Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
Some sexual killers choose victims in a particular age group. Three killers described here (Igor Irtyshov, Clifford Olson and Arthur Bishop) preferentially targeted children and young adults. Olson was an all-round career criminal who showed bisexual tendencies. Vladimir Vinnichevsky killed very young children, while Anatoly Biryukov sexually attacked and killed babies. Vasily Kulik tortured cats, and later showed a preference for killing children. His switch from young adults to children and elderly women followed damage to his head, which could have harmed his brain. Bishop gave an account of craving, ambivalence, escalation and fighting temptation. He illustrated the difficulty of trying to resist intrusive thoughts (something that psychologists call the ‘white bears effect’). For Irtyshov, the form of rape and choice of victim reflects the assaults that were earlier inflicted upon him.