Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
Sex-linked killing is based upon a combination of factors. Michael Apter uses the English killer Neville Heath to emphasize one of these: the irresistible lure of excitement. It is unclear what factors in life led Heath down this pathological route. A bomber pilot in World War II, Heath was reckless and disorganized, exemplifying not just sensation seeking but also sexual sadism. It would appear that Heath’s level of brain arousal had a tendency to be well below the optimal level for comfort. Therefore, he engaged in a range of daredevil reckless activities in an attempt to elevate arousal. Tall, charming and handsome, Heath exemplifies where sexual desire can combine with a desire to elevate arousal. Despite admitting that the evidence suggested his guilt, Heath reported having no memory of the killings, pointing to the possibility of dissociation. Heath was judged as sane and fit to plead and was executed.