Though there have been female killers throughout history, it was in the 1970’s that an increase in homicides committed by women was noticed. Women’s Liberation was blamed for this.
Female killers are difficult to spot, causing the number of known female killers to be minimal. Women killers are pretty much not noted by the public because they are quiet killers. Mass murderers of the female gender are rare. Wild killing sprees also are rare, but the few there were suffered severe psychosis.
Despite what people think, female serial killers are just as deadly, and sometimes more deadly, than male serial killers, and can be more efficient. This can play a part in them keeping a low profile for long periods of time.
Women who are serial killers fall into three categories: black widows, nurses, terrorists and assassins. Black widows kill husbands, children, relatives, boardinghouse tenants, and employees. Nurses target those they take care of and are referred to as “angels of mercy” or “angels of death.” Terrorists and assassins are more hard-hearted. They kill for money/non-personal reasons such as political or murder-for-hire. They do not know their victims.
These women in all of the three categories are a minority among murderers. The body count of known women killers averages 8 to 14 victims for each offender. This is higher than for male offenders.
Women serial killers are usually young and intelligent with killing careers of 10 years before discovery, ranging anywhere from a few months to over 30 years. Most are white and middle to upper class. Female serial killers who have been abused do not, in general, kill their abusers, nor are their motives for killing related to their abuse.
Throughout the centuries poison was the preferred method for murder. It is still today the favored method of murder, being used in 50% of all cases.
Research found that female killers are a product of their environment. Interestingly, just as there have been few cases of female serial killers, there have been few treated for severe mental disorder.
Psychosis is the main cause of women killing their children or even other children. More than half of these women told others prior to their murders that they were afraid they would kill, but then “pleas for help” were ignored.
Other characteristics that these women can have are: insincerity, amoral, extremely impulsive capable of dominating other people with manipulative charisma and superficial char, lacks insight and any form of conscience, unable to learn from mistakes, is irresponsible and unpredictable, volatile, disregard for truth, above average intelligence, very selkf0destructive, takes frequent high risks, can mimic normal behavior if they have to, always blames others for their failures, and has no life goals. Women who are team killers are most often followers, but in other cases, they are the dominant partner.
Female terrorists/assassins kill for three reasons: pursuit of dreams of a better life for people, a desire to help those in need, or a desire to change social or government policies. Female terrorists are more ruthless and persistence than male terrorists.
Reference: Malicious Intent
by Sean Mactire
Published by Writer’s Digest Books
Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders
Member of: Sisters in Crime
Writers on the Move