serial killing discusion question and serial killing : A case study

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Attached you will find the Class 3 Summary document, Readings 1,3. Make sure you read the Class Summary document first, it contains all the instructions you will need and details the postings that you are required to make in the Discussion Forum by 1/7. In the Discussion Forum you should write at least one or two sentences in response to the questions. Class Summary also contains information on what is required for the first assignment Serial Killing: A Case Study due 1/8 Make sure you consult the rubric for key topics in 'Assignment Instructions'. I have also attached the Grover and Soothill paper separately in case you have difficulty downloading it. This a clip on youtube from Nick Broomfield's documentary on Aileen Wuornos (see Class Summary) - if you have difficulty downloading it, go to youtube there are other clips available https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trty0OObpK8

Rubric  for  Key  Topics     Key  Topics:    21  points         There  are  2  key  topics  for  you  to  complete,  these  are  worth  12    points  each.    Full   details  are  or  will  be  posted  in  the  Course  Materials  and  in  Assignments.      The  topics   are  on  serial  killing  and  hate  crime.       For  the  full  12  points  you  need  to  complete  each  of  the  questions  by  the  date  set.     Your  responses  should  indicate  that  you  have  read  and  reflected  on  the  material   posted  and  completed  some  of  your  own  research.      Remember  academic  study  is  all   about  finding  out  about  your  subject.    What  has  been  written  about  it?    What  are  the   debates?    You  should  also  refer  to  and  list  your  source  material.  
Serial Killing To Do: *Read the summary below * Read the course textbook, Gregg Barak’s Violence and NonViolence pages 232-233, page 48, Box 2.2. * Read Serial Killing readings 1-3 below *Go to the Discussion Forum: Answer the Question on Serial Killing by 1/7 *Complete Assignment 1: Serial Killing – A Case Study (12 points) by 1/8 Note: if you have problems downloading the readings, please get in touch immediately Serial Killing Key Concepts: Public fascination, definition, levels and patterns, explanations The Public Fascination for Serial Killing The popular interest in serial killing is quite astonishing, just look at the number of ‘true crimes’ books on the subject. In the United States it is said that you cannot have a case of serial killing without hordes of journalists and filmmakers queuing up to write books or make films about it. Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac killer have all been immortalized in film. Many serial killers have achieved a celebrity status as the extract below from Extreme Killing ( 2005) 1 by J. Fox and J. Levin illustrates. Think about why people are so interested in this form of homicide, is it simply because it is the stuff of nightmares? Extract 1 The Serial Killer: As a Celebrity 2 3 4 Reference: Fox, J and Levin, J. (2005) Extreme Killing, Thousand Oaks: California 5 Defining Serial Killing Holmes and Holmes define a serial killer as ‘someone who murders at least three persons in more than a thirty day period…Mass murder, in contrast, involves the killing of a number persons in one place at one time’ (1994, p. 93). We need to consider how clear this definition of serial killing is. It can easily be applied to a wide range of killers, for e.g. hit men (shouldn’t Tony Soprano be considered a serial killer?), soldiers who commit atrocities in war. Jane Caputi in The Age of the Sex Crime (1988) has, for example, by citing case history descriptions, emphasized the similarity between the murders of women by soldiers in Vietnam and those committed by Jack the Ripper. Extract 2: What is the difference between serial killing and some of the atrocities committed in wartime? In this extract Jock Young (2012) argues there is little difference between the crimes of Sergeant Robert Bales the American soldier accused of the massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan and a serial killer such as Ted Bundy. The violence is of the same extreme nature and the victims ‘dehumanized’ by their killer. He also draws attention to the fact that Bales was to be defended by Bundy’s lawyer. Hence he writes, ‘So irony piles upon irony Ted Bundy’s lawyer John Henry Browne is to defend Sergeant Robert Bales the American soldier accused of the massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan. Having defended a notorious serial killer he now defends a sniper, a legal serial killer. It is about time that we recognize that to train soldiers to kill, particularly in far away countries where they regard the inhabitants as alien and uncivilized, will 6 inevitably result in massacres such as the case in hand.. (It is about) the dehumanisation of the ‘enemy’.. No doubt Sergeant Bales suffered stress, indeed many people do but they are not schooled in murder and equipped with the most up to date weapons, Bales is described by his neighbours as a ‘normal….good fun guy’. Normal people do not train snipers and, as I recollect, many people thought that Ted Bundy was a ‘good fun guy’.’ What do you think? Should we view Bales and Bundy differently? Why did they commit such horrific acts of violence? For the Serial Killing section of this course you will also need to consider levels and patterns, explanations and differences between male and female serial killers. Reading: Readings 1, 3 are attached Serial Killing: Reading 1 The most popular explanations for serial killing are those that focus on the psychology of the offender. It is seen as caused by factors that arise within the individual and it is these factors that govern and structure the killer’s homicidal behavior. This type of explanation is referred to as individual positivism in the criminological literature. In this article on British serial killers, Chris Grover and Keith Soothill, suggest it can also be understood by analyzing the social structure and patriarchal social relations. 7 Serial Killing: Reading 2 In this article from The Independent newspaper popular conceptions of the serial killer are challenged. The Independent Serial killers likely to be family men, not freaks, says FBI By Leonard Doyle in Washington Thursday, 10 July 2008 Forget Hannibal Lecter. Hollywood's portrayal of serial killers as deranged loners with unusually high IQs is dangerously wrong and can hinder investigations, according to the FBI. The agency warns that efforts to track down serial killers are often impaired by screenwriter storylines, the proliferation of "talking head" experts on television who speculate without knowing the facts and the anecdotal evidence picked up and used by inexperienced investigators and prosecutors. A report, by the agency's behavioural analysis unit, says serial killers often have families and homes, are gainfully employed and appear to be normal members of the community. 8 "On television and the silver screen, serial killers are usually white males and dysfunctional loners who really want to get caught," an FBI spokesman said. "Or, they're super-intelligent monsters who frustrate law enforcement at every turn." The report, compiled by law enforcement and mental health experts, found that serial killers were "much different in real life" and that "the racial diversification of serial killers generally mirrors the overall US population". The authors also challenge the myths that serial killers are only motivated by sex, and travel in order to kill, or that they are evil, insane geniuses who cannot stop killing and want to get found out. "Serial killers do not want to get caught: over time, as they kill without being discovered, they get careless," they said. Challenging the misconception that serial killers are all loners, the report points to Robert Yates, who killed 17 prostitutes in Washington during the 1990s. He was married with five children, lived in a middle-class neighbourhood and was a decorated army helicopter pilot. It mentions Dr Michael Swango, a former US Marine, ambulance worker, physician and health care employee. He was convicted of four murders in New York and Ohio but is suspected of having killed up to 50 people. The FBI report is aimed at dispelling the common myths, which agents say can limit the public's potential to observe suspicious activity or become witnesses. "The more that we can get that information out there to them, hopefully we'll have a higher solution rate in solving these cases and enhancing the public safety," the spokesman said. Serial Killing: Reading 3 In this article, Wendy Hollway puts forward a feminist understanding of serial killing by focusing on Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. 9 Documentary: In the documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer by Nick Broomfield Aileen Wuornos’ life is examined. Most of the clips from this documentary are available on youtube type in ‘Aileen Life and Death of a Serial Killer’. It is also available in the John Jay library and from Netflix. You will need to watch this in order to answer the Discussion Forum question. Supplementary Research: Jack the Ripper has been described by Jane Caputi (1988) as the ‘father’ to the age of sex serial killing. He is known to have brutally murdered several prostitutes in the White Chapel area of London in the late 1800s. This is not to suggest there were no incidents of serial of killing before this time – there are many documented accounts - but this, according to Caputi and other commentators, for e.g. Colin Wilson, was the first time this crime ‘entered and transformed public consciousness’ (p.7). This is an enormous amount written on Jack the Ripper, his identity has never been confirmed – this website offers some good background information into the case: www.casebook.org/intro.html. 10 Discussion Forum: Serial Killing Go to the discussion forum and answer the following question: 1. Why do you think Aileen Wuornos committed her crimes? Assignment 1: Serial Killing: A Case Study Go to ‘Assignments’/ Choose a serial killer to research, the killer does not have to be from the United States. Summarize his or her crimes and consider the following. 1. How is/was the serial killer represented? How did the public and the media respond to the killer (for example, was he or she given a name, such as Son of Sam? Were they written about in great detail?) 2. Why did they commit their crimes? What explanations were put forward. Consider those suggested by Soothill and Grover in Serial Killing: Reading 1. 3. Were there any patterns? (for example, some serial killers have targeted sex workers). If there are patterns what conclusions might be drawn from them? (Think about Hollway's discussion of the Yorkshire Ripper in Serial Killing: Reading 3). 4. If they were caught, what happened to them? Complete by . 1/8 11 12
The British Criminology Conferences: Selected Proceedings. Volume 2. Papers from the British Criminology Conference, Queens University, Belfast, 15-19 July 1997. This volume published March 1999. Editor: Mike Brogden. ISSN 1464-4088. See end of file for copyright and other information. BRITISH SERIAL KILLING: TOWARDS A STRUCTURAL EXPLANATION Chris Grover and Keith Soothill Leyton (1986) argues that in order to understand the phenomenon of serial killing factors beyond the psychological tradition need to be analysed. His structural account using evidence of American serial killing and focusing on socio-economic factors provides a powerful contribution to a neglected area. How applicable, though, is Leyton's thesis of 'homicidal protest' to the British experience of serial killing? In focusing on known British serial killers since the 1960s, our results suggest that Leyton's work cannot be wholly applied to the modern British experience. While finding Leyton's analysis both limited and limiting, we support the general approach. However, we argue that the focus should be widened to include other social relations, such as patriarchy. Introduction Popular, academic and control agency interest in serial killing has mushroomed over the last decade. Serial killing has become big business, with various state and private interests having vested reasons for keeping serial killing in the news. Soothill (1993), for example, argues that serial killing as an industry has important implications for the revenue of business interests as diverse as film making and publishing through to those corporations involved in the development of police computer hard and software. Whilst such interests exist, often blurring the boundaries between fictional (or 'factional') representations and the reality of serial killing, there are real concerns about the detection and capture of serial killers. In the USA, for example, Caputi (1987: 1-2) quotes FBI statistics to show how serial murders had increased dramatically over two decades, 'there were 644 such murders in 1966 and an estimated 4,118 in 1982, comprising nearly eighteen per cent of all murders that year'. In the United Kingdom the figures highlight a different type of problem. The recent media interest in serial killing is seriously disproportionate to the scale of the problem. Nevertheless, we should not underrate the very real concerns that a spate of serial killing sets off in a community. Indeed, our task is not to deny the importance of the concern, but to challenge the nature of much of the focus. In brief, some questions are being highlighted while perhaps even more important questions are being neglected. A fundamental distinction is between individual and structural approaches. Certainly the developments in recent years of attempts to 'combat' such offences - psychological profiling, DNA testing and offender databases - are necessarily linked to the offender as individual, with the primary focus in trying to develop psychological profiles through offender profiling or biological profiles through DNA testing. In essence, these reflect laudable attempts to improve detection. The focus of detection is upon the individual. However, a problem emerges when the discourse of detection subtly shifts to become the discourse of causation with the suggestion that serial killing is the result of factors located within an individual, whereby a psychological, psychiatric, or biological predisposition to murder is sought. While seeking an explanation within such frameworks is perfectly proper, arguments that the genesis of crime might be more fully explained by considering wider social structures tends to be excluded. The present 'crime' in terms of explanation is not one of commission - everyone is entitled to proffer an explanation - but one of omission - some explanatory frameworks are rarely exposed. We argue that the dominant individualistic discourse fails to meet the challenge of causation satisfactorily and there is a need to consider explanatory frameworks which are more ambitious in their scope. Certainly the main result of the psychologising and medicalising of the causes of crime is that the historical and cultural specificity of crime is ignored. These are ignored at our peril. Without a focus upon wider social factors in causing offender behaviour, any understanding of crime cannot be complete. Current limitations of analysis It is curious that recent sociology which concerns itself with the social origins of crime tends to ignore more serious, albeit more rare, crimes of violence against the person.[1] Acts which tend to be portrayed as individual manifestations of evil would not have deterred one of the founders of sociology, Emile Durkheim, from confronting an analysis. Indeed, his very choice of focusing on suicide as a demonstration of the importance of social analysis was because suicide was regarded as a very personal and individualistic act (Durkheim, 1952). The second concern is that - with the demise of most avowedly Marxist approaches (whether intellectually justified or not) - the alternative (which now seems a consensus among the main political parties) provides little scope for fundamental change. It is our contention that the mere tweaking of the socio-economic system is not enough to overcome all variants of crime. We need to consider whether it is the very nature of society which 'creates' those people we have come to know as 'serial killers'. An exception to the limitations of much recent sociological analysis is the work of Elliot Leyton who usually describes himself as a social anthropologist. In brief, his work (Leyton, 1986) on multiple murder provides the opportunity to appreciate that serial killers may be socially constituted. Leyton's work on the U.S.A. experience suggests the acts of serial killers are not simply the result of a deranged or dangerous personality, but, more importantly, may be the consequence of a socio-economic system which cannot by its rabidly competitive dynamic reward the efforts of all, and may dangerously marginalise certain people. Defining serial killing Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in any study of serial killers is actually defining what it means. First, there has to be a number of murders, and second there has to be a period of time between murders. Such factors may seem simplistic, but confusions soon become evident. Egger (1984) suggests a six point identification of the serial killer: there must be at least two victims; there is no relationship between perpetrator and victim; the murders are committed at different times and have no direct connection to previous or following murders; the murders occur at different locations; the murders are not committed for material gain; subsequent victims have characteristics in common with earlier victims (quoted in Creswell and Hollin, 1994: 3). Most of the components of this stipulative definition could perhaps be challenged. So, for example, to assert that 'there is no relationship between perpetrator and victim' is a stringent condition and would certainly exclude some perpetrators, such as Dennis Nilsen and Frederick and Rosemary West, whom most would regard as serial killers. In fact, what constitutes a 'relationship' is problematic and it seems Egger is too restrictive in his conceptualisation of 'relationships'. Indeed, we later suggest that serial killing can usefully be conceptualised as a relationship in the broadest sense of being grounded in patriarchy and capitalist relations. The assertion that murders have to take place in different locations to be classified as serial killing again is unnecessarily restrictive. It seems curious to disqualify a killer who lures or forces his/her victims to a specific location to be killed from being labelled as a serial killer. Frederick and Rosemary West, who killed at least nine young women (non-familial victims), will retain the label of serial killers despite committing the known offences at the same address in Gloucester (Sounes, 1995). Nevertheless, our reservations about the definitional efforts of Egger should not mask the point that his work does begin to provide some clues as to how one might consider serial killing as a distinctive sub-set of 'multiple murder'. No one has (or is) likely to accomplish a completely satisfactory definition for all purposes (Jenkins, 1988: 2) and we hastily acknowledge that the operational definition we use later to identify the boundaries of our cohort of British serial killers owes a debt to Egger! We have operationalised the following definition of serial killing for the purposes of this paper. We have followed Colin Wilson's contention (personal communication, 1997) that there should be at least three victims. This could, of course, be criticised for not including attempted murder, and indeed, the infamous case of Graham Young, who killed two people by poisoning while several other people he poisoned survived, only missed inclusion because of the survival of his victims rather than any lack of intention on his part. However, that happens to any potential serial killer who is stopped in his tracks in some way. We have also excluded those cases where there is a suggestion that the perpetrator killed more than three people, but they have been charged with less than three murders. So, for example, Hawkes (1970) implies that Raymond Morris may have committed the murder of four young girls in the Midlands in the 1960s. However, he was only charged with the murder of one. As Hawkes notes, his guilt in the other cases remains mere supposition. To be included in our analysis there must have been a period of time (days, weeks or years) between each murder, and following Jenkins (1988) we have excluded those with an '... explicitly political motive, such as the 'Balcombe Street' IRA group responsible for at least nine deaths in 1974-75' (1988: 3) and 'professional' killers, such as contract killers. In contrast to Jenkins, however, we have included those who have killed to hide (or even finance) other crimes such as theft but who have not - as far as we are aware - been part of a wider movement or business relationship. Definitions are a pre-requisite of typologies which may provide a further set of meaningful categories. Holmes and De Burger (1985: 56-9) provide an interesting example of a typology relating to serial killing in suggesting that the killers divide into four groups. The first group they identify are visionary serial killers, represented by those killers who have hallucinations or who are delusional. Secondly, missionary serial killers are defined as those who have decided to rid society of a certain group of people. The third group of serial killers they observe are those seeking power and control, and are motivated by a desire to have complete control over the victim. Finally, hedonistic serial killers are said to be divisible into several sub-groups, such as 'lust-murderers' who are said to commit multiple murder because they gain sexual enjoyment from doing so; 'thrill-orientated' serial killers who are said to murder not for sexual satisfaction, but for the excitement of the act; and the third sub-group 'comfort-orientated' serial killers - who are said to kill because they gain instrumental security from the accumulation of victims' property, or insurance payouts. Whilst such broad classifications of serial killers may be useful in certain environs, such as the detection process, their usage in the sociological understanding of serial killing is limited. However, even on their own terms, this type of approach may have its own problems. So, for example, Cresswell and Hollin (1994) note how the groups posited by Holmes and De Burger are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, a serial killer may commence his activities for one reason, but may further murder for different reasons. They offer the example of Dennis Nilsen who killed, in the middle of his sequence of murders, a man just because he was annoying him; previously he had murdered for idiosyncratic reasons (1994: 5). More importantly, though, from our perspective is the fact that these classifications of serial killers concentrate upon individual motives. Serial killers are said to be driven by 'lust' or 'thrill', or they are hallucinatory. Whilst such responses may be given by the killers as the immediate justification for their actions, one needs to look beyond the motives of individuals if one's explanatory framework encompasses the notion that actions - social and antisocial - are structured by wider socio-economic relationships. However, first, a brief recapitulation on the medico-psychological tradition within which most explanations have been trapped. The medico-psychological tradition The primary emphasis of those working in the medico-psychological tradition is upon explaining the actions of the individual within the context of his - the vast majority of known violent offenders are male - psyche. The basic assumption is essentially that individual actors are driven to extreme behaviour because of a single or a coalescence of several psychological 'abnormalities'. The recent growth of interest in the psychological approach has been evident in the development of sex offender treatment programmes in prisons. Indeed, psychologists rather than psychiatrists have become more dominant in recent treatment programmes and their advance is a lesson in professional imperialism. However, the approach of the two disciplines in focusing upon the individual is identical for our purposes. Nevertheless, the shift of emphasis is of interest. Psychiatrists have historically been struggling with a paradox. Their explanations for deviance are couched in terms of psychiatric abnormality, but few offenders are so psychiatrically disturbed as to be termed mentally ill. Within the criminal justice system the exceptions who are defined as 'mad' are indeed the most exceptional cases. Forensic psychiatrists have tended to limit their treatment interests to these latter cases and, despite fears in the early 1970s of psychiatric imperialism, forensic psychiatrists have been fairly reluctant to work beyond a fairly narrow base and have not attempted to make a major impact on the general run of offenders. In fact, in recent years, leading forensic psychiatrists - certainly aware of the critiques of the medical model in the late 1960s and early 1970s - have been comparatively modest in their aims and claims. Interestingly, the increasing concern about the failure of the criminal justice system to confront the problem of some serious offenders, particularly sexual offenders, who have been defined as 'bad' rather than 'mad', has been a challenge which has been embraced by psychologists. Certainly there has been a change within the psychological approach over the past thirty years. Contemporary psychologists are willing to recognise the importance of the social context much more readily than formerly. Indeed, psychological profiling with some of its origins in environmental criminology makes much play on how a person might operate within a particular social environment. However, David Canter, perhaps the most sophisticated of recent exponents of the psychological approach, pertinently sub-titles his best-selling book, Criminal Shadows, as Inside the Mind of the Serial Killer (Canter, 1995). Hence, whether seeking offenders with the use of psychological profiling or treating offenders with behaviour modification programmes or its variants, we contend that the thrust remains essentially the same and the current emphasis has focused on explaining the actions of the individual within the context of his psyche. The social has been identified in the background but the foreground is almost exclusively occupied by the individual. Our aim is to reverse this patterning. We contend that, by foregrounding the social, many more individuals begin to occupy the background. By highlighting the wider structural factors, we can begin to understand why some historical periods have more violence than others. So, for example, there seems no trace of a serial killer in Britain in the 1930s and yet in the inter-war period Germany had at least a dozen cases (Jenkins, 1988). Our main interest is in the period since the 1960s when there has certainly been evidence of some serial killers in Britain. The seeds of structural killing Hunting Humans: the rise of the modern multiple murderer Hunting Humans (Leyton, 1986) is a seminal work on the sociology of multiple murder by the Canadian anthropologist, Elliot Leyton. Whilst Leyton's focus is upon multiple murderers rather than just serial killers, the crux of his thesis, that psychological explanations alone are unable to explain the phenomenon of multiple killing, has important applications in the study of serial killing. For Leyton multiple murder is not the province of the mentally disturbed. He argues that one has to look beyond the individual to the society, and in particular the social structures in which he/she lives if one is to explain more fully multiple killing. To develop his thesis he identifies three broad historical periods, and argues that in these three periods the social genesis of multiple killers and their victims are socially specific. Table 1 summarises his historical configurations, and shows the broad socio-economic background of the serial killers and their victims. Table 1 suggests that there have been significant changes in the socioeconomic background of killers and their victims between the historical epochs. In broad terms, the socio-economic background of the serial killer has 'fallen' from that of aristocracy in the pre-industrial period to upper-working class/lower middle class in the modern era. The socio-economic background of the victims has, again broadly speaking, 'risen' from being peasantry in the pre-industrial period through the 'lower orders' in the industrial period, to that of the middle classes in the modern era. Why, though, are there differences between historical epochs? Leyton explains the changes through the concept of 'homicidal protest'. Through this concept he suggests that in each of his historical periodisations the configuration of the social structure is such that some persons when faced with challenges to their position in the social hierarchy react to those challenges through the 'protest' of killing members of the threatening group. Homicidal protest can take differing forms. In order to show these differences we need to briefly discuss the three periods which Leyton outlines. Pre-industrial Table 1 demonstrates that the pre-industrial multiple murderer was likely to be a member of the aristocracy, preying on peasants as victims. Leyton gives some lengthy detail, for example, on the fifteenth century French Baron Gilles de Rais, who '... murdered somewhere between 141 and 800 (peasant) children, mostly boys' (Leyton, 1986: 270). Leyton locates the explanation of why serial killers tended to be from aristocratic backgrounds and their victims peasants in the structural crisis of the fifteenth century. He argues that the fifteenth century was a period when the ordered feudal society of overlords and peasants was increasingly being challenged by peasants on the one hand, and merchants on the other hand. The fifteenth century is posited as a period '...in which the established order strove to re-assert itself, often through the savage repression of political and religious peasant rebellions' (ibid.: 273). For Leyton the serial killing of the Baron Gilles de Rais was a symbolic reflection of the threatened status of the nobility, and '...was a personalized expression of the sweeping repressive thrust of his class, and a sexual metaphor in which he tested and enforced his terrible powers' (ibid.). Of course, the evidence of murderous activity, especially multiple murder, in the pre-industrial era is comparatively meagre and tales of aristocratic slayings are always more likely to survive than those of any other class. Nevertheless, Leyton finds a notable case on which to begin to build his edifice. Industrial In the industrial era the identity of the multiple murderer and his victims was somewhat different. Leyton suggests that the industrial revolution and the related changes in social and economic relations was the driving force behind these changes in the socio-economic identity of serial killers. In fact, he argues that the industrial era was one '... in which middle class functionaries - doctors, teachers, professors, civil servants, who belonged to the class created to serve the needs of the new triumphant bourgeoisie - preyed on members of the lower orders, especially prostitutes and housemaids' (ibid.: 276). Although the multiple murderer had a different social background in the industrial era, there are resonances of the motives of the pre-industrial serial killer, for whilst the middle classes may not have felt materially threatened by the 'lower orders', Leyton suggests that their crimes were a symbolic extension of the need for industrial discipline. In other words, serial killers were taking to their most heinous conclusion the unprecedented control demanded by the cash-nexus of industrial capitalism. Serial killers removed those who lived outside the new moral order, which demanded the maximum extraction of value from the industrial proletariat: 'In killing the failures and the unruly renegades from the system ... they acted as enforcers of the new moral order' (ibid.: 276). The resonances of social control in a period of rapid changes, therefore, gives a degree of continuity to the motivations of serial killers, even if the socioeconomic status of serial killers and their victims had changed. Modern Although Table 1 shows the modern era as being post-World War II Leyton more specifically classifies the modern period as being from the 1960s, for it is since then that there has been a significant increase in the recorded incidence of serial killing and serial killers (ibid.: 286). By the time we reach what Leyton conceptualises as the 'modern era', important changes had occurred. In fact, the power relationship of killer to victim had been reversed, for whilst the perpetrators in the modern era are increasingly drawn from the upper working and lower working classes, he argues that victims were increasingly from the middle classes (ibid.: 287). The form of 'homicidal protest' had changed, for no longer were powerful interests controlling the less powerful, but those increasingly excluded from desired socio-economic goals were wreaking their revenge upon those whom they saw as frustrating their ambitions, and therefore, being responsible for their exclusion. Through analysing the historical specificities of multiple murder, Leyton constructs a useful framework for the analysis of serial killing. In brief, his analysis locates multiple murder in historically located social structures and relationships. It offers, therefore, an explanation of multiple murder which challenges those explanations which psychologise or medicalise the actions of multiple murderers. However, Leyton's thesis is not unproblematic. Historical periodisations are always difficult, and Leyton's chronology identifies three distinctive periods that could be criticised, on the one hand, for being too broad in their time spans, and, on the other hand, being too rigid at their boundaries. Leyton, for example, does give the impression that the periods are strictly definable while, paradoxically, locating multiple murder within an analysis which essentially focuses upon social change. In other words, a focus of change needs a recognition that change is likely to be more gradual than the highly definable shifts which Leyton's analysis seems to imply. These problems arguably reflect Leyton's own somewhat confusing focus. In the main chapters of the book, his focus is on American multiple murderers - four serial killers and two mass murderers. In the concluding chapter of the book - where he develops his sociostructural account of multiple killing - he dramatically switches from the specific focus of his earlier chapters to a more generic focus on world-wide multiple murder. It is this leap from the nation-specific focus of the USA to a wider, international focus which perhaps contextualises the main critique of the detail of Leyton's thesis. Certainly there is scope for exploring the Leyton thesis in another location. The British experience of serial killings since the 1960s provides such a location. Modern British serial killers Since 1960 - and following our definition of serial murder - there is evidence of 15 trials involving 17 serial murderers.[2] In the following outlines we have highlighted some of the main details about these serial killers and their victims as the background to an evaluation of whether Leyton's thesis can be applied to the British experience of post-1960s serial killing. The material is summarised in Table 2 which focuses on the name of the defendant(s), the year of the trial, the occupation at the time of the main events, and the kind and number of victims. While we are seeking patterns, heterogeneity is also evident as these short 'penportraits' vividly reveal. Michael Copeland (tried 1965) Copeland, 'a former regular soldier' (The Times, 17 March 1965) committed his first murder when on active service in Germany with the British army. His first victim was a 16 year male murdered near the barracks he was stationed at. His other two victims were gay men killed in Derbyshire. It was unclear in court why Copeland had murdered (he denied the charges). There was some suggestion that he killed his last two victims because they were gay (The Times, 17 March 1965), although he denied this in court (The Times, 26 March 1965). Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (tried 1966) Ian Brady was employed as a stock clerk when he committed, with Myra Hindley (employed at the same chemical company as a short-hand typist), five murders. Their victims were a young man of 17, a 12-year-old boy and a girl aged 10. According to the judge the issue of culpability was clear. He told the jury: 'From first to last in this case there has not been the smallest suggestion that either of these two are mentally abnormal or not fully and completely responsible for their actions' (The Times, 6 May 1966). Patrick Mackay (tried 1975) Mackay was an 'unemployed gardener' (Clark and Penycate, 1976, p. 4) when tried for three murders (two other murders were left on file and it is thought he may have committed up to a further six). He was charged with the murder of two wealthy elderly women (aged 84 and 89) and a Roman Catholic priest. He was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He had previously been diagnosed as a psychopath, although in court the judge suggested that '...the medical evidence made it clear that Mr Mackay was not insane, because he knew what he was doing, and he knew that it was wrong' (The Times, 22 November 1975). Donald Neilson (also known as the Black Panther, tried 1976) When Neilson committed four murders he was '...mainly engaged in small jobbing work and house conversions' (The Times, 22 July 1976). His victims were two sub postmasters and the husband of a sub-postmistress (all were shot during robberies) and a 17 year-old woman who died whilst being held for ransom by Neilson. Archibald Hall and Michael Kitto (tried 1978) Hall (who was also an accomplished confidence trickster) was employed as butler when charged with five murders (Lucas and Davis, 1979). His victims were acquaintances (a gardener and a houskeeper), his employers (a wealthy former Labour MP and his wife) and his younger brother. He was jointly charged with Michael Kitto - a criminal friend - on three (the housemaid, Hall's brother and Hall's female employer). The murders were executed in order to hide the crimes (mainly burglary and robbery) of Hall and Kitto. Peter Dinsdale (also known as Bruce Lee, tried 1981) Dinsdale admitted the manslaughter of 26 people, aged 6 to 95 years, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The arson attacks through which he killed his victims were said to be 'motiveless' and 'random', although in four charges of arson (in total he faced ten counts) he was said to have been motivated by a grudge against his victims, albeit 'trivial in nature' (The Times, 21 January 1981). He was detained 'in a special hospital without limit of time' (ibid.). Peter Sutcliffe (tried 1981) Sutcliffe was a lorry driver when arrested. He was charged with 13 counts of murder. In court, it was alleged that Sutcliffe murdered because he was on a mission, allegedly directed by God through voices he heard, to kill prostitutes. The fact that six of his victims were not prostitutes rather undermines such arguments, and the court case was posited around a female-blaming discourse (blaming the victims, his mother and his wife) to prove whether he was a 'lunatic or liar' (Bland, 1987). Dennis Nilsen (1983) On arrest Nilsen was working as an Executive Officer in a London jobcentre. He had previously been in the army and the police force (Masters, 1986). He murdered a total of 16 'vagrants and gay men' (The Times, 5 November 1983) '...for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he couldn't bare [sic] the thought of them leaving' (Clark and Morley, 1993, p. 80). John Duffy (tried 1988) Duffy was unemployed when he killed three women after raping them. His three victims were a schoolgirl and two secretaries. He had committed a series of other rapes before he began to murder. Indeed, it is argued that he began to murder the women he attacked after seeing a survivor of one of his rapes whilst appearing at court on charges on assaulting his wife (Canter, 1995, p. 67). Kenneth Erskine (tried 1988) Erskine was 'unemployed and of no fixed address' (The Times, 29 January 1988) when arrested and charged with the murder of seven pensioners. It has been argued that he murdered because he longed for fame and killed pensioners because they 'weren't a physical or sexual threat to him' (Clark and Morley, 1993, p. 35). Beverly Allitt (tried 1993) Allitt was employed as a nurse when she murdered four children - aged seven and nine weeks, 15 months and 11 years - on the ward on which she worked. In court it was argued that she suffered from the 'personality disorder' Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (The Times, 18 May 1993), through which the sufferer thrives 'on the attention the child's supposed illness attracts' (ibid.). Colin Ireland (tried 1993) When arrested Ireland was '...an unemployed drifter (who) wanted to make his mark in life' (The Times, 21 December 1993). He murdered the 'vulnerable group of homosexual men who indulged in sado-masochistic sex' (ibid.). His five victims included a theatre director, a librarian, an American businessman and a warden of sheltered housing. Robert Black (tried 1994) Black was a van driver, whose work took him to various parts of the United Kingdom. He was found guilty of the murders of three girls aged 11, 5 and 10 years between the years 1982 and 1986. One police officer reportedly theorised his crimes as such: 'He was not a psychopath, he did not kidnap to kill. But once he had slaked his sexual desires it was obvious he had to dispose of his victim' (The Times 20 May 1994). Frederick West (hanged himself before trial) and Rosemary West (tried 1995) Frederick West was employed in 'odd manual jobs' (Sounes, 1995, p. 31). Rosemary West was his wife and a part-time prostitute. Frederick West was facing 12 charges of murder before hanging himself, while Rosemary was found guilty of 10 charges. All the victims were female - family members and young women - who latterly were in the care of local authorities or foster-families, or who were living at the West's home after leaving their familial residences. Moore was the entrepreneurial owner of a string of cinemas in North Wales. His victims - four males - were a 'security manager'; a 'retired railway worker', 'a crematorium worker' and 'a drug addict and drunk' (The Guardian, 12 November 1996) killed over a three month period in 1995. Insanity was not an issue in the case. Alex Carlisle, QC for the prosecution, for example, was reported as saying: 'There is no question of insanity. There is no question of diminished responsibility.' (The Times, 12 November 1996). Perpetrators and victims of serial killing: the British experience We have seen how Leyton suggests that, in his 'modern' era (post 1960), serial killers were drawn from the upper working class and lower middle class, and that victims were predominantly from the middle classes. Considering the Leyton framework, it becomes evident that paradoxically the experience of Britain since the 1960s both supports and refutes his claims concerning the perpetrators and victims of serial killing. In support, the argument that serial killers are not drawn from the 'truly oppressed' is, on the whole, borne out. If, for example, persons from minority ethnic and females are representatives of the 'truly oppressed', they are rarely serial killers. There was no evidence of a serial killer being from a minority ethnic group. In terms of gender, we have found evidence of only one female British serial killer (Beverly Allitt) tried since the 1960s who killed alone, although two - Myra Hindley and Rosemary West - were co-accused with their male partners. Beyond this, however, the 15 male perpetrators of serial murder (including Frederick West) seem to fall into two distinct groupings in terms of employment status. Firstly, there is a group of nine male serial killers who were gainfully employed either in bluecollar occupations (namely, Michael Copeland, Donald Neilson, Archibald Hall, Peter Sutcliffe, Robert Black, and Frederick West) or in white-collar occupations (namely, Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen, and Peter Moore). In contrast, a minority - six male serial killers (namely, Peter Mackay, Michael Kitto, John Duffy, Kenneth Erskine, Colin Ireland, and Peter Dinsdale) were almost certainly unemployed at the time of the offences. So how does one evaluate this evidence relating to the employment status of British serial killers? Certainly an enthusiast of Leyton's position would stress how 60 per cent of the male killers were gainfully employed, and most would probably be identified at the time as being from the lower middle class or from the supposedly 'respectable' working class. Hence, these seem broadly supportive of Leyton's thesis. However, a sceptic would point to the fact that 40 per cent of the known male killers were almost certainly unemployed and some were very much living on the margins. These exceptions seem to challenge the Leyton thesis - or do they? Exceptions, in fact, probe the rules and one needs to remember that Leyton is pointing to class position and not employment status. That employment status is often used to measure class position does not mean that they necessarily coincide. Aristocrats may be unemployed and maintain their class position. In fact, Leyton is talking of the fragility of class position. Considering Leyton's focus is upon the fragility of class position it should be of little surprise that the unemployed feature among the ranks of serial killers. There can be no demonstration of such a fragile relation to capitalist production as stark as unemployment. Ambition and aspirations can be frustrated as much by a fall from the socio-economic 'ladder' (as in the case of unemployment and reliance upon low state benefits) as it can be by an inability to climb the 'ladder'. So, for example, in their study of benefit (albeit not all were unemployed) recipients in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Bradshaw and Holmes (1989) conclude that: They (benefit recipients) are just the same people as the rest of our population, with the same culture and aspirations but with simply too little money to be able to share in the activities and possessions of everyday life with the rest of the population (quoted in Oppenheim and Harker, 1996: 18). Aspirations and ambitions can be destroyed through unemployment. The relatively high proportion of unemployed men among British serial killers, therefore, is congruent with Leyton's thesis, as unemployment can be seen as a more extreme form of frustrating ambition. Leyton's thesis, however, becomes more problematic when the victims of British serial killers are considered. The crux of the Leyton's thesis relates to his notion of killing as a form of 'homicidal protest' by frustrated members of the upper working and lower middle classes who tend to kill victims from the middle classes.[3] The British experience certainly does not confirm the latter aspect of the Leyton thesis. It is quite evident from Table 2 that the victims of modern British serial killers are not from the relatively powerful middle classes, but are from relatively powerless and vulnerable groups - children and young adults; gay men; women (particularly those vulnerable through their work in the sex industry or on account of the breakdown of familial relations); and pensioners. In fact, the general absence of persons from relatively powerful positions is especially noticeable. Evaluating homicidal protest: the British experience While the relations of capitalism (class) are central to Leyton's conception of 'homicidal protest', the clinching evidence seems to be lacking in the British context. So where does this leave Leyton's conception of homicidal protest? Do we dismiss it in the light of the British evidence? Or, perhaps more constructively, can we begin to modify the Leyton approach to accommodate the British experience? The answer to such conundrums seems complex, but the analysis is instructive. One perhaps needs to recognise that if class relations are to be regarded as the defining criteria of homicidal protest (i.e. upper working/lower middle class people wreaking revenge on the middle classes who are seen as frustrating their ambitions), then it is quite evident that this variant of 'homicidal protest' lacks usefulness in helping to explain the British experience of modern serial killing. In fact, in many respects the recent British experience seems to have more of the resonances of how Leyton describes the 'industrial' era. Perhaps Britain has not yet reached the 'modern' era which seems to encapsulate the United States. On the other hand, perhaps there is an unnecessary narrowness in defining protest simply in class terms. Hence, if the focus of social relations is widened to those beyond class relations to include other social relations, such as patriarchy, then we suggest it is possible that 'homicidal protest' still has some conceptual value in the British context. Widening the analysis in this way provides scope for being able to classify a greater variety of serial killers. Certainly it can be argued that several British serial killers did have materially frustrated ambitions and/or were marginalised through unemployment. The latter group include John Duffy, the unemployed former British Rail carpenter, Kenneth Erskine who was 'unemployed and of no fixed address' (The Times, 29 January 1988), and Colin Ireland, described as an 'unemployed drifter' (The Times, 21 December 1993). Among those employed, frustrations are sometimes apparent. So, for example, it is said that Ian Brady, at an early age, had '...acquired a consuming resentment of what he perceived as other people's wealth of good fortune. He had nurtured this over the years...' (Clark and Morley, 1993: 117). Similarly, Donald Neilson was described as being 'mainly engaged in small jobbing work and house conversions, but the returns were smaller than his ambitions' (The Times, 22 July 1976, emphasis added), while it has been reported that Frederick West had, as early as the 1960s, become 'frustrated by low pay' (Sounes, 1995: 103). Second, there is a broad group of serial killers who could easily be described as 'socially' frustrated, perhaps manifesting itself as social isolation. So it has been said that Dennis Nilsen murdered '...for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he could not bear the thought of [his victims] leaving' (Clark and Morley, 1993: 80). Similarly, Robert Black was reported to be a 'loner' who was '...abandoned by his mother as a baby, ridiculed by his school mates and despised by many of those with whom he worked' (The Times, 20 May 1994). Certainly there is evidence, therefore, that among some British serial killers a degree of socioeconomic frustration existed. However, it would be both bold and inappropriate to identify socio-economic frustration as either a necessary or sufficient condition for serial killing. Equally, it would perhaps be both bold and inappropriate to deny that such factors may sometimes be relevant, but they clearly do not represent the full story. The problems are equally evident when one considers the victims of serial killers. Broadly speaking, the victims of British serial killers do not belong to the middle classes in the way Leyton's thesis would predict. While, again, some of the victims of British serial killers have been middle class - for instance, Frederick and Rosemary West killed two university undergraduates and Colin Ireland's victims included a theatre director and an American businessman - there is little evidence that these victims were chosen because they were middle class. So, for example, Colin Ireland was reported as focusing on the 'vulnerable group of homosexual men who indulged in sado-masochistic sex' (The Times, 21 December 1993, emphasis added), while Frederick West seemed to be targeting a local authority social service home in order to find victims (Sounes, 1995: 163). In failing to consider social relations other than those of capitalism (class), Leyton cannot easily explain why the victims of British serial killers tend to be females, children and young people, gay men and pensioners. To explain these kind of victims of serial killers we need to locate serial murder within power relations which go beyond those of class, recognising that social power is not limited to those relations reflecting capitalism. In this sense, 'homicidal protest' becomes understandable as a form of revenge, but a revenge that is wreaked upon relatively powerless groups in society. This brings us to a fairly familiar argument. Feminist commentators have for many years rejected arguments that violence against women and children is merely an extension of class-based power relations (Cameron and Frazer, 1987: 117; Kelly and Radford, 1987: 240; Walby, 1990: 132). Indeed, it needs to be recognised that Britain is both a capitalist and a patriarchal society. Violence against women and children, therefore, is seen as being reflective of patriarchal relations through which 'men maintain power over women and children' (Kelly and Radford, 1987: 238). Recognising patriarchal relations, it becomes clearer as to why serial killers often murder women and children. It is an expression of power through which men are able to dominate and oppress women and children. The construction of masculinity is central to this. In the case of Peter Sutcliffe, for example, Lucy Bland (1987) argues that he was able to carry out his murderous attacks for so long because of his male 'normalness'. In other words, Sutcliffe was reflective of 'a normal male culture of drinking, prostitution and violence' (1987: 206-207). Indeed, violence against women was a central feature of the environs in which he circulated. So, for instance, when Sutcliffe attacked Olive Smelt, he was out with a friend, Trevor Birdsall, whom Sutcliffe left in his car whilst he executed the attack. However: Next day, reading about the apparently motiveless attack on Olive Smelt in his local paper ... Birdsall had little doubt that it was the same woman. But misplaced loyalty prevented him from doing anything about it. Violence aimed at women was, in any case, a commonplace in the circles in which he moved ... Violence could, and regularly did, flare up in a matter of seconds ... and women - prostitutes who had 'crossed' their pimps, girlfriends turning up late, wives 'caught' looking at another man - were not infrequently on the receiving end (Burns, 1984: 105; also Bland, 1987: 207). Moreover, on the murder of Helen Rytka, Sutcliffe has said that: 'I had the urge to kill any woman. The urge inside me to kill girls was now practically uncontrollable' (ibid.: 241). It seems clear then that certainly Sutcliffe's choice of victim was reflective of the 'wider context... of widespread misogyny and a culture which encourages and supports a male sexuality based upon violence and aggression towards women' (Bland, 1987: 208). Sutcliffe's systematic murder of women was inextricably bound in the patriarchal nature of society, through which men are able to maintain their position of relative power and authority through various strategies which includes violence against women (Walby, 1990). A similar analysis can be developed to explain the murder of gay men. The fact that as many as four of the serial killers killed gay men suggest a pattern rather than the outcome of random acts. The four can be equally divided into the two killers (Michael Copeland and Colin Ireland) where there is no evidence that they were gay and the other two killers (Dennis Nilsen and Peter Moore[4]) who were, by all accounts, gay themselves. The similarities in the cases are their exploitation of cultural difference, namely, homosexuality, which emphasises the continuing vulnerability of gay men. In the case of Michael Copeland, and although he denied it in court (The Times, 26 March 1965), there is some evidence that he killed two gay men because they were gay.[5] He was reported, for instance, as telling police officers that in one of the murders he committed in England that he met his victim in a public house and: I knew he was one of them [gay man], and I hated him. It was premeditated as far as he was concerned. I was going to kill him, because he belonged to something I hated most (The Times, 17 March 1965). Similarly, we could find no evidence that Colin Ireland was gay, but he did murder gay men. Indeed, from press reports it seems that Ireland's desire was to be famous following the loss of his job and a second divorce (The Times, 21 December 1993). He decided his route to fame was to be through serial killing and by targeting the particularly vulnerable group of gay men whose culture revolved around sado-masochistic sex. These two serial killers therefore are reflective of the homophobia which pervades Britain, and is a more exaggerated form of the oppression of gay men (and women) which, for example, does not allow 'out' gay people to serve in the armed forces or to become foster parents. In contrast, the crimes of Peter Moore perhaps seem easier to explain. Moore had for about two decades brutalised gay men through violence and sexual assaults (The Guardian, 30 November 1996). The murders were seemingly an extension of his want to dominate and control sexual encounters. In this sense, his actions are akin to those of patriarchal relations entwined in the murder killing of women and children. On the other hand, Dennis Nilsen's murders were not overtly about a wish to dominate, but followed the break-up of a long-term relationship and several unsuccessful attempts to form a new stable relationship (Clark and Morley, 1993: 98-9). However, the break-up of a relationship can also symbolise the lack of anyone to dominate. Nevertheless, he appears to have murdered, because he felt lonely. But it also clear that Nilsen was frustrated by his 'ordinariness', and longed to be 'extraordinary' (ibid,: 83) and in this respect there are resonances with Ireland's desire to be famous. Finally, the remaining vulnerable group who can be the focus of the ravages of serial killing are the elderly who can be perceived as - and often are - frail. Two serial killers - Patrick Mackay and Kenneth Erskine - deliberately chose pensioners as victims. As these offenders seemed to choose pensioners as providing opportunities for theft and the killings may simply have been to mask other crimes, they are sometimes left out of some discussions of serial killing. However, the vulnerability of the victims clearly provides links with other kinds of serial killing we have discussed. The vulnerability of these victims, among others, also demonstrates how serial killing shows the limitations of current societal organisation. Theorising the 'homicidal protest' of modern British serial killing: developing the Leyton thesis We have argued that Leyton's thesis of 'homicidal protest' can be developed through widening the focus of class relations to consider other social relations. The argument needs to be explored further by considering 'revenge' which is a pivot of Leyton's ideas. His main assumption is that revenge in the modern era will be along class lines. We have criticised this assumption. In fact, rather misleadingly he seems to be suggesting that in the modern era people can only have their ambitions frustrated by those above themselves in the social hierarchy. Studies of relative poverty or wealth, though, tell us that people often compare their social position with those 'below' themselves as well as those 'above' themselves (for example, Dean, 1992; Dean and Taylor-Gooby, 1992: 127). Hence, it seems a misplaced assumption that if individuals do feel frustrated they will necessarily wreak revenge on those people of 'higher' social classes. The perceived source of frustration may come from elsewhere. Indeed, it has particularly been emphasised over the past two decades that Britain is under threat from the economic and moral degradation of a so-called 'underclass' - a catchall phrase which has been applied to those who have not conformed to the moral and economic imperatives of the New Victorianism of the New Right (and now New Labour) (Murray, 1990, 1994; for critique see Bagguley and Mann, 1992; Mann, 1994). Moreover, such ideas are not restricted to the 1980s and 1990s. MacNicol (1987), for instance, shows how there has been a concern certainly since the nineteenth century with 'the apparent existence of an economically unproductive residuum of social outcasts' (1987: 296). The label 'underclass' may be relatively new, but dominant concerns with the perceived moral and economic degradation of the unemployed and other marginalised groups are not. The possible link with serial killing begins to emerge when one recognises that the victims of serial killers not only reflect wider social relations, but they may be victimised because they are perceived as living outside the moral order of competitive capitalist society. Indeed, this would bring our analysis of 'modern' British serial killers closer to that of Leyton's 'industrial' serial killer where, as we have seen, he suggests that those perceived not to be conforming to the economic and moral order of industrial capitalism were targeted by serial killers. In other words, many of the victims of British serial killers have been those who are increasingly seen as a socio-economic 'burden' on society: poor women; homeless people; children and young adults with family relationship problems; or they have been people socially marginalised through their sexual orientation (gay men) or age (pensioners). Certainly serial killers and serial killing do seem to provide a message which needs to be recognised. The message emanating from the study of modern British serial killing is that Britain is inadequate in its provision of social and economic protection for the poor and vulnerable. For instance, some of the prostitute victims of Peter Sutcliffe had clearly been forced into prostitution because of their socio-economic circumstances - Wilma Cann, for example, had to bring up four children after her husband left 'on what she could earn on the streets' (Burns, 1984: 106) and Irene Richardson who 'separated from her husband, with her two daughters, aged four and five, fostered out, ... had spent most of the previous ten days wandering about, homeless and penniless, in Chapeltown' (ibid.: 121). Similarly, Frederick and Rosemary West could only continue many of their activities by trading on the desperation of young people. For most of the victims state agencies afforded little protection, and as The Times rightly highlights in the Dennis Neilson case: ...there is a social relevance. Neilson's victims, mainly homosexual and vagrants could have been manufactured for him by a society which provides neither jobs nor cheap accommodation for the growing numbers of young people drifting to the cities. (The Times,5 November 1983) The situation has not changed and, in the name of greater economic competitiveness, the employment prospects for young people have not improved while their entitlements to social security benefits and social housing have been reduced. Conclusions We have argued that it would be both unwise to accept unconditionally the Leyton thesis to help to explain serial killing in a British context and equally unwise to reject the Leyton approach. Indeed, in theorising about serial killing, there currently seems a paucity of explanations which go beyond the individualistic approaches derived from biology, psychology and psychiatry. In this respect, Leyton's work provides an alternative beacon. However, as currently developed, the beacon may mislead rather than guide. Leyton's theorisation is both limited and limiting. The Leyton thesis is limited because it will not explain the British experience of serial killing, even if it does provide insights into the American experience.[6] It is limiting because of the narrow emphasis on class relations and the failure to recognise the possible importance of other kinds of social relations, such as patriarchy. However, while challenging the Leyton analysis which we suggest needs to be expanded, we will end by applauding the approach. The approach brings us closer to understanding the meaning of serial killing at a societal level. John Donne's reminder that 'No man is an Island, entire of it self' (Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1624, 'Meditations XII') also encompasses serial killers. The notion of 'homicidal protest', for example, introduces a social dynamic which must not be neglected. The actions of serial killers, sadly but usefully, identify social breakdowns. We suspect that the British context is different from the American experience on which Leyton bases his analysis. The meaning in the British context seems clear. The engine of patriarchal capitalism is social and economic competition. For those who cannot compete on its terms for whatever reason are cast out and pathologised as the incompetent or lazy. The state legitimises this treatment of those deemed to be marginal to the production process by affording them minimal social and economic protection because it is thought such provision will merely exacerbate their 'idleness' (c.f. Harris, 1988; Murray, 1990, 1994; Lilley, 1993; Marsland, 1994). At this juncture, the inability of individuals to compete on the terms of patriarchal capitalism and a lack of social provision not only has a role in 'creating' serial killers who simply but grotesquely exploit many of the cultural meanings of a society, but the increasing vulnerability of certain groups plays an important role in providing the victims for serial killers. While Elliot Leyton's analysis may not be totally satisfactory, his structural account still provides a beacon which we may neglect at our peril. Table 1. Historical epochs, serial killers and their victims Pre-Industrial (Pre-late century) 19th Industrial (late 19th century - 1945) Modern (Post-WWII) Killer Aristocratic Middle classes (e.g. doctors, teachers) Upper working/lower middle class (e.g. security guards, computer operators) Victim Peasantry 'Lower (e.g. housemaids) Middle (e.g. university students) orders' prostitutes, classes Source: Leyton (1986: 269-95). Table 2. Known serial killers 1960-1995 Name Year tried Occupation Victims No. of victims Michael Copeland 1965 regular soldier youth and 2 gay men 3 1966 stock clerk; short-hand typist children and a young person 3 1975 unemployed gardener elderly women and a priest 3 Ian Brady Myra Hindley Patrick Mackay and Donald Neilson 1976 jobbing builder 3 men shot during post office raids; young woman 4 1978 butler/ unemployed acquaintances employers 5(3) Peter Dinsdale 1981 unemployed 'random' 26 Peter Sutcliffe 1981 lorry driver women 13 Dennis Nilsen 1983 civil servant (executive officer) vagrants and gay men 16 John Duffy 1988 unemployed women and schoolgirl 3 Kenneth Erskine 1988 unemployed pensioners 7 Beverly Allitt 1993 nurse children 4 Colin Ireland 1993 unemployed gay men 5 Robert Black 1994 van driver schoolgirls 3 1995 builder; housewife/parttime prostitute young women family members 1996 cinema owner gay men Archibald Michael Kitto Hall Frederick Rosemary West Peter Moore and and and and Notes to Table 2: The number of victims is shown as the number for which the perpetrators were tried in court. In some cases the perpetrators were thought to have killed more people, although to date they have not been tried for these additional murders. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Lisa Bostock for her helpful and stimulating comments. 10 4 Notes 1. We would exclude here those publications by feminist criminologists which show the social basis of crimes against women violence as being grounded in patriarchal conceptions of power and within the construction of masculinity (e.g. Kelly and Radford, 1987; Cameron and Frazer, 1987). Indeed, such arguments are central to our belief that serial killers are socially constituted, for their victims, on the whole, are women and children. However, while the feminist focus is on violence against women which is both serious and more widespread than usually acknowledged, our concern is with the rarer events of serial killing. [Back to text] 2. Focusing on trials involves excluding likely serial killers. So, for example, the assailant known as Jack the Stripper (also known as the 'Nudes' Murderer) is excluded. In fact, the identity of Jack the Stripper has not been revealed to the public, for the man most suspected of being him committed suicide before arrest (Du Rose, 1971). He is thought to have killed six prostitutes between January 1964 and January 1965. Similarly, only Rosemary West was tried for serial murder as her husband, Frederick West, hanged himself before trial. We have included Myra Hindley (who was only charged with two murders and, thus, technically, as outside our definition) for to dissociate her from Brady (who was charged with three murders) could cause confusion.[Back to text] 3. Leyton does acknowledge that: 'Occasionally... they (serial killers) continue a metaphor from the earlier era and discipline unruly [sic] prostitutes and runaways' (1986: 297), but he goes on: 'Much more commonly... they punish those above them in the system - preying on unambiguously middle-class figures such as university women' (ibid.).[Back to text] 4. There is evidence, in fact, to suggest that one of Moore's victims was not gay.[Back to text] 5. We could find no evidence that the first of Copeland's victims - a 16 year German young man - was gay, although Copeland claimed he was (The Times, 17 March 1965).[Back to text] 6. Our task here is not to test or review the American experience of serial killing. Certainly, though, one of our concerns would be that Leyton seems quite selective in his choice of subjects to discuss in Hunting Humans. In contrast, we have taken all known serial killers in Britain since the early 1960s.[Back to text] References Bagguley, P. and Mann, K. (1992) 'Idle Thieving Bastards? Scholarly Representations of the "Underclass"', Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, 113-26. Bland, L. (1987) 'The Case of the Yorkshire Ripper: Mad, Bad, Beast or Male?, in Scraton, P. and Gordon, P. (eds.), Causes for Concern. British Criminal Justice on Trial?. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Burns, G. (1984) '...Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son.' The Story of Peter Sutcliffe. London: Heinemann. Cameron, D. and Frazer, E. (1987) The Lust to Kill: A Feminist Investigation of Sexual Murder. Cambridge: Polity Press. Canter, D. (1995) Criminal Shadows. Inside the Mind of the Serial Killer. London: Harper Collins. Caputi, J. (1987) The Age of Sex Crime. London: Women's Press. Clark, S. and Morley, M. (1993) Murder in Mind. Mindhunting the Serial Killers. London: Boxtree. Clark, T. and Penycate, J. (1976) Pyschopath. The Case of Patrick Mackay. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Cresswell, D. and Hollin, C. (1994) 'Multiple Murder. A Review', The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 34, No. 1, 114. Dean, H. and Taylor-Gooby, P. (1992) 'Poverty Discourse and the Disempowerment of the Poor', Critical Social Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2, 79-88. Dean, H. (1992) Dependency Culture. The Explosion of a Myth. Hemel Hempstead: Harvetser Wheatsheaf. Durkheim, E. (1952) Suicide. London: Routledge. Du Rose, J. (1971) Murder Was My Business. London: W.H. Allen. Harris, R. (1988) Beyond the Welfare State. An Economic, Political and Moral Critique of Indiscriminate State Welfare, and a Review of Alternatives to Dependency. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. Hawkes, H. (1970) Murder on the A34. London: John Long. Holmes, R. and De Burger, J. (1985) Serial Murder. Newbury Park: Sage. Jenkins, P. (1988) 'Serial Murder in England, 1940-1985,' Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 16, 1-15. Kelly, L. and Radford, J. (1987) 'The Problem of Men: Feminist Perspectives on Sexual Violence', in Scraton, P. and Gordon, P. (eds.), Causes for Concern. British Criminal Justice on Trial?. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Leyton, E. (1986) Hunting Humans. The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. Lilley, P. (1993) 'Benefits and Costs: Securing the Future of Social Security'. Mais Lecture. Lucas, N. and Davis, P.(1979) The Monster Butler. London: Arthur Baker. Mann, K. (1994) 'Watching the Defectives: Observers of the Underclass in the USA, Britain and Australia', Critical Social Policy, issue 41, Autumn, 79-99. Marsland, D. (1994) 'Liberating Welfare', in Bell, M. et al. (1994), The End of the Welfare State. London: Adam Smith Institute. MacNicol, J. (1987) 'In Pursuit of the Underclass', Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 16, No. 3, 293-318. Masters, B. (1986) Killing for Company: the Case of Dennis Nilsen. London: Coronet Books. Murray, C. (1990) The Emerging British Underclass. London: Institute of Economic Affairs Health and Welfare Unit. Murray, C. (1994) Underclass: The Crisis Deepens. London: Institute of Economic Affairs Health and Welfare Unit. Oppenheim, C. and Harker, L. (1996) Poverty: The Facts. London: Child Poverty Action Group. Soothill, K. (1993) 'The Serial Killer Industry', Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, Vol. 4, No. 2, 341-54. Sounes, H. (1995) Fred and Rose. London: Warner Books. Walby, S. (1990) Theorizing Patriarchy. Oxford: Blackwell. About the authors Chris Grover is Honorary Research Fellow, and Keith Soothill is Professor of Social Research, in the Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University Copyright information Copyright this article © Chris Grover and Keith Soothill 1999. Copyright this volume © The British Society of Criminology 1999. Pages of the journal may be downloaded, read, and printed. No material should be altered, reposted, distributed or sold without permission. Further enquiries should be made to the British Society of Criminology.
,-XVW:DQWHGWR.LOOD:RPDQ :K\"7KH5LSSHUDQG0DOH6H[XDOLW\ $XWKRU V :HQG\+ROOZD\ 6RXUFH)HPLQLVW5HYLHZ1R $XWXPQ SS 3XEOLVKHGE\Palgrave Macmillan Journals 6WDEOH85/http://www.jstor.org/stable/1394913 . $FFHVVHG Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=pal. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Palgrave Macmillan Journals is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Feminist Review. http://www.jstor.org ' just wanted to kill a woman' Why? The Ripper and Male Sexuality W6ndy4llHomlw The trial of Peter Sutcliffe, the 'Yorkshire Ripper', was dominated by attempted explanations of his motives. Through an examination of newspaper reports' of the trial, I want to try to uncover the assumptions made about Sutcliffe'ssexuality and its relation to the women who were his victims. I want to show how the discourses - the frameworks within which explanations are sought - have the effect of distorting systematically (though not necessarily intentionally) the understanding of men's masculinity and its expression through their sexuality. Sutcliffe's trial demonstrated men's collaboration with other men in the oppression of women. As the mouthpieces for legal, psychiatric and journalistic discourses, men collaborated in reproducing a view of the world which masks men's violence against women. This position will certainly be objected to on the grounds that Peter Sutcliffe was punished; that the law has done its duty. But women are not safe from men's violence just because one 'Ripper' has been locked up. The trial refused to recognize the way in which Sutcliffe's acts were an expression- ;albeit an extreme one - of the construction of an aggressive masculine sexuality and of women as its objects. This 'cover up' exonerates men in general even when one man is found guilty. It is not necessary to argue that the men whose accounts I cite were doing this consciously or intentionally. The power of a discourse resides in its hegemony, in the way it passes as truth, and in the way its premises and logic are taken for granted. Yet, despite this there were many indications of the explanations for Sutcliffe's actions, pointers which could not be grasped by the men involved. Maybe they were suppressed precisely because: We love the criminal and take a burning interest in him, because the Devil makes us forget the beam in our own eye when observing the mote in our brother's,and in that way outwits us (Observer, May 24, 1981)2 As women were are not blinded by that particular beam. Because of the enormity of Sutcliffe's acts, we should not hesitate in using the trial to point to the potentially horrific consequences of contemporary masculinity. Men deal with the requirements of their gender in diverse ways. Most do behave differently from Sutcliffe and the discourses exemplified here help them to feel far removed from the Ripper. But if similarities were recognized between the construction of Sutcliffe'ssexuality and that of other men, it would be clearer to men that the reproduction of patriarchal FeministReview No9 October 1981 Feminist Review 34 discourses on masculinity not only promotes women's oppression, but is also against their own interests. Because Sutcliffe admitted performing the killings, but entered a plea of guilty of manslaxlghter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, the trial took the relatively unusual form of turning on 'the state of the accused's mind at the time of the killings' (May 1, 1981)3. The way the question was represented to the jury by Sir Michael Havers, QC (prosecuting), was as follows: He had committed crimes which were beyond ordinary comprehension, but 'does it mean he must be mad- or just plain evil, plain bad?' (May 20, 1981 ), Therefore, 'we are really dealing here with motives, reasons, motivations. They are often very difficult to discern', the judge told the jury before they were sent out to consider their verdict (May 21, 1981 ). The jury's job- and consequently the job of the prosecution, defense, expert witnesses and reporters - was therefore to understand the reasons for, and causes of, Sutcliffe's action. Seventeen days later the jury, by a majority of ten to two, came to a verdict of guilty of the murder of thirteen women. (Sutcliffe had already pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of another seven.) It is because of this feature that the trial offers such powerful evidence of the patriarchal discourses on sexuality. They are to be found in Sutcliffe's own testimony, and other lay accounts; in the psychiatric evidence through which his so-called 'paranoid schizophrenia' is explored; through the arguments of prosecution and defense in explaining his actions as bad or mad. Then there is the influential way that the judge presents the issue to the jury. For example, he advised them that if they believed that Sutcliffe was deluded into believing that he had a divine mission to kill prostitutes and that at the time of each killing, that his victim was a prostitute then the correct verdict was probably manslatlghter (May 21, 1981). 'Sadistic murderer his loved job' - . ,* arouse Ii ..,e lihin ...., , a car drrw up aIIl Suttliffe saw it vas thlr loli'e. lie said to ier you're my "l'rctcnd 'God , ...gnt. , But who I I len c. My rcna. lie with her." I ,. pail but said: " I was a hit surprisedl. I expected it to be a bit romantic." want to tell my wife my.telf. It is her I'm thinking about - and my family. I am not encouraged me God taketh life" and "God works in mysterious ways" and odd comments as normal conver"ti,"" tn encourage wipe me oi, '. kill to scum' called people .rt .ed me nromthe outsei . intercourse wilh her. I j wanted to get rid of her." .. and had kept him nilt of trouble. Dr Milne asked him " why he was in custody. , 4 may deserve a rest or he niay liavc chosen snmeone lse. ucB I have ' hearcd G(;o I h. I TheRipper and Male Sexuality 35 These proceedings are only then relayed to us women readers after journalists - again exclusively men - have turned it into a newsworthy story. Men's 'Natural' Sexuality The lay, legal, psychiatric and journalistic discourses all shared an assumption about what is normal masculine sexuality. Mostly this remained implicit, although deducible from the lines of questioning used. However one journalist Piers Paul Read made the assumption explicit, backing it up by 'scientific expertise': 'male sexuality, because of As Anthony Storr says in his bookHumanAggression, the primitive necessity of pursuit and penetration, does contain an important element of aggressiveness; an element which is both recognised and responded to by the female who yields and submits' (Observer May 24, 1981). To the extent that this assumption is never challenged, the patriarchal discourse is reproduced and strengthened by such an event as this trial. To the extent that explanations of Sutcliffe's actions can depend on people's acceptance of this 'truth', sexual violence, a most significant and deep-rooted form of men's oppression of women, goes unchallenged. One effect of the proceedings was to single out the Ripper as an abnormal phenomenon, explicable only by the difference between him and other men, thus reproducing the sexuality and relations of 'normal' men as unproblematic. It has been possible to achieve this with such consensus because of the scale of the murders. In one sense, any man who murders, or attempts to murder, a total of twenty women is different from the norm. The attempts to explain the aberration are therefore geared to accounting for that difference. If he was 'mad' this makes him quantatively different from other men. If he was 'bad' it is more difficult to exonerate others: what made him different?4 Able to provide no satisfactory explanation, the press split off his bad/mad side from the normal man offered to the public in such press comments as 'everyone who knew Sutcliffe thought he would have made an ideal father' (May 23, 1981). Mad? There is one significant difference in the choice of 'mad' rather than 'bad' as an explanation of Sutcliffe's killings. Whereas 'bad' is a label which requires an understanding of the moral, that is social, content of the acts, 'mad' is a label which is used as if it were a self-sufficent explanation: it is a form of diagnosis which avoids considering the content of the acts and thus avoids seeing the link between individual and society. Instead, psychiatry looks to biology for causes. Dr MacCulloch said in his report: 'I suspect there is a link (between the motorcylce crash and his madness) and that there is some organic impairment' (May 19, 1981). However it was Sutcliffe's representation of the 'divine mission' which psychiatrists relied on for an explanation. Mr Chadwin (for the defense) told the jury that 'he had to persuade them that Sutcliffe had, at the time of the killings, believed he had been receiving instructions (May 20, 1981). This would count as evidence that he was deluded, and be a major contributor to a diagnosis of'paranoid schizophrenia.5 Noone seemed to point out what to me was the obvious loophole in the psychiatric argument: the explanation that it was a delusion does not show why the voice told Sutcliffe to kill women. Whether it was God's voice, the Devil's, or the projected voice of Sutcliffe's own hatred makes no difference: the content derives from a generalized, taken-for-granted mysogyny. The psychiatric discourse was one means whereby the legal process could avoid asking uncomfortable FeministReview 36 He has bodies of jeweller been known to tr suade some of his step into the loca and look at dead f had even once coffin, taken the the remains and group of gramr girls as a joke. The Peter Sutc begins in June, parents, John and were living in a I raced cottages: I Heaton Royd, Bingley. The cottag there, hemmed in ened stone house! out across the Gilsl where Peter spen, hli childhood. Johl was a journeyman those days. His wife was a warm, hapr On June 2, 1946. born and christer William. The Sutcl delighted. Kathleen son all the love anc she possibly ccu] tually the Sutcliff house, out of the cottage on to the council house est family, which grey first Peter, thei Michael, Maureen, J Carl, moved into shown himself to be a likeable jovial, individual, capable of showing great kindness... A concerned with old and values customs, shows for man who one concern the unfortunate the Road, on the Gilstt and elderly by MalcolmPithers THE rQIESPTON t,.l; used had an affair with a police- man and this is said to have , . eausead a good dte?a1 caused ain oodthedafl who i
The British Criminology Conferences: Selected Proceedings. Volume 2. Papers from the British Criminology Conference, Queens University, Belfast, 15-19 July 1997. This volume published March 1999. Editor: Mike Brogden. ISSN 1464-4088. See end of file for copyright and other information. BRITISH SERIAL KILLING: TOWARDS A STRUCTURAL EXPLANATION Chris Grover and Keith Soothill Leyton (1986) argues that in order to understand the phenomenon of serial killing factors beyond the psychological tradition need to be analysed. His structural account using evidence of American serial killing and focusing on socio-economic factors provides a powerful contribution to a neglected area. How applicable, though, is Leyton's thesis of 'homicidal protest' to the British experience of serial killing? In focusing on known British serial killers since the 1960s, our results suggest that Leyton's work cannot be wholly applied to the modern British experience. While finding Leyton's analysis both limited and limiting, we support the general approach. However, we argue that the focus should be widened to include other social relations, such as patriarchy. Introduction Popular, academic and control agency interest in serial killing has mushroomed over the last decade. Serial killing has become big business, with various state and private interests having vested reasons for keeping serial killing in the news. Soothill (1993), for example, argues that serial killing as an industry has important implications for the revenue of business interests as diverse as film making and publishing through to those corporations involved in the development of police computer hard and software. Whilst such interests exist, often blurring the boundaries between fictional (or 'factional') representations and the reality of serial killing, there are real concerns about the detection and capture of serial killers. In the USA, for example, Caputi (1987: 1-2) quotes FBI statistics to show how serial murders had increased dramatically over two decades, 'there were 644 such murders in 1966 and an estimated 4,118 in 1982, comprising nearly eighteen per cent of all murders that year'. In the United Kingdom the figures highlight a different type of problem. The recent media interest in serial killing is seriously disproportionate to the scale of the problem. Nevertheless, we should not underrate the very real concerns that a spate of serial killing sets off in a community. Indeed, our task is not to deny the importance of the concern, but to challenge the nature of much of the focus. In brief, some questions are being highlighted while perhaps even more important questions are being neglected. A fundamental distinction is between individual and structural approaches. Certainly the developments in recent years of attempts to 'combat' such offences - psychological profiling, DNA testing and offender databases - are necessarily linked to the offender as individual, with the primary focus in trying to develop psychological profiles through offender profiling or biological profiles through DNA testing. In essence, these reflect laudable attempts to improve detection. The focus of detection is upon the individual. However, a problem emerges when the discourse of detection subtly shifts to become the discourse of causation with the suggestion that serial killing is the result of factors located within an individual, whereby a psychological, psychiatric, or biological predisposition to murder is sought. While seeking an explanation within such frameworks is perfectly proper, arguments that the genesis of crime might be more fully explained by considering wider social structures tends to be excluded. The present 'crime' in terms of explanation is not one of commission - everyone is entitled to proffer an explanation - but one of omission - some explanatory frameworks are rarely exposed. We argue that the dominant individualistic discourse fails to meet the challenge of causation satisfactorily and there is a need to consider explanatory frameworks which are more ambitious in their scope. Certainly the main result of the psychologising and medicalising of the causes of crime is that the historical and cultural specificity of crime is ignored. These are ignored at our peril. Without a focus upon wider social factors in causing offender behaviour, any understanding of crime cannot be complete. Current limitations of analysis It is curious that recent sociology which concerns itself with the social origins of crime tends to ignore more serious, albeit more rare, crimes of violence against the person.[1] Acts which tend to be portrayed as individual manifestations of evil would not have deterred one of the founders of sociology, Emile Durkheim, from confronting an analysis. Indeed, his very choice of focusing on suicide as a demonstration of the importance of social analysis was because suicide was regarded as a very personal and individualistic act (Durkheim, 1952). The second concern is that - with the demise of most avowedly Marxist approaches (whether intellectually justified or not) - the alternative (which now seems a consensus among the main political parties) provides little scope for fundamental change. It is our contention that the mere tweaking of the socio-economic system is not enough to overcome all variants of crime. We need to consider whether it is the very nature of society which 'creates' those people we have come to know as 'serial killers'. An exception to the limitations of much recent sociological analysis is the work of Elliot Leyton who usually describes himself as a social anthropologist. In brief, his work (Leyton, 1986) on multiple murder provides the opportunity to appreciate that serial killers may be socially constituted. Leyton's work on the U.S.A. experience suggests the acts of serial killers are not simply the result of a deranged or dangerous personality, but, more importantly, may be the consequence of a socio-economic system which cannot by its rabidly competitive dynamic reward the efforts of all, and may dangerously marginalise certain people. Defining serial killing Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in any study of serial killers is actually defining what it means. First, there has to be a number of murders, and second there has to be a period of time between murders. Such factors may seem simplistic, but confusions soon become evident. Egger (1984) suggests a six point identification of the serial killer: there must be at least two victims; there is no relationship between perpetrator and victim; the murders are committed at different times and have no direct connection to previous or following murders; the murders occur at different locations; the murders are not committed for material gain; subsequent victims have characteristics in common with earlier victims (quoted in Creswell and Hollin, 1994: 3). Most of the components of this stipulative definition could perhaps be challenged. So, for example, to assert that 'there is no relationship between perpetrator and victim' is a stringent condition and would certainly exclude some perpetrators, such as Dennis Nilsen and Frederick and Rosemary West, whom most would regard as serial killers. In fact, what constitutes a 'relationship' is problematic and it seems Egger is too restrictive in his conceptualisation of 'relationships'. Indeed, we later suggest that serial killing can usefully be conceptualised as a relationship in the broadest sense of being grounded in patriarchy and capitalist relations. The assertion that murders have to take place in different locations to be classified as serial killing again is unnecessarily restrictive. It seems curious to disqualify a killer who lures or forces his/her victims to a specific location to be killed from being labelled as a serial killer. Frederick and Rosemary West, who killed at least nine young women (non-familial victims), will retain the label of serial killers despite committing the known offences at the same address in Gloucester (Sounes, 1995). Nevertheless, our reservations about the definitional efforts of Egger should not mask the point that his work does begin to provide some clues as to how one might consider serial killing as a distinctive sub-set of 'multiple murder'. No one has (or is) likely to accomplish a completely satisfactory definition for all purposes (Jenkins, 1988: 2) and we hastily acknowledge that the operational definition we use later to identify the boundaries of our cohort of British serial killers owes a debt to Egger! We have operationalised the following definition of serial killing for the purposes of this paper. We have followed Colin Wilson's contention (personal communication, 1997) that there should be at least three victims. This could, of course, be criticised for not including attempted murder, and indeed, the infamous case of Graham Young, who killed two people by poisoning while several other people he poisoned survived, only missed inclusion because of the survival of his victims rather than any lack of intention on his part. However, that happens to any potential serial killer who is stopped in his tracks in some way. We have also excluded those cases where there is a suggestion that the perpetrator killed more than three people, but they have been charged with less than three murders. So, for example, Hawkes (1970) implies that Raymond Morris may have committed the murder of four young girls in the Midlands in the 1960s. However, he was only charged with the murder of one. As Hawkes notes, his guilt in the other cases remains mere supposition. To be included in our analysis there must have been a period of time (days, weeks or years) between each murder, and following Jenkins (1988) we have excluded those with an '... explicitly political motive, such as the 'Balcombe Street' IRA group responsible for at least nine deaths in 1974-75' (1988: 3) and 'professional' killers, such as contract killers. In contrast to Jenkins, however, we have included those who have killed to hide (or even finance) other crimes such as theft but who have not - as far as we are aware - been part of a wider movement or business relationship. Definitions are a pre-requisite of typologies which may provide a further set of meaningful categories. Holmes and De Burger (1985: 56-9) provide an interesting example of a typology relating to serial killing in suggesting that the killers divide into four groups. The first group they identify are visionary serial killers, represented by those killers who have hallucinations or who are delusional. Secondly, missionary serial killers are defined as those who have decided to rid society of a certain group of people. The third group of serial killers they observe are those seeking power and control, and are motivated by a desire to have complete control over the victim. Finally, hedonistic serial killers are said to be divisible into several sub-groups, such as 'lust-murderers' who are said to commit multiple murder because they gain sexual enjoyment from doing so; 'thrill-orientated' serial killers who are said to murder not for sexual satisfaction, but for the excitement of the act; and the third sub-group 'comfort-orientated' serial killers - who are said to kill because they gain instrumental security from the accumulation of victims' property, or insurance payouts. Whilst such broad classifications of serial killers may be useful in certain environs, such as the detection process, their usage in the sociological understanding of serial killing is limited. However, even on their own terms, this type of approach may have its own problems. So, for example, Cresswell and Hollin (1994) note how the groups posited by Holmes and De Burger are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, a serial killer may commence his activities for one reason, but may further murder for different reasons. They offer the example of Dennis Nilsen who killed, in the middle of his sequence of murders, a man just because he was annoying him; previously he had murdered for idiosyncratic reasons (1994: 5). More importantly, though, from our perspective is the fact that these classifications of serial killers concentrate upon individual motives. Serial killers are said to be driven by 'lust' or 'thrill', or they are hallucinatory. Whilst such responses may be given by the killers as the immediate justification for their actions, one needs to look beyond the motives of individuals if one's explanatory framework encompasses the notion that actions - social and antisocial - are structured by wider socio-economic relationships. However, first, a brief recapitulation on the medico-psychological tradition within which most explanations have been trapped. The medico-psychological tradition The primary emphasis of those working in the medico-psychological tradition is upon explaining the actions of the individual within the context of his - the vast majority of known violent offenders are male - psyche. The basic assumption is essentially that individual actors are driven to extreme behaviour because of a single or a coalescence of several psychological 'abnormalities'. The recent growth of interest in the psychological approach has been evident in the development of sex offender treatment programmes in prisons. Indeed, psychologists rather than psychiatrists have become more dominant in recent treatment programmes and their advance is a lesson in professional imperialism. However, the approach of the two disciplines in focusing upon the individual is identical for our purposes. Nevertheless, the shift of emphasis is of interest. Psychiatrists have historically been struggling with a paradox. Their explanations for deviance are couched in terms of psychiatric abnormality, but few offenders are so psychiatrically disturbed as to be termed mentally ill. Within the criminal justice system the exceptions who are defined as 'mad' are indeed the most exceptional cases. Forensic psychiatrists have tended to limit their treatment interests to these latter cases and, despite fears in the early 1970s of psychiatric imperialism, forensic psychiatrists have been fairly reluctant to work beyond a fairly narrow base and have not attempted to make a major impact on the general run of offenders. In fact, in recent years, leading forensic psychiatrists - certainly aware of the critiques of the medical model in the late 1960s and early 1970s - have been comparatively modest in their aims and claims. Interestingly, the increasing concern about the failure of the criminal justice system to confront the problem of some serious offenders, particularly sexual offenders, who have been defined as 'bad' rather than 'mad', has been a challenge which has been embraced by psychologists. Certainly there has been a change within the psychological approach over the past thirty years. Contemporary psychologists are willing to recognise the importance of the social context much more readily than formerly. Indeed, psychological profiling with some of its origins in environmental criminology makes much play on how a person might operate within a particular social environment. However, David Canter, perhaps the most sophisticated of recent exponents of the psychological approach, pertinently sub-titles his best-selling book, Criminal Shadows, as Inside the Mind of the Serial Killer (Canter, 1995). Hence, whether seeking offenders with the use of psychological profiling or treating offenders with behaviour modification programmes or its variants, we contend that the thrust remains essentially the same and the current emphasis has focused on explaining the actions of the individual within the context of his psyche. The social has been identified in the background but the foreground is almost exclusively occupied by the individual. Our aim is to reverse this patterning. We contend that, by foregrounding the social, many more individuals begin to occupy the background. By highlighting the wider structural factors, we can begin to understand why some historical periods have more violence than others. So, for example, there seems no trace of a serial killer in Britain in the 1930s and yet in the inter-war period Germany had at least a dozen cases (Jenkins, 1988). Our main interest is in the period since the 1960s when there has certainly been evidence of some serial killers in Britain. The seeds of structural killing Hunting Humans: the rise of the modern multiple murderer Hunting Humans (Leyton, 1986) is a seminal work on the sociology of multiple murder by the Canadian anthropologist, Elliot Leyton. Whilst Leyton's focus is upon multiple murderers rather than just serial killers, the crux of his thesis, that psychological explanations alone are unable to explain the phenomenon of multiple killing, has important applications in the study of serial killing. For Leyton multiple murder is not the province of the mentally disturbed. He argues that one has to look beyond the individual to the society, and in particular the social structures in which he/she lives if one is to explain more fully multiple killing. To develop his thesis he identifies three broad historical periods, and argues that in these three periods the social genesis of multiple killers and their victims are socially specific. Table 1 summarises his historical configurations, and shows the broad socio-economic background of the serial killers and their victims. Table 1 suggests that there have been significant changes in the socioeconomic background of killers and their victims between the historical epochs. In broad terms, the socio-economic background of the serial killer has 'fallen' from that of aristocracy in the pre-industrial period to upper-working class/lower middle class in the modern era. The socio-economic background of the victims has, again broadly speaking, 'risen' from being peasantry in the pre-industrial period through the 'lower orders' in the industrial period, to that of the middle classes in the modern era. Why, though, are there differences between historical epochs? Leyton explains the changes through the concept of 'homicidal protest'. Through this concept he suggests that in each of his historical periodisations the configuration of the social structure is such that some persons when faced with challenges to their position in the social hierarchy react to those challenges through the 'protest' of killing members of the threatening group. Homicidal protest can take differing forms. In order to show these differences we need to briefly discuss the three periods which Leyton outlines. Pre-industrial Table 1 demonstrates that the pre-industrial multiple murderer was likely to be a member of the aristocracy, preying on peasants as victims. Leyton gives some lengthy detail, for example, on the fifteenth century French Baron Gilles de Rais, who '... murdered somewhere between 141 and 800 (peasant) children, mostly boys' (Leyton, 1986: 270). Leyton locates the explanation of why serial killers tended to be from aristocratic backgrounds and their victims peasants in the structural crisis of the fifteenth century. He argues that the fifteenth century was a period when the ordered feudal society of overlords and peasants was increasingly being challenged by peasants on the one hand, and merchants on the other hand. The fifteenth century is posited as a period '...in which the established order strove to re-assert itself, often through the savage repression of political and religious peasant rebellions' (ibid.: 273). For Leyton the serial killing of the Baron Gilles de Rais was a symbolic reflection of the threatened status of the nobility, and '...was a personalized expression of the sweeping repressive thrust of his class, and a sexual metaphor in which he tested and enforced his terrible powers' (ibid.). Of course, the evidence of murderous activity, especially multiple murder, in the pre-industrial era is comparatively meagre and tales of aristocratic slayings are always more likely to survive than those of any other class. Nevertheless, Leyton finds a notable case on which to begin to build his edifice. Industrial In the industrial era the identity of the multiple murderer and his victims was somewhat different. Leyton suggests that the industrial revolution and the related changes in social and economic relations was the driving force behind these changes in the socio-economic identity of serial killers. In fact, he argues that the industrial era was one '... in which middle class functionaries - doctors, teachers, professors, civil servants, who belonged to the class created to serve the needs of the new triumphant bourgeoisie - preyed on members of the lower orders, especially prostitutes and housemaids' (ibid.: 276). Although the multiple murderer had a different social background in the industrial era, there are resonances of the motives of the pre-industrial serial killer, for whilst the middle classes may not have felt materially threatened by the 'lower orders', Leyton suggests that their crimes were a symbolic extension of the need for industrial discipline. In other words, serial killers were taking to their most heinous conclusion the unprecedented control demanded by the cash-nexus of industrial capitalism. Serial killers removed those who lived outside the new moral order, which demanded the maximum extraction of value from the industrial proletariat: 'In killing the failures and the unruly renegades from the system ... they acted as enforcers of the new moral order' (ibid.: 276). The resonances of social control in a period of rapid changes, therefore, gives a degree of continuity to the motivations of serial killers, even if the socioeconomic status of serial killers and their victims had changed. Modern Although Table 1 shows the modern era as being post-World War II Leyton more specifically classifies the modern period as being from the 1960s, for it is since then that there has been a significant increase in the recorded incidence of serial killing and serial killers (ibid.: 286). By the time we reach what Leyton conceptualises as the 'modern era', important changes had occurred. In fact, the power relationship of killer to victim had been reversed, for whilst the perpetrators in the modern era are increasingly drawn from the upper working and lower working classes, he argues that victims were increasingly from the middle classes (ibid.: 287). The form of 'homicidal protest' had changed, for no longer were powerful interests controlling the less powerful, but those increasingly excluded from desired socio-economic goals were wreaking their revenge upon those whom they saw as frustrating their ambitions, and therefore, being responsible for their exclusion. Through analysing the historical specificities of multiple murder, Leyton constructs a useful framework for the analysis of serial killing. In brief, his analysis locates multiple murder in historically located social structures and relationships. It offers, therefore, an explanation of multiple murder which challenges those explanations which psychologise or medicalise the actions of multiple murderers. However, Leyton's thesis is not unproblematic. Historical periodisations are always difficult, and Leyton's chronology identifies three distinctive periods that could be criticised, on the one hand, for being too broad in their time spans, and, on the other hand, being too rigid at their boundaries. Leyton, for example, does give the impression that the periods are strictly definable while, paradoxically, locating multiple murder within an analysis which essentially focuses upon social change. In other words, a focus of change needs a recognition that change is likely to be more gradual than the highly definable shifts which Leyton's analysis seems to imply. These problems arguably reflect Leyton's own somewhat confusing focus. In the main chapters of the book, his focus is on American multiple murderers - four serial killers and two mass murderers. In the concluding chapter of the book - where he develops his sociostructural account of multiple killing - he dramatically switches from the specific focus of his earlier chapters to a more generic focus on world-wide multiple murder. It is this leap from the nation-specific focus of the USA to a wider, international focus which perhaps contextualises the main critique of the detail of Leyton's thesis. Certainly there is scope for exploring the Leyton thesis in another location. The British experience of serial killings since the 1960s provides such a location. Modern British serial killers Since 1960 - and following our definition of serial murder - there is evidence of 15 trials involving 17 serial murderers.[2] In the following outlines we have highlighted some of the main details about these serial killers and their victims as the background to an evaluation of whether Leyton's thesis can be applied to the British experience of post-1960s serial killing. The material is summarised in Table 2 which focuses on the name of the defendant(s), the year of the trial, the occupation at the time of the main events, and the kind and number of victims. While we are seeking patterns, heterogeneity is also evident as these short 'penportraits' vividly reveal. Michael Copeland (tried 1965) Copeland, 'a former regular soldier' (The Times, 17 March 1965) committed his first murder when on active service in Germany with the British army. His first victim was a 16 year male murdered near the barracks he was stationed at. His other two victims were gay men killed in Derbyshire. It was unclear in court why Copeland had murdered (he denied the charges). There was some suggestion that he killed his last two victims because they were gay (The Times, 17 March 1965), although he denied this in court (The Times, 26 March 1965). Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (tried 1966) Ian Brady was employed as a stock clerk when he committed, with Myra Hindley (employed at the same chemical company as a short-hand typist), five murders. Their victims were a young man of 17, a 12-year-old boy and a girl aged 10. According to the judge the issue of culpability was clear. He told the jury: 'From first to last in this case there has not been the smallest suggestion that either of these two are mentally abnormal or not fully and completely responsible for their actions' (The Times, 6 May 1966). Patrick Mackay (tried 1975) Mackay was an 'unemployed gardener' (Clark and Penycate, 1976, p. 4) when tried for three murders (two other murders were left on file and it is thought he may have committed up to a further six). He was charged with the murder of two wealthy elderly women (aged 84 and 89) and a Roman Catholic priest. He was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He had previously been diagnosed as a psychopath, although in court the judge suggested that '...the medical evidence made it clear that Mr Mackay was not insane, because he knew what he was doing, and he knew that it was wrong' (The Times, 22 November 1975). Donald Neilson (also known as the Black Panther, tried 1976) When Neilson committed four murders he was '...mainly engaged in small jobbing work and house conversions' (The Times, 22 July 1976). His victims were two sub postmasters and the husband of a sub-postmistress (all were shot during robberies) and a 17 year-old woman who died whilst being held for ransom by Neilson. Archibald Hall and Michael Kitto (tried 1978) Hall (who was also an accomplished confidence trickster) was employed as butler when charged with five murders (Lucas and Davis, 1979). His victims were acquaintances (a gardener and a houskeeper), his employers (a wealthy former Labour MP and his wife) and his younger brother. He was jointly charged with Michael Kitto - a criminal friend - on three (the housemaid, Hall's brother and Hall's female employer). The murders were executed in order to hide the crimes (mainly burglary and robbery) of Hall and Kitto. Peter Dinsdale (also known as Bruce Lee, tried 1981) Dinsdale admitted the manslaughter of 26 people, aged 6 to 95 years, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The arson attacks through which he killed his victims were said to be 'motiveless' and 'random', although in four charges of arson (in total he faced ten counts) he was said to have been motivated by a grudge against his victims, albeit 'trivial in nature' (The Times, 21 January 1981). He was detained 'in a special hospital without limit of time' (ibid.). Peter Sutcliffe (tried 1981) Sutcliffe was a lorry driver when arrested. He was charged with 13 counts of murder. In court, it was alleged that Sutcliffe murdered because he was on a mission, allegedly directed by God through voices he heard, to kill prostitutes. The fact that six of his victims were not prostitutes rather undermines such arguments, and the court case was posited around a female-blaming discourse (blaming the victims, his mother and his wife) to prove whether he was a 'lunatic or liar' (Bland, 1987). Dennis Nilsen (1983) On arrest Nilsen was working as an Executive Officer in a London jobcentre. He had previously been in the army and the police force (Masters, 1986). He murdered a total of 16 'vagrants and gay men' (The Times, 5 November 1983) '...for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he couldn't bare [sic] the thought of them leaving' (Clark and Morley, 1993, p. 80). John Duffy (tried 1988) Duffy was unemployed when he killed three women after raping them. His three victims were a schoolgirl and two secretaries. He had committed a series of other rapes before he began to murder. Indeed, it is argued that he began to murder the women he attacked after seeing a survivor of one of his rapes whilst appearing at court on charges on assaulting his wife (Canter, 1995, p. 67). Kenneth Erskine (tried 1988) Erskine was 'unemployed and of no fixed address' (The Times, 29 January 1988) when arrested and charged with the murder of seven pensioners. It has been argued that he murdered because he longed for fame and killed pensioners because they 'weren't a physical or sexual threat to him' (Clark and Morley, 1993, p. 35). Beverly Allitt (tried 1993) Allitt was employed as a nurse when she murdered four children - aged seven and nine weeks, 15 months and 11 years - on the ward on which she worked. In court it was argued that she suffered from the 'personality disorder' Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (The Times, 18 May 1993), through which the sufferer thrives 'on the attention the child's supposed illness attracts' (ibid.). Colin Ireland (tried 1993) When arrested Ireland was '...an unemployed drifter (who) wanted to make his mark in life' (The Times, 21 December 1993). He murdered the 'vulnerable group of homosexual men who indulged in sado-masochistic sex' (ibid.). His five victims included a theatre director, a librarian, an American businessman and a warden of sheltered housing. Robert Black (tried 1994) Black was a van driver, whose work took him to various parts of the United Kingdom. He was found guilty of the murders of three girls aged 11, 5 and 10 years between the years 1982 and 1986. One police officer reportedly theorised his crimes as such: 'He was not a psychopath, he did not kidnap to kill. But once he had slaked his sexual desires it was obvious he had to dispose of his victim' (The Times 20 May 1994). Frederick West (hanged himself before trial) and Rosemary West (tried 1995) Frederick West was employed in 'odd manual jobs' (Sounes, 1995, p. 31). Rosemary West was his wife and a part-time prostitute. Frederick West was facing 12 charges of murder before hanging himself, while Rosemary was found guilty of 10 charges. All the victims were female - family members and young women - who latterly were in the care of local authorities or foster-families, or who were living at the West's home after leaving their familial residences. Moore was the entrepreneurial owner of a string of cinemas in North Wales. His victims - four males - were a 'security manager'; a 'retired railway worker', 'a crematorium worker' and 'a drug addict and drunk' (The Guardian, 12 November 1996) killed over a three month period in 1995. Insanity was not an issue in the case. Alex Carlisle, QC for the prosecution, for example, was reported as saying: 'There is no question of insanity. There is no question of diminished responsibility.' (The Times, 12 November 1996). Perpetrators and victims of serial killing: the British experience We have seen how Leyton suggests that, in his 'modern' era (post 1960), serial killers were drawn from the upper working class and lower middle class, and that victims were predominantly from the middle classes. Considering the Leyton framework, it becomes evident that paradoxically the experience of Britain since the 1960s both supports and refutes his claims concerning the perpetrators and victims of serial killing. In support, the argument that serial killers are not drawn from the 'truly oppressed' is, on the whole, borne out. If, for example, persons from minority ethnic and females are representatives of the 'truly oppressed', they are rarely serial killers. There was no evidence of a serial killer being from a minority ethnic group. In terms of gender, we have found evidence of only one female British serial killer (Beverly Allitt) tried since the 1960s who killed alone, although two - Myra Hindley and Rosemary West - were co-accused with their male partners. Beyond this, however, the 15 male perpetrators of serial murder (including Frederick West) seem to fall into two distinct groupings in terms of employment status. Firstly, there is a group of nine male serial killers who were gainfully employed either in bluecollar occupations (namely, Michael Copeland, Donald Neilson, Archibald Hall, Peter Sutcliffe, Robert Black, and Frederick West) or in white-collar occupations (namely, Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen, and Peter Moore). In contrast, a minority - six male serial killers (namely, Peter Mackay, Michael Kitto, John Duffy, Kenneth Erskine, Colin Ireland, and Peter Dinsdale) were almost certainly unemployed at the time of the offences. So how does one evaluate this evidence relating to the employment status of British serial killers? Certainly an enthusiast of Leyton's position would stress how 60 per cent of the male killers were gainfully employed, and most would probably be identified at the time as being from the lower middle class or from the supposedly 'respectable' working class. Hence, these seem broadly supportive of Leyton's thesis. However, a sceptic would point to the fact that 40 per cent of the known male killers were almost certainly unemployed and some were very much living on the margins. These exceptions seem to challenge the Leyton thesis - or do they? Exceptions, in fact, probe the rules and one needs to remember that Leyton is pointing to class position and not employment status. That employment status is often used to measure class position does not mean that they necessarily coincide. Aristocrats may be unemployed and maintain their class position. In fact, Leyton is talking of the fragility of class position. Considering Leyton's focus is upon the fragility of class position it should be of little surprise that the unemployed feature among the ranks of serial killers. There can be no demonstration of such a fragile relation to capitalist production as stark as unemployment. Ambition and aspirations can be frustrated as much by a fall from the socio-economic 'ladder' (as in the case of unemployment and reliance upon low state benefits) as it can be by an inability to climb the 'ladder'. So, for example, in their study of benefit (albeit not all were unemployed) recipients in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Bradshaw and Holmes (1989) conclude that: They (benefit recipients) are just the same people as the rest of our population, with the same culture and aspirations but with simply too little money to be able to share in the activities and possessions of everyday life with the rest of the population (quoted in Oppenheim and Harker, 1996: 18). Aspirations and ambitions can be destroyed through unemployment. The relatively high proportion of unemployed men among British serial killers, therefore, is congruent with Leyton's thesis, as unemployment can be seen as a more extreme form of frustrating ambition. Leyton's thesis, however, becomes more problematic when the victims of British serial killers are considered. The crux of the Leyton's thesis relates to his notion of killing as a form of 'homicidal protest' by frustrated members of the upper working and lower middle classes who tend to kill victims from the middle classes.[3] The British experience certainly does not confirm the latter aspect of the Leyton thesis. It is quite evident from Table 2 that the victims of modern British serial killers are not from the relatively powerful middle classes, but are from relatively powerless and vulnerable groups - children and young adults; gay men; women (particularly those vulnerable through their work in the sex industry or on account of the breakdown of familial relations); and pensioners. In fact, the general absence of persons from relatively powerful positions is especially noticeable. Evaluating homicidal protest: the British experience While the relations of capitalism (class) are central to Leyton's conception of 'homicidal protest', the clinching evidence seems to be lacking in the British context. So where does this leave Leyton's conception of homicidal protest? Do we dismiss it in the light of the British evidence? Or, perhaps more constructively, can we begin to modify the Leyton approach to accommodate the British experience? The answer to such conundrums seems complex, but the analysis is instructive. One perhaps needs to recognise that if class relations are to be regarded as the defining criteria of homicidal protest (i.e. upper working/lower middle class people wreaking revenge on the middle classes who are seen as frustrating their ambitions), then it is quite evident that this variant of 'homicidal protest' lacks usefulness in helping to explain the British experience of modern serial killing. In fact, in many respects the recent British experience seems to have more of the resonances of how Leyton describes the 'industrial' era. Perhaps Britain has not yet reached the 'modern' era which seems to encapsulate the United States. On the other hand, perhaps there is an unnecessary narrowness in defining protest simply in class terms. Hence, if the focus of social relations is widened to those beyond class relations to include other social relations, such as patriarchy, then we suggest it is possible that 'homicidal protest' still has some conceptual value in the British context. Widening the analysis in this way provides scope for being able to classify a greater variety of serial killers. Certainly it can be argued that several British serial killers did have materially frustrated ambitions and/or were marginalised through unemployment. The latter group include John Duffy, the unemployed former British Rail carpenter, Kenneth Erskine who was 'unemployed and of no fixed address' (The Times, 29 January 1988), and Colin Ireland, described as an 'unemployed drifter' (The Times, 21 December 1993). Among those employed, frustrations are sometimes apparent. So, for example, it is said that Ian Brady, at an early age, had '...acquired a consuming resentment of what he perceived as other people's wealth of good fortune. He had nurtured this over the years...' (Clark and Morley, 1993: 117). Similarly, Donald Neilson was described as being 'mainly engaged in small jobbing work and house conversions, but the returns were smaller than his ambitions' (The Times, 22 July 1976, emphasis added), while it has been reported that Frederick West had, as early as the 1960s, become 'frustrated by low pay' (Sounes, 1995: 103). Second, there is a broad group of serial killers who could easily be described as 'socially' frustrated, perhaps manifesting itself as social isolation. So it has been said that Dennis Nilsen murdered '...for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he could not bear the thought of [his victims] leaving' (Clark and Morley, 1993: 80). Similarly, Robert Black was reported to be a 'loner' who was '...abandoned by his mother as a baby, ridiculed by his school mates and despised by many of those with whom he worked' (The Times, 20 May 1994). Certainly there is evidence, therefore, that among some British serial killers a degree of socioeconomic frustration existed. However, it would be both bold and inappropriate to identify socio-economic frustration as either a necessary or sufficient condition for serial killing. Equally, it would perhaps be both bold and inappropriate to deny that such factors may sometimes be relevant, but they clearly do not represent the full story. The problems are equally evident when one considers the victims of serial killers. Broadly speaking, the victims of British serial killers do not belong to the middle classes in the way Leyton's thesis would predict. While, again, some of the victims of British serial killers have been middle class - for instance, Frederick and Rosemary West killed two university undergraduates and Colin Ireland's victims included a theatre director and an American businessman - there is little evidence that these victims were chosen because they were middle class. So, for example, Colin Ireland was reported as focusing on the 'vulnerable group of homosexual men who indulged in sado-masochistic sex' (The Times, 21 December 1993, emphasis added), while Frederick West seemed to be targeting a local authority social service home in order to find victims (Sounes, 1995: 163). In failing to consider social relations other than those of capitalism (class), Leyton cannot easily explain why the victims of British serial killers tend to be females, children and young people, gay men and pensioners. To explain these kind of victims of serial killers we need to locate serial murder within power relations which go beyond those of class, recognising that social power is not limited to those relations reflecting capitalism. In this sense, 'homicidal protest' becomes understandable as a form of revenge, but a revenge that is wreaked upon relatively powerless groups in society. This brings us to a fairly familiar argument. Feminist commentators have for many years rejected arguments that violence against women and children is merely an extension of class-based power relations (Cameron and Frazer, 1987: 117; Kelly and Radford, 1987: 240; Walby, 1990: 132). Indeed, it needs to be recognised that Britain is both a capitalist and a patriarchal society. Violence against women and children, therefore, is seen as being reflective of patriarchal relations through which 'men maintain power over women and children' (Kelly and Radford, 1987: 238). Recognising patriarchal relations, it becomes clearer as to why serial killers often murder women and children. It is an expression of power through which men are able to dominate and oppress women and children. The construction of masculinity is central to this. In the case of Peter Sutcliffe, for example, Lucy Bland (1987) argues that he was able to carry out his murderous attacks for so long because of his male 'normalness'. In other words, Sutcliffe was reflective of 'a normal male culture of drinking, prostitution and violence' (1987: 206-207). Indeed, violence against women was a central feature of the environs in which he circulated. So, for instance, when Sutcliffe attacked Olive Smelt, he was out with a friend, Trevor Birdsall, whom Sutcliffe left in his car whilst he executed the attack. However: Next day, reading about the apparently motiveless attack on Olive Smelt in his local paper ... Birdsall had little doubt that it was the same woman. But misplaced loyalty prevented him from doing anything about it. Violence aimed at women was, in any case, a commonplace in the circles in which he moved ... Violence could, and regularly did, flare up in a matter of seconds ... and women - prostitutes who had 'crossed' their pimps, girlfriends turning up late, wives 'caught' looking at another man - were not infrequently on the receiving end (Burns, 1984: 105; also Bland, 1987: 207). Moreover, on the murder of Helen Rytka, Sutcliffe has said that: 'I had the urge to kill any woman. The urge inside me to kill girls was now practically uncontrollable' (ibid.: 241). It seems clear then that certainly Sutcliffe's choice of victim was reflective of the 'wider context... of widespread misogyny and a culture which encourages and supports a male sexuality based upon violence and aggression towards women' (Bland, 1987: 208). Sutcliffe's systematic murder of women was inextricably bound in the patriarchal nature of society, through which men are able to maintain their position of relative power and authority through various strategies which includes violence against women (Walby, 1990). A similar analysis can be developed to explain the murder of gay men. The fact that as many as four of the serial killers killed gay men suggest a pattern rather than the outcome of random acts. The four can be equally divided into the two killers (Michael Copeland and Colin Ireland) where there is no evidence that they were gay and the other two killers (Dennis Nilsen and Peter Moore[4]) who were, by all accounts, gay themselves. The similarities in the cases are their exploitation of cultural difference, namely, homosexuality, which emphasises the continuing vulnerability of gay men. In the case of Michael Copeland, and although he denied it in court (The Times, 26 March 1965), there is some evidence that he killed two gay men because they were gay.[5] He was reported, for instance, as telling police officers that in one of the murders he committed in England that he met his victim in a public house and: I knew he was one of them [gay man], and I hated him. It was premeditated as far as he was concerned. I was going to kill him, because he belonged to something I hated most (The Times, 17 March 1965). Similarly, we could find no evidence that Colin Ireland was gay, but he did murder gay men. Indeed, from press reports it seems that Ireland's desire was to be famous following the loss of his job and a second divorce (The Times, 21 December 1993). He decided his route to fame was to be through serial killing and by targeting the particularly vulnerable group of gay men whose culture revolved around sado-masochistic sex. These two serial killers therefore are reflective of the homophobia which pervades Britain, and is a more exaggerated form of the oppression of gay men (and women) which, for example, does not allow 'out' gay people to serve in the armed forces or to become foster parents. In contrast, the crimes of Peter Moore perhaps seem easier to explain. Moore had for about two decades brutalised gay men through violence and sexual assaults (The Guardian, 30 November 1996). The murders were seemingly an extension of his want to dominate and control sexual encounters. In this sense, his actions are akin to those of patriarchal relations entwined in the murder killing of women and children. On the other hand, Dennis Nilsen's murders were not overtly about a wish to dominate, but followed the break-up of a long-term relationship and several unsuccessful attempts to form a new stable relationship (Clark and Morley, 1993: 98-9). However, the break-up of a relationship can also symbolise the lack of anyone to dominate. Nevertheless, he appears to have murdered, because he felt lonely. But it also clear that Nilsen was frustrated by his 'ordinariness', and longed to be 'extraordinary' (ibid,: 83) and in this respect there are resonances with Ireland's desire to be famous. Finally, the remaining vulnerable group who can be the focus of the ravages of serial killing are the elderly who can be perceived as - and often are - frail. Two serial killers - Patrick Mackay and Kenneth Erskine - deliberately chose pensioners as victims. As these offenders seemed to choose pensioners as providing opportunities for theft and the killings may simply have been to mask other crimes, they are sometimes left out of some discussions of serial killing. However, the vulnerability of the victims clearly provides links with other kinds of serial killing we have discussed. The vulnerability of these victims, among others, also demonstrates how serial killing shows the limitations of current societal organisation. Theorising the 'homicidal protest' of modern British serial killing: developing the Leyton thesis We have argued that Leyton's thesis of 'homicidal protest' can be developed through widening the focus of class relations to consider other social relations. The argument needs to be explored further by considering 'revenge' which is a pivot of Leyton's ideas. His main assumption is that revenge in the modern era will be along class lines. We have criticised this assumption. In fact, rather misleadingly he seems to be suggesting that in the modern era people can only have their ambitions frustrated by those above themselves in the social hierarchy. Studies of relative poverty or wealth, though, tell us that people often compare their social position with those 'below' themselves as well as those 'above' themselves (for example, Dean, 1992; Dean and Taylor-Gooby, 1992: 127). Hence, it seems a misplaced assumption that if individuals do feel frustrated they will necessarily wreak revenge on those people of 'higher' social classes. The perceived source of frustration may come from elsewhere. Indeed, it has particularly been emphasised over the past two decades that Britain is under threat from the economic and moral degradation of a so-called 'underclass' - a catchall phrase which has been applied to those who have not conformed to the moral and economic imperatives of the New Victorianism of the New Right (and now New Labour) (Murray, 1990, 1994; for critique see Bagguley and Mann, 1992; Mann, 1994). Moreover, such ideas are not restricted to the 1980s and 1990s. MacNicol (1987), for instance, shows how there has been a concern certainly since the nineteenth century with 'the apparent existence of an economically unproductive residuum of social outcasts' (1987: 296). The label 'underclass' may be relatively new, but dominant concerns with the perceived moral and economic degradation of the unemployed and other marginalised groups are not. The possible link with serial killing begins to emerge when one recognises that the victims of serial killers not only reflect wider social relations, but they may be victimised because they are perceived as living outside the moral order of competitive capitalist society. Indeed, this would bring our analysis of 'modern' British serial killers closer to that of Leyton's 'industrial' serial killer where, as we have seen, he suggests that those perceived not to be conforming to the economic and moral order of industrial capitalism were targeted by serial killers. In other words, many of the victims of British serial killers have been those who are increasingly seen as a socio-economic 'burden' on society: poor women; homeless people; children and young adults with family relationship problems; or they have been people socially marginalised through their sexual orientation (gay men) or age (pensioners). Certainly serial killers and serial killing do seem to provide a message which needs to be recognised. The message emanating from the study of modern British serial killing is that Britain is inadequate in its provision of social and economic protection for the poor and vulnerable. For instance, some of the prostitute victims of Peter Sutcliffe had clearly been forced into prostitution because of their socio-economic circumstances - Wilma Cann, for example, had to bring up four children after her husband left 'on what she could earn on the streets' (Burns, 1984: 106) and Irene Richardson who 'separated from her husband, with her two daughters, aged four and five, fostered out, ... had spent most of the previous ten days wandering about, homeless and penniless, in Chapeltown' (ibid.: 121). Similarly, Frederick and Rosemary West could only continue many of their activities by trading on the desperation of young people. For most of the victims state agencies afforded little protection, and as The Times rightly highlights in the Dennis Neilson case: ...there is a social relevance. Neilson's victims, mainly homosexual and vagrants could have been manufactured for him by a society which provides neither jobs nor cheap accommodation for the growing numbers of young people drifting to the cities. (The Times,5 November 1983) The situation has not changed and, in the name of greater economic competitiveness, the employment prospects for young people have not improved while their entitlements to social security benefits and social housing have been reduced. Conclusions We have argued that it would be both unwise to accept unconditionally the Leyton thesis to help to explain serial killing in a British context and equally unwise to reject the Leyton approach. Indeed, in theorising about serial killing, there currently seems a paucity of explanations which go beyond the individualistic approaches derived from biology, psychology and psychiatry. In this respect, Leyton's work provides an alternative beacon. However, as currently developed, the beacon may mislead rather than guide. Leyton's theorisation is both limited and limiting. The Leyton thesis is limited because it will not explain the British experience of serial killing, even if it does provide insights into the American experience.[6] It is limiting because of the narrow emphasis on class relations and the failure to recognise the possible importance of other kinds of social relations, such as patriarchy. However, while challenging the Leyton analysis which we suggest needs to be expanded, we will end by applauding the approach. The approach brings us closer to understanding the meaning of serial killing at a societal level. John Donne's reminder that 'No man is an Island, entire of it self' (Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1624, 'Meditations XII') also encompasses serial killers. The notion of 'homicidal protest', for example, introduces a social dynamic which must not be neglected. The actions of serial killers, sadly but usefully, identify social breakdowns. We suspect that the British context is different from the American experience on which Leyton bases his analysis. The meaning in the British context seems clear. The engine of patriarchal capitalism is social and economic competition. For those who cannot compete on its terms for whatever reason are cast out and pathologised as the incompetent or lazy. The state legitimises this treatment of those deemed to be marginal to the production process by affording them minimal social and economic protection because it is thought such provision will merely exacerbate their 'idleness' (c.f. Harris, 1988; Murray, 1990, 1994; Lilley, 1993; Marsland, 1994). At this juncture, the inability of individuals to compete on the terms of patriarchal capitalism and a lack of social provision not only has a role in 'creating' serial killers who simply but grotesquely exploit many of the cultural meanings of a society, but the increasing vulnerability of certain groups plays an important role in providing the victims for serial killers. While Elliot Leyton's analysis may not be totally satisfactory, his structural account still provides a beacon which we may neglect at our peril. Table 1. Historical epochs, serial killers and their victims Pre-Industrial (Pre-late century) 19th Industrial (late 19th century - 1945) Modern (Post-WWII) Killer Aristocratic Middle classes (e.g. doctors, teachers) Upper working/lower middle class (e.g. security guards, computer operators) Victim Peasantry 'Lower (e.g. housemaids) Middle (e.g. university students) orders' prostitutes, classes Source: Leyton (1986: 269-95). Table 2. Known serial killers 1960-1995 Name Year tried Occupation Victims No. of victims Michael Copeland 1965 regular soldier youth and 2 gay men 3 1966 stock clerk; short-hand typist children and a young person 3 1975 unemployed gardener elderly women and a priest 3 Ian Brady Myra Hindley Patrick Mackay and Donald Neilson 1976 jobbing builder 3 men shot during post office raids; young woman 4 1978 butler/ unemployed acquaintances employers 5(3) Peter Dinsdale 1981 unemployed 'random' 26 Peter Sutcliffe 1981 lorry driver women 13 Dennis Nilsen 1983 civil servant (executive officer) vagrants and gay men 16 John Duffy 1988 unemployed women and schoolgirl 3 Kenneth Erskine 1988 unemployed pensioners 7 Beverly Allitt 1993 nurse children 4 Colin Ireland 1993 unemployed gay men 5 Robert Black 1994 van driver schoolgirls 3 1995 builder; housewife/parttime prostitute young women family members 1996 cinema owner gay men Archibald Michael Kitto Hall Frederick Rosemary West Peter Moore and and and and Notes to Table 2: The number of victims is shown as the number for which the perpetrators were tried in court. In some cases the perpetrators were thought to have killed more people, although to date they have not been tried for these additional murders. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Lisa Bostock for her helpful and stimulating comments. 10 4 Notes 1. We would exclude here those publications by feminist criminologists which show the social basis of crimes against women violence as being grounded in patriarchal conceptions of power and within the construction of masculinity (e.g. Kelly and Radford, 1987; Cameron and Frazer, 1987). Indeed, such arguments are central to our belief that serial killers are socially constituted, for their victims, on the whole, are women and children. However, while the feminist focus is on violence against women which is both serious and more widespread than usually acknowledged, our concern is with the rarer events of serial killing. [Back to text] 2. Focusing on trials involves excluding likely serial killers. So, for example, the assailant known as Jack the Stripper (also known as the 'Nudes' Murderer) is excluded. In fact, the identity of Jack the Stripper has not been revealed to the public, for the man most suspected of being him committed suicide before arrest (Du Rose, 1971). He is thought to have killed six prostitutes between January 1964 and January 1965. Similarly, only Rosemary West was tried for serial murder as her husband, Frederick West, hanged himself before trial. We have included Myra Hindley (who was only charged with two murders and, thus, technically, as outside our definition) for to dissociate her from Brady (who was charged with three murders) could cause confusion.[Back to text] 3. Leyton does acknowledge that: 'Occasionally... they (serial killers) continue a metaphor from the earlier era and discipline unruly [sic] prostitutes and runaways' (1986: 297), but he goes on: 'Much more commonly... they punish those above them in the system - preying on unambiguously middle-class figures such as university women' (ibid.).[Back to text] 4. There is evidence, in fact, to suggest that one of Moore's victims was not gay.[Back to text] 5. We could find no evidence that the first of Copeland's victims - a 16 year German young man - was gay, although Copeland claimed he was (The Times, 17 March 1965).[Back to text] 6. Our task here is not to test or review the American experience of serial killing. Certainly, though, one of our concerns would be that Leyton seems quite selective in his choice of subjects to discuss in Hunting Humans. In contrast, we have taken all known serial killers in Britain since the early 1960s.[Back to text] References Bagguley, P. and Mann, K. (1992) 'Idle Thieving Bastards? Scholarly Representations of the "Underclass"', Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, 113-26. Bland, L. (1987) 'The Case of the Yorkshire Ripper: Mad, Bad, Beast or Male?, in Scraton, P. and Gordon, P. (eds.), Causes for Concern. British Criminal Justice on Trial?. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Burns, G. (1984) '...Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son.' The Story of Peter Sutcliffe. London: Heinemann. Cameron, D. and Frazer, E. (1987) The Lust to Kill: A Feminist Investigation of Sexual Murder. Cambridge: Polity Press. Canter, D. (1995) Criminal Shadows. Inside the Mind of the Serial Killer. London: Harper Collins. Caputi, J. (1987) The Age of Sex Crime. London: Women's Press. Clark, S. and Morley, M. (1993) Murder in Mind. Mindhunting the Serial Killers. London: Boxtree. Clark, T. and Penycate, J. (1976) Pyschopath. The Case of Patrick Mackay. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Cresswell, D. and Hollin, C. (1994) 'Multiple Murder. A Review', The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 34, No. 1, 114. Dean, H. and Taylor-Gooby, P. (1992) 'Poverty Discourse and the Disempowerment of the Poor', Critical Social Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2, 79-88. Dean, H. (1992) Dependency Culture. The Explosion of a Myth. Hemel Hempstead: Harvetser Wheatsheaf. Durkheim, E. (1952) Suicide. London: Routledge. Du Rose, J. (1971) Murder Was My Business. London: W.H. Allen. Harris, R. (1988) Beyond the Welfare State. An Economic, Political and Moral Critique of Indiscriminate State Welfare, and a Review of Alternatives to Dependency. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. Hawkes, H. (1970) Murder on the A34. London: John Long. Holmes, R. and De Burger, J. (1985) Serial Murder. Newbury Park: Sage. Jenkins, P. (1988) 'Serial Murder in England, 1940-1985,' Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 16, 1-15. Kelly, L. and Radford, J. (1987) 'The Problem of Men: Feminist Perspectives on Sexual Violence', in Scraton, P. and Gordon, P. (eds.), Causes for Concern. British Criminal Justice on Trial?. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Leyton, E. (1986) Hunting Humans. The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. Lilley, P. (1993) 'Benefits and Costs: Securing the Future of Social Security'. Mais Lecture. Lucas, N. and Davis, P.(1979) The Monster Butler. London: Arthur Baker. Mann, K. (1994) 'Watching the Defectives: Observers of the Underclass in the USA, Britain and Australia', Critical Social Policy, issue 41, Autumn, 79-99. Marsland, D. (1994) 'Liberating Welfare', in Bell, M. et al. (1994), The End of the Welfare State. London: Adam Smith Institute. MacNicol, J. (1987) 'In Pursuit of the Underclass', Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 16, No. 3, 293-318. Masters, B. (1986) Killing for Company: the Case of Dennis Nilsen. London: Coronet Books. Murray, C. (1990) The Emerging British Underclass. London: Institute of Economic Affairs Health and Welfare Unit. Murray, C. (1994) Underclass: The Crisis Deepens. London: Institute of Economic Affairs Health and Welfare Unit. Oppenheim, C. and Harker, L. (1996) Poverty: The Facts. London: Child Poverty Action Group. Soothill, K. (1993) 'The Serial Killer Industry', Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, Vol. 4, No. 2, 341-54. Sounes, H. (1995) Fred and Rose. London: Warner Books. Walby, S. (1990) Theorizing Patriarchy. Oxford: Blackwell. About the authors Chris Grover is Honorary Research Fellow, and Keith Soothill is Professor of Social Research, in the Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University Copyright information Copyright this article © Chris Grover and Keith Soothill 1999. Copyright this volume © The British Society of Criminology 1999. Pages of the journal may be downloaded, read, and printed. No material should be altered, reposted, distributed or sold without permission. Further enquiries should be made to the British Society of Criminology.

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School: UC Berkeley

Attached.

Running head: SERIAL KILLING

1

Serial Killing
Institution Affiliation
Date

SERIAL KILLING
Part 1: Discussion Forum: Serial Killing
Why do you think Aileen Wuornos committed her crimes?
Based on Aileen Wuornos upbringing, I think she committed her crimes due to
psychological torment form her traumatic past. Her life was full abuse experience and
abandonment not only by her family but also her peers and people in her community.
Considering the fact that she was born to a teenage mother and that the father was an absentee
and was abusive, he was eventually incarnated for rape. So the possibilities of Aileen following
such footsteps were high. In most cases, criminals inherit such criminal behavior from their close
family members such as parents or guardians and even genetic relatives (Female Killers, 2015).
Therefore, they end up developing primitive behavior that predisposes them to act out and
eventually end up developing criminal behavior. Still, due to the bitterness, she had due to
experiencing emotional and physical abuse from her maternal grandfather, maybe her way of
revenging was killing men. This is because the men close to her were the ones that abused her
that is her grandfather. Also, even thoug...

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Excellent job

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