


The case did end up with an inquiry of Pakistan’s handling of its poor citizenry. However, what made Iqbal’s case particularly discomforting for the public and the government of Pakistan was their own, if unwitting, complicity in his successful crime spree. The playing out of this horror story was something that proved to the citizens of Pakistan, and indeed to the entire world, that Pakistan as a country had lacked the resources needed to give these children a productive life, and further, that the people of Pakistan had failed to even notice that as many as hundred children had completely disappeared off the streets.


It took Iqbal’s confession being printed verbatim in all the leading newspapers for the public to realize the depth and details of the immense tragedy. As an editorial writer commented, “He had practically accused all those speaking in the name of his victims of having, in fact, been his accomplices and dared them to prosecute him.”


Further, Iqbal, a simple citizen who had neither a history of crime nor a network of connections was able to elude the single largest manhunt in the history of Pakistan at that time, further indicating the depths of police ineptitude. Whether Iqbal was guilty is up for speculation, not only because of his extraordinary claims of a conspiracy, which for me, at least, are too crazy to be entirely false.


But the larger picture that informs Iqbal’s case is an all too familiar lack of empathy or organization or attention paid to the most deprived part of a country’s population. This population is often not only the most deprived, but also the most exploited part of a country’s demographic. They lack the voice to be heard.


A hundred boys disappeared from the streets and no one even knew they were missing. Who knows how many more could have been killed if Iqbal had not confessed?


Chapter 5:


The Forgotten Cannibal – Karl Denke


At the age of 54, Denke was arrested for attacking a man with an axe in his house. Understandably, the surrounding populace of Munsterberg, Silesia were shocked.


Denke, who operated a rooming house had been born in the town, and was affectionately called “Papa” by his tenants, had never displayed any signs of such aggression before. No one could believe that he would ever attack a man with the intent to murder. Turns out, the attack with the axe was not even the main serving of Denke’s criminal career, but the icing on the cake.


After his arrest, the police searched through his house, only to find an incredible sight. Inside huge jars of curing salts, there was found human flesh.


Denke was a cannibal, who enjoyed the taste of human flesh. A ledger was found, containing the names of 40 people Denke had murdered, and then cannibalized over time.




Little is known about Denke’s childhood. He was born in 1870 in Lower Silesia to a reasonably wealthy farmer. He was a dull (and some suspected, retarded) child and did not do well either in social situations, or academics. He left school, and ran away from home at the age of 12 to work under a gardener.


Nevertheless he remained in touch with his family. His father died when he was 25, and his brother took the family farm while Denke was given some money to buy land with. Denke was an unsuccessful farmer and so sold the land to buy a house.


During recession, however, Denke sold his house and bought a small apartment with a little shed at the back, which he maintained as a rooming house. There are only sketchy details of his life available to us – he was a devout follower who never missed a day of Church, he used to play the organ in the Church meetings, and his quiet and solid presence as well as occasional philanthropy towards vagabonds earned him the moniker of “Papa Denke” by his tenants.


Other than the fee his tenants paid him, Denke did not have any source of income. He was a well-known and respected member of a community of only about 9000 people, where nearly everyone knew everyone else.




Denke’s first victim was probably Emma Sander, a 25-year-old girl killed in 1909. He was, however, only discovered 15 years later, in 1924. On the night of December 21st a tenant of Denke’s, a coachman named Gabriel heard cries for help.


He ran to help out the person in trouble only to find a young man covered with blood. Barely conscious, the man told Gabriel that he had been attacked with an axe by Denke, before collapsing. Gabriel delivered him to the local police station, who could hardly believe the tale by the man, a vagabond named Vincenz Oliver.


A doctor confirmed, however, that Oliver had indeed been attacked with an axe, and so Denke was called. He admitted to attacking Oliver, saying that he had been under the impression that he was a burglar. He was arrested, but committed suicide by hanging himself with his handkerchief just two days later.


The real picture


The police went to investigate Denke’s house two days later, on the 24th of December and were shocked by their find. They found bones and pieces of meat in a salt solution inside a wooden drum. In total, there were fifteen pieces of meat.


Livor mortis suggested that the body had been dismembered a few hours after the death. In some pots, cooked meat was found with cream sauce. All the meat was from the region of the buttocks. One pot was only half full and showed signs of recently being eaten from.


A bowl on the table was filled with a golden yellow colored fat, which appeared to be human. Additionally, bones and more meat were found in the shed. A barrel of bones was found which had been cleaned, with the meat probably eaten.


In total, the bones, the meat and the flesh found in Denke’s house and in the forest near his home was provided by at least eight people. Three hundred and fifty one teeth were also found, which were the main method the police used to identify victims, along with the ledger found in Decker’s home.


Most of the teeth came from elderly victims, with the youngest specimen being of someone about fifteen to sixteen years old. They were sorted according to size and kept in salt and pepper sachets. At least four fifths of the teeth found belonged to senior citizens.


Further investigation revealed that Denke had also experimented with human leather, fashioning primitive suspenders, leather straps and shoelaces from hair. Denke used at least three axes, a tree saw, three wood saws, three knives and a pickaxe for his crimes. All were found to contain traces of blood.


Denke’s modus operandi was simple. He would walk to the train station, which was close to his apartment. He would convince the beggars and the vagabonds near the place to stop by his house for the night for a nominal fee, and thus bring them home. Whenever the coast was clear in the house, he would use an axe to attack them.


The police found that all the cuts on the bodies were made after death. He did not sexually abuse the victims. After killing someone he would hide the body in his shed, and then keep the body for all kinds of reasons.


He used human hair, human skin, and of course, meat. In fact, all indications add to the fact that Denke not only ate human meat, he also gave it to his tenants and in parties, describing it as pork. While no direct evidence has ever been found, it is also said that Denke, in fact, sold human meat in the market as pork.




Denke committed suicide by hanging himself with his handkerchief two days after being arrested. Thus we have no idea about his motive, if he had any accomplices or feelings on the subject. The only indicator we have left today as to why he would do such a thing is his mental state.


Denke was slow and regarded as dull, but may actually have been mentally disturbed and in the state of a child. The time of recession in Germany was extreme and everyone was starving. Denke had failed in all his pursuits of his life such as gardening, farming and stocks. Thus it is possible that simply to have enough to eat he began his little operation.


One wonders how Denke was never caught. In his case, at least, there was some evidence. On two separate cases, something suspicious happened with Denke. Once his apprentice ran out of his house covered in blood, and was never heard again. No one reported this incident. Further, a vagabond was attacked by Denke was able to escape, and even complained to Denke’s neighbors about an attempt to strangulate him. He had been stronger than Denke and had been able to fight it off himself.


However, these instances were not reported to the police as the neighbors thought in both cases that Denke’s reputation as a mild-mannered, docile and slow man prevented him from carrying out such a thing.


Several neighbors had complained about a strong, pervasive smell emanating from Denke’s apartment. He would pour buckets of blood in the courtyard, and never lacked for meat even in the depths of recession. His neighbors thought he was eating dog meat, which though forbidden was never reported to anybody.


Denke’s case never became sensational, or news worthy. For one, he committed suicide after two days in prison, and so there was never any media attention placed on him. Further, his cannibalism was just an uncomfortable topic for people to talk about, as he was reported to have fed his tenants human meat as well as rumored to have sold the meat in the public market.


Pieces from at least 20 bodies were left in his house and his shed for the police to find, but the police estimated that he killed at least 40 people. The ledger placed in his house had details about his victims, their ID’s, their date of birth, address, method of killing such as decapitation and strangling, and how much meat he gained from each body.


It seems that the neighbors were okay with the doubts and weird behavior Denke exhibited, as long as no one in town was ever affected by him. The two cases where there were accusations against Denke were ignored because they were made by vagabonds and beggars who got short thrift from Denke’s neighbors who refused to believe them.


Thus despite enough doubts and an accusation, Denke’s life was never looked into, and he freely committed more murders.


There did not seem to be any pattern to his attacks – most of his victims were young men but that was because they were the biggest demographic of the large beggar population. The economic recession had left many people to pursue a life on the road, traveling in search of jobs and living on the way.


Establishments like Denke’s were popular as they asked few questions and took cash from their tenants, while being extremely cheap. His job allowed Denke to meet the kind of people who would not be missed at all, and he was often the only person in the town to meet them. He was free to commit the murders in such scenarios. He showed at least some rudimentary planning in his attacks, but also banked a lot on his reputation in the town to bring him out of tough spots.


It seemed that he murdered one more person every time he started getting short in food supplies. His first murder probably occurred in 1909, though what happened before cannot be spoken of, as the source for that claim is Denke’s own ledger. His case is a truly shocking one, made all the more intriguing for all the lack of knowledge we have in this case.


Chapter 6:


Sasha Spesivstev – The Russian Cannibal


Alexander Spesivstev was an unemployed black marketer, and a former mental patient. He lived in the Siberian town of Novokuznetsk with his mother, Lyudmila. Between 1991 and 1996 Spesivstev committed anywhere around 80 murders, cannibalizing some of his victims, who were, like in the case of Javed Iqbal, street children from the poor strata of society.




Spesivstev was born in 1970 and was raised in an abusive household where his father tortured and abused the entire family. In 1988 he murdered his girlfriend in a fit of rage, and was committed to a psychiatric home, from which he was released later.


Subsequently he moved into a flat with his mother, with the only other companion being his Doberman. He was unemployed and made his money from dealing spare parts and ammunition as a small time dealer in the black market.




Spesivstev had a history of mental illness, but this was unknown to the neighbors in the crowded small town. His modus operandi involved his mother as well. Lyudmila, with her typical babushka appearance would coax children from the streets and the train stations with promises of food, clothes and work. Once inside the house, Spesivstev would kill them brutally, with blood often splattered around the house.


His usual method of killing was to stab them with a knife. He would not stab them to death, but give them multiple stab wounds and keep them in pain. He also would keep multiple victims at the same time in his house. There were a series of complaints made by one of the neighbors, which was continually ignored by the police.


Lidya Vedenina complained that there was always a putrid stench from Spesivstev’s house, and deafening rock music played throughout the day (Spesivstev probably did this to mask the screams of his victims). If the police had listened to these complaints, several murders would have been prevented.


However, they thought this was a simple case of lack of cleanliness on Spesivstev’s part. No missing person complaints were ever found, obviously, for the street children Spesivstev had murdered, and therefore there wasn’t even an awareness that there was a serial killer on the loose.


It was only in the summer of 1996 when body parts were found floating in the river that the police had an inkling that there was a serial killer. The continuous complaints about Spesivstev; however, did not end up solving the case. It was a routine pipe-breaking operation that did so. When the authorities reached Spesivstev’s house they found it locked. Thus they forced the doors open.


They found blood splattered on the walls, on the floors and even on the ceiling. They also found body parts strayed everywhere. On the living room floor a rib cage could be seen as soon as the door was opened. In the bathroom there was a headless corpse. On a bedroom sofa, the mutilated fifteen-year-old Olga Galtseva was found, barely alive from multiple stab wounds. She was taken to hospital, where she was able to tell the police what happened before succumbing to her wounds.


Olga said that she and a couple of friends had been asked by the matronly Lyudmila to take some bags inside the house. There, as they turned to leave, they were accosted by Sasha and his Doberman. He then proceeded to rape them all.


He killed one of the girls in the bathtub, and the other two girls were forced to cut her body up. Then Lyudmila cooked the girls bodies for dinner. The second girl was killed by the Doberman. A few hours before being found by the police, Olga had been force fed soup made from her friend’s body by Sasha and Lyudmila. A trap was laid for Spesivstev, but he escaped by jumping out of a balcony. He was later found while attempting to rape a woman in her own apartment.

A trial was quickly arranged for the murder of 19 people, and Sasha admitted to his guilt. His mother denied any involvement; however, but was convicted as an accomplice to a life sentence nevertheless. Sasha was found guilty of all 19 murders, and to be mentally ill, and was committed to psychiatric care for the rest of his life. In total, at least 80 people were found to have been killed by Sasha, but there were severe doubts that the count actually extended to much more than that.



Spesivstev admitted to his guilt in Court. When asked what his motive was for the gruesome murders, he answered, “How many people has our democracy destroyed? If people thought about that, there wouldn’t be any of this filth. But what can you do?”


Yes, Spesivstev’s actions were actually directed against democracy. He viewed the capitalist system as being responsible for the proliferation of the poor onto the streets, and the children on the street as the representatives of Russia’s negligence and lack of care to their citizens, typified by the street children.


If this seems alarmingly similar to Javed Iqbal, Spesivstev was quick to point that he hated the street children with a passion for what they represented, whilst Iqbal always maintained he had been working to help them.


Spesivstev was reported by his care workers in the mental hospital as an “intellectual”, who had written books on philosophy. He spent his time in the mental hospital writing poems on the evils of democracy and capitalism and has also offered to sell his brain and head to a psychiatric institute, with payment paid in advance in form of cigarettes. In contrast, his mother has not spoken a word since she was sent to prison.


Even if his murders of the street children could be twistedly justified in his disturbed head as an attack on democracy and capitalism, even Spesivstev could not explain his acts of sexual abuse and cannibalization of his victims. He and his mother often fed on their victims, but did not do this to every victim, with some of the victims cannibalized seemingly as and when Spesivstev felt like it.


His utterly gruesome murders of the children spoke of a depraved mental landscape not positive affected by the influence and abuse of his father in his youth. Lyudmila, who denied all the charges, was in all accounts as directly implicated as her son. While she did not kill any of his victims and neither did she sexually abuse them, she was the one who would lure children inside the house, cut their bodies, cook them, and also ate them. She also helped Sasha in disposing of the bodies.


Even a mental illness cannot justify the brutal murders of so many children, and the sexual abuse and cannibalization on top of it. The fact that unlike most serial killers Spesivstev showed no inclination of getting the attention of the media made it that much more difficult for the police to even figure out that a serial killer had been active for upwards of five years.


The police could have prevented almost 75 of his crimes with the first of the complaints made by the neighbors in 1990 coming near the start of his criminal career. However they were negligent and dismissed the complaint. They never checked up on Spesivstev’s apartment in five years despite regular and continuous complaints by several neighbors.


All it would have taken would have been to open the door, as Spesivstev had made absolutely no attempt to hide his activities. Spesivstev viewed himself as a vigilante who was carrying out a one-man effort to clean up Russia.


Spesivstev’s case shows how chilling and difficult dealing with a serial killer may possibly be. He showed no interest in attracting the attention of the media, and until 1996, five years into his crime spree no inkling of a serial killer was even suspected by the police.


It also speaks of how dangerous mental illness can be, both for the sufferer and for their company. If Spesivstev had been subject, at least, to regular checkups after being placed in the psychiatric facilities the first time. His violent tendencies were well documented after his murder of his girlfriend, but the facilities never bothered to check on him again after he was released.


This flippant view of mental illness as a transient thing ignores the reality that some people are so mentally ill that they need control and regular monitoring. Their mental psyche lashes out violently and they need constant monitoring both for their own safety and for others.


The role of his mother is the only part of the case that has been a somewhat contentious one. Olga testified that his mother had been an accomplice, but Lyudmila denied her involvement. She refused to comment about her son’s crimes. She gave no reason for why she was an accomplice. She was clearly not mentally ill, unlike her son, who clearly was.


Yet she helped him in his crimes, and even participated in the cannibalization of his victims throughout the duration of his crimes. Was it the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, which had conditioned her to always follow his orders translating to Sasha, and if so, was her participation willing? We cannot know, Lyudmila has reportedly not spoken a single word in her time at prison




Spesivtsev would have the final laugh, however. His words about his victims were proven right. He was the only one in the entire case to even care about the poor and the homeless, even if it manifested in murder. The families of the victim did not receive any pension.


They were treated by the police rudely and in a derogatory manner. Unlike Spesivstev, who had friends in high places, these families could not even find a lawyer. As the crimes were committed against them, Spesivstev’s case did not become a media trial, something Javed Iqbal, who I view as a sort of corollary to Spesivstev owing to their similar philosophies.


In one case, the parents of a girl were given the wrong skull by the police. They were called back and given the proper skull; with the idea that it had been a good thing they had not been given the entire body, as that would have meant having to dig it up.


After the events of the trial, the parents of some of the victims approached the police for some memorabilia, some clothes or trinkets recovered from the bodies of the family members. However the police did not even let them inside the police station. For the poor strata of society, life was just as it had always been.


Chapter 7:


Crazy Charlie – Charles Ray Hatcher


For once, no one was really surprised when it turned out the Charles Ray Hatcher, almost affectionately called Crazy Charlie turned out to be a serial killer. He was a convicted felon with crimes ranging from auto-theft, sodomy, kidnapping, forgery, prison escape, burglary and murder.


He had told several people, including family and police during one of his many tenures in jail that he was mentally disturbed and needed psychiatric attention. His pleas, however, were universally ignored.




Hatcher has a similar history to the serial killers mentioned in this book. That is to say, his family had a history of abuse. He was born in Molund, Missouri, as the youngest of four children to Jesse and Lula Hatcher. At the age of six, he was witness to the horrific accidental death of his eldest brother, Arthur.


The children had been flying a kite with a copper wire they had found in a car. Just as Arthur was about to hand the kite to Charles, the kite hit a high voltage electricity line, and Arthur was electrocuted to death. The incident left an indelible impact on Charles, who would have nightmares about being electrocuted until his own death.


Charles’ father was an ex-convict, and regularly abused the entire household. He was an alcoholic who was prone to fits of rage and would lash out violently. Soon after Arthur’s death, the Hathcher’s divorced. Charles’ mother would go on to marry several times, and at the age of sixteen Charles moved in with her and her third husband.


To compound the stressful and abusive domestic situation, Charles was a quiet and somewhat slow child and struggled to make friends in school. He was relentlessly bullied. As he grew up, Charles too responded to the bullying in a violent manner, and had several fights with many of his classmates.




Charles began a career of crime from a very young age. He narrowly escaped juvenile action several times. In 1947, Charles was 18, and was caught stealing a logging truck from his employer.


He received a two-year sentence for the crime, which was suspended. He was caught stealing another truck again, a year later, and this time had to serve more than half of his sentence of two years in the Missouri Penitentiary before being released. He was back in prison a few months later after being caught forging a $10 check at a gas station.


He escaped in 1951 and attempted a burglary, but was caught again and given two more years at prison. He was released in 1954 and almost immediately stole a car, and was sentenced to four years in prison. However before the sentence was given Hatcher attempted to escape from prison, earning him two additional years.


He was released in 1959, and two months later was caught attempting to abduct a boy by threatening him with a butcher knife. The sixteen-year-old newspaper boy reported him, and Hatcher was caught by the police driving a stolen car. He was sentenced to five years in the Missouri Penitentiary, but attempted to escape before the sentence again.


When he eventually arrived at the Missouri Penitentiary, he was now serving his seventh prison sentence, and claimed that he was the most notorious criminal in Missouri.


In 1961, a prison inmate was found raped and stabbed to death in the prison kitchen. Hatcher, who had a history of violence with the inmate, was suspected for the murder, but no direct evidence was found. He was sent to solitary confinement, where he began pleading the prison authorities for psychiatric help. Thinking that such pleas were designed to get the criminal out of jail, the authorities refused. His sentence was reduced, and Hatcher was released in 1963.


In 1969 a six-year-old child was abducted by a man, who offered him icecream. The child escaped from his abductor and was found by a man walking his dog, severely injured and sexually abused. His testimony allowed the police to arrest him.


At this time, he was going under the name of Albert Ralph Price, though he was carrying a license with the name of Herbert Prater. The FBI only matched his records with Hatcher more than a decade later. Price was charged with assault, kidnapping and sodomy, and was sent to undergo competency tests in a psychiatric institution.


This marked his first tryst with the law around his, or his lack of, sanity. He was sent to two hospitals, both of which declared him insane and unfit for trial. When he stood trial, he pleaded insanity, and was sent to another hospital, which too declared him insane. He then escaped from this hospital, but was caught a week later, arrested for auto theft under the name of Richard Lee Grady.


Hatcher finally stood trial for the crime he committed in 1969 and 1972, three years after the crime. Two more examinations were called for, one of which declared him fit to stand trial and the second concluding that he had been sane at the time of the crime. He was convicted and sent to a medical hospital as a mentally imbalanced sex offender.


He attempted to escape, but failed and was sent to a medium security prison. Whilst their psychologists concluded that his entire play of insanity had been a façade, and that he was a manipulative institutionalized sociopath with paranoid schizophrenia. It was recommended that he be placed in a maximum-security prison, after which Hatcher attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. The recommendation was thus withdrawn.


After these incidents he was seen as having good behavior and was released on parole in 1977.


He was arrested more than a year later for sexual assault on a sixteen-year-old boy. He was placed in a medical facility and was released in early 1979 but was then convicted of abducting and attempting to murder a seven-year-old child. He was sent to a medical facility, but the charges were dropped. He was released in May 1980, but was back two months later for another assault.


Hatcher escaped after a month but was arrested again, this time under the name of Richard Clark, for assault and sodomy of a seventeen-year-old boy. He was released after 21 days, but was back in prison a few months later, this time for a knife fight.


Serial Killer


All this time, however, prison authorities had never connected the early crimes of Charles Hatcher with those of Albert Ralph Price and Richard Clark. They were of the opinion that he was a small time crook with manipulative schizophrenia.


On July 29th 1982 the naked, abused and murdered body of eleven-year-old Michelle Steel was found by hikers. Hatcher was arrested a day later as he walked into a hospital. While awaiting a trial, Hatcher called for the FBI and dropped a bombshell. He had been the perpetrator of fifteen other unsolved child murders dating back to 1969.


He drew a crude map allowing the police to find the body of James Churchill, buried on an army encampment. The first murder he reportedly committed was in Antioch, California, where he had murdered 12-year-old William Freeman, before being caught for the attempted child molestation. The FBI was made aware of his six different aliases and tracked down all his crimes.


Hatcher also confessed to the murder of Eric Christgen. This sparked off a rather publicized controversy. Eric Christgen was a four year old boy found in the waters of the Missouri River, dead of strangulation and possibly asphyxiation. The body had been sexually abused. The police rounded up more than 100 suspects, numbering every ‘pervert’ in town. Of these Melvin Reynolds, a 25 year old who showed some mental disability was called for further questioning.


Reynolds was a quiet man who had been sexually abused as a youth and had had recorded homosexual liaisons in his adolescence. Reynolds cooperated through several interrogations, including two polygraph tests, hypnosis and a truth serum.


During the truth serum test Reynolds was reported as having said an ambiguous remark. He was called in for more interrogation in two months, and after fourteen hours of promises of threats, pleaded guilty. He embellished the confession with details fed to him by the police. He was charged with second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Hatcher’s confession to a crime to which a likely innocent person had been sentenced to life became a sensational media case. Hatcher was almost immediately tried for the murder of Eric Christgen. He was convicted and sentenced life imprisonment. Hatcher had confessed to all his murders after this with the promised stipulation that he would avoid the death penalty.


Hatcher confessed that he and James Churchill had been drinking together when Hatcher had felt the need to murder. He stabbed Churchill 12 times, and left the knife stuck in his collarbone before making his escape after burying him behind some rocks at the army encampment.


A missing persons report existed for Churchill but had never been followed through. Hatcher confessed to all his aliases as well, finally allowing the police to create an outline of his entire criminal career. He had used six different social security numbers, and had used as many as fourteen different alternate identities during his criminal career. He had killed and sexually abused 16 people before killing Steele, numbering 13 adults and three children, all of them male.




Hatcher began serving his sentence at the Missouri State Penitentiary, the prison where he had begun his criminal career. On the same day, Melvin Reynolds was released and compensated for being arrested for the Eric Christgen case. Then the lawyers began preparing for the trial of Michelle Steel, and Hatcher understood the ordeal he was about to go through.


He pled guilty to the charge of first-degree murder and sexual abuse and asked for the death penalty. His plea was rejected, and he was sentenced another life imprisonment without parole, the same sentence as before.


While the prosecution began researching for yet another trial, Hatcher appealed to the Supreme Court to give him the death penalty. This plea was also rejected, and four days later Hatcher was found dead in his prison cell; he had hanged himself using some electrical wires and tied them to his neck using his shoelaces.




Charles was popularly regarded by the police before the knowledge of the serial killings came to the fore as a “One man crime spree”. He was pathologically inclined to criminal activities, and had been since his childhood. It did not matter if it was a petty crime, such as forging a 10$ check, or an attempted burglary, Hatcher had to do something every now and then.


Despite being a shy and an introverted personality, Hatcher was a highly intelligent sociopath who was skilled in manipulation. He went through several examinations of his sanity pretending to be an alias, and even passed polygraph tests for the same.


He convinced prison authorities with good behavior and conned them into believing he had reformed, securing an early release on parole. It then took him less than a month to break the terms of his parole, and one more until he was arrested again. The abuse suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father was sexual in nature, which gave Hatcher a history of sexual depravity from his childhood.


He was prone to violent outbursts at several triggers. While he had several relationships with women and was most likely bisexual, the majority of all his victims, including those he had killed and those who had managed to escape, were male. They were all young, ranging from 4 to 19 years of age.


Despite Hatcher’s criminal history as well as his mental instability, no attempt was ever made to track him and keep monitoring him. From the beginning he made no attempt to clear up a crime scene, instead relying on escaping quickly via a stolen vehicle and if successful, finding himself on another side of the country before the crime was even discovered. The majority of his murders occurred due to either strangulation or stabbing.

Hatcher was addicted to a life of crime and got a high out of breaking the law.


Perhaps it had to do with the years of repressed violence he had internalized due to his father’s abuse. He seemed to always want to subvert authority figures, running rings around the police during his many jail stays. He never confessed to what would have been his first murder, the death of a prisoner he had been sent to solitary confinement for.


However he never denied his involvement either during the investigation at that time. During his time spent in solitary confinement Hatcher first asked for psychiatric help for his issues. It is difficult to decide if the plea was genuine, considering it would have drastically shortened his jail sentence if this plea had been approved.


Hatcher established himself negatively in the courts of law and amongst the police as regards to his mental disability as well, due to his repeated pleas of insanity, which turned out to be untrue. Was Hatcher mentally twisted? Without a doubt. Was the mental illness a direct cause of his criminal behavior? That is more difficult to say.


The thing is, whether or not Hatcher was sane or not, the responsibility for his crimes lie with him, and not with either his abusive father or his mental landscape. The indiscriminate use of the insanity plea by several people accused of capital crimes has always been a cause of criticism.


Police and lawyers have pointed out how easy it is to manipulate the testimonies of doctors. The standard response to an insanity defense has become trying to discredit the doctor or the expert making the recommendation. Hatcher knowingly used the flawed legal system, which allowed him to get away with his crimes multiple times.


What became apparent in the case of Hatcher was that there was also something seriously flawed in how mental health was treated in the United States. Despite several tenures in a mental hospital and spending years being treated for his psychotic impulses, Hatcher not only showed no improvement in his mental health, but proved to actually intensify both the frequency and the severity of his crimes. If Hatcher ever actually desired any help from the institutions set up to help him, he did not receive it.


Unlike many of the other serial killers mentioned in this book, Hatcher had a very long history of crime. However it is worthwhile to note that the first murder he was caught for was the case of Michelle Steele, which was his eighteenth murder (if we count the murder he was accused of in prison).


Some analysts claim to this day that Hatcher only confessed to all his crimes when he was arrested for a capital offence for the first time. Accordingly he confessed to all his crimes so that he’d be guaranteed to receive a death penalty. However the death penalty was suspended at that time and Hatcher then took the next step of suicide.


The bottom line in this case is that Hatcher was obviously a mentally disturbed psychopath who had spent a majority of his life in prison when he began his serial murders. That all those jail terms and time spent in psychiatric care did not help him in the slightest to mend his ways speaks poorly of a medical system.


But even in this assertion what cannot be accounted for is Hatcher’s own thoughts. Had he ever repented? Had he ever wanted to change his ways? Or was it all an attempt at manipulation to secure beneficial conditions for himself? Following his suicide, I guess we shall never know.




To conclude, a history of serial killers is a gruesome history of humanity pushing against its own boundaries of extreme violence. Serial killers have abounded across generations and across countries, resisting any classification based on demographics, though attempts have been made to locate the impulse to murder in the genes of the serial killers.


Most serial killers have been men, with less than one sixth of the total incarcerated serial killers convicted in the USA being women. However there is no reliable statistic that can eliminate cognitive bias as well as the differences in population in this regard.


Some have proposed that women are far more likely to vent their anger, rage, and homicidal tendencies on themselves in the form of self-harm. Such studies, too, have been hampered both by lack of evidence as well as sweeping generalizations.


However, what I want to focus on is the process of identifying serial killers, and to prevent them from performing future crimes. This has always been a very difficult task, with perhaps the most famous serial killer of them all, the almost mythologized figure of Jack the Ripper never having been found.


Jack the Ripper also set off a trend for both how serial killers were perceived, and how they behaved. Serial killers got a kick from seeing the law enforcement agencies try and fail to catch them. Edmund Kemper was famously friends with several law enforcement personages, and often managed to find secret information of the search effort from his friends.


Many of the crimes that were perpetrated by serial killers could have been prevented and acted against if law enforcement had intervened correctly. This is undoubtedly also the power of hindsight, considering the immense stress of the position and the mountains of information that they have to routinely sort through.


I suppose that some criminals will always be able to exploit the loopholes in a legal and law enforcement system. All we can learn from such cases, then, are the mistakes and oversights, which should never happen again.


Thanks again for purchasing this book. Though the subject matter is grisly and horrific, I firmly believe that a history of such details can truly help in preventing these crimes, which no doubt are happening somewhere in the globe at this very moment.


The lessons we may learn may be slightly sad, such as always being wary of strangers, and avoiding secluded areas without something to be able to defend ourselves with. And above all, to always be on the lookout for suspicious looking people, and to report any such suspicious activity to the police.


If we can help find a serial killer, there is no saying how many lives we could potentially save.

Hey, if you liked this book I would love it if you could leave me a review on amazon! Just search for this title and my name on Amazon to find it. Thank you so much!


Other Books Written By Me

Below you’ll find some of my other popular books that are popular on Amazon and Kindle as well. You can visit my author page on Amazon to see other work done by me. (Travis S. Kennedy).

True Crime Stories

True Paranormal

True Paranormal – Book 2

True Crime

Serial Killers True Crime

True Ghost Stories And Hauntings

True Ghost Stories And Hauntings – Book 2

True Ghost Stories And Hauntings – Book 3

True Crime Stories – Book 2

If the links do not work, for whatever reason, you can simply search for these titles on the Amazon website with my name to find them.




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  • Published: 2016-07-01 07:05:11
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