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5 Traits of a Serial Killer

Psychological Profiling

By N APublished 6 years ago 4 min read
Power Junkie - Ian Brady, The Moors Murders

(Key words in bold are at the bottom.)

I'll start with the basics...

Psychological Profiling is a description of the likely suspect including how they look, their hobbies, interests, background, even down to the sex of the perpetrator by evidence that is collected at crime scenes.

It is also known as Personality Profiling, Crime Scene Profiling, and Offender Profiling.

It is relatively new with the early work starting in the 1970/80's and is based on empirical evidence. Although, it was attempted in 1888 during The Jack the Ripper murders.

It is believed that crimes against a person have increased due to numerous sociological causes including deprivation and more opportunities.

Dr. Elizabeth Yardley believes that there are 5 key traits to a Serial Killer, these being...

  1. Superficial Charmer
  2. Average Joe
  3. Power Junkie
  4. Manipulator
  5. Egotistical Bragger

A Superficial Charmer is someone who has a great grip on other's emotions and vulnerabilities, who can convince people to do things which aren't in their norm. An example of a Superficial Charmer is Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, burglar, kidnapper, and necrophile. His crimes took place during the 1970s on girls and young women. Bundy would fake an injury, disability, or accent and many of times, claim to be a person of authority to gain the victim's attention and trust before overpowering them in more secluded spots. On a few occasions, the severed heads of his victims were taken back to his apartment as trophies, and crime scenes were visited so he could perform sexual acts on the decomposing bodies. Many who met him described him as charismatic and handsome and he used these traits to his advantage against females.

Called the most dangerous trait by many is number 2, Average Joe, as those who have this trait look like upstanding members of the community but are really committing their deviant acts behind closed doors. Fred & Rose West are examples.

A married couple with 5 children between them, they lived in a ground floor flat in Gloucester and no one would have guessed that Fred was an ephebophile and was 27 when he started dating a 15-year-old Rose. Together they killed at least 14 young women, assaulted 2 and raped 1 during the 70's. Their signature was removing—post-mortem—toes and fingers.

The next trait is Power Junkie. I know we all know many people like this... love the sense of authority and control over a situation and/or person. In the world of Serial Killers, they also want to gain the attention of the Media, many times writing letters to Newspapers. They tend to keep the "game" going even when they've been arrested or even spent years in prison, this is what murderer Ian Brady did.

Brady committed 5 sexual assaults and murders in the 60s alongside his girlfriend, Myra Hindley. They both are very popular, although unliked, people, especially in Britain. Known as the "Moors Murderers" (where they buried the bodies), 4 bodies were found but one still has not been. Brady visited the crime scene twice whilst he was in prison to assist with finding the grave of Keith Bennett, many believe he knows where young Keith is buried but in a last attempt of control, Brady took it to the grave.

Number 5 is Manipulator. These people present themselves to others in a false light and know what to say/do and what buttons of others to press in order to get themselves out of trouble and/or pass the blame onto another. Very often they use psychological reasoning's as an excuse for their actions. Doctor Harold Shipman is probably the worst manipulator, especially in his killing years.

Dr. Shipman killed over 200 of his patients up until his arrest in the 1990s using a lethal amount of painkillers. To cover his tracks, he convinced many families to cremate their dead loved one (all evidence would be damaged or gone) and any colleagues that seemed worried or suspicious of him, he would tell them nothing was wrong. Many that knew him liked him.

Lastly, we have Egotistical Braggers. Again, I'm sure we all know someone like this but hopefully not one the scale of Trevor Hardy. Egotistical Braggers in the Profiling world can't help but tell someone about the crimes they have committed, gaining satisfaction from people knowing their wrongdoings. They tend to revisit burial/murder sites (Ian Brady and Myra Hindley) to enrich their egos.

Hardy, also known as the "Beast of Manchester," murdered 3 teenage girls in the late 1970s. So happy and dying to tell someone about his deviant acts, he told his brother. Unluckily for him, his brother alerted the Police and Hardy's spree of murders was put to a stop.

Although many believe that Serial Killers belong to one of these 5 traits, it does not mean that every Average Joe is going to be a Serial Killer or that your neighbour across the road who absolutely adores themselves and will do anything to strike up a conversation about their time at the gym is going to go on a killing rampage.

Empirical Evidence - gaining an evaluation through study, research, and observation.

Jack the Ripper - Murders from August 7 to September 10 1888 that took place in Whitechapel, London. The name came about from a letter the Police received, claiming to do the murderer himself. At least 5 prostitutes were mutilated all within 1 mile of each other. The perpetrator was never found, although over 100 people have been named, including Queen Victoria's grandson.

Dr. Elizabeth Yardley - Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University.

Necrophile - Known as necrophilia, it is someone who has a sexual attraction to corpses. This may include sexual acts performed on/near/because of the deceased.

Ephebophile - attracted to those who have just gone through puberty, starting to show the signs of adulthood. The age group is 15-19-years-old.

Post-mortem - After death

"You learn what you need to kill and take care of the details. It’s like changing a tire. The first time you’re careful. By the thirtieth time, you can’t remember where you left the lug wrench." - Ted Bundy
fact or fiction

About the Creator


I started this thinking I'd talk about the course I'm studying but I've totally gone off topic and literally just write about anything, mainly about my misery lol.

I'm just looking to rant and you can call me an idiot at any point


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