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Some cases of sexual serial killing exemplify anger directed at an ex-wife/partner, which gets transferred to other women. These involve (1) displaced aggression and (2) collective guilt of women as a whole, or particular types of women, such as sex workers. Faryion Wardrip exemplifies anger directed towards his ex-wife, and he reported seeing her face as he was killing. The killings appeared to be unplanned. Russian police officer Mikhail Popkov discovered his wife had committed adultery. Dividing women into saints and sinners, his discovery triggered a campaign of raping and then killing those he considered to be immoral. He would offer women lifts in his car and invite them for a drink. If they gave an answer of the kind 'Sorry but I must get home', they were spared, even escorted to their front doors. If they answered 'yes', this was a death sentence - an example of ‘mission killing’.
Ted Bundy was separated from any individual caregiver after birth. Apparently, he was disturbed by the uncertainty around who was his biological mother. Pretense on who she really was might also have contributed to his distress. These experiences seemed to have initiated his resentment against women, which were subsequently inflamed by jilting. Intelligent, handsome and articulate, Bundy was described as a most unlikely serial killer, which shows the limitations of stereotypes. He was very sensitive to social class and uncomfortable with his own position. He illustrates a feature of displaced aggression: that retribution can be out of all proportion to the initial trigger. Bundy was an organized offender committing murder in a series of states of the Union. However, he became somewhat disorganized at the end of his killing series. Bundy exemplifies the use of cognitive empathy to gain access to his victims. He claimed that violent pornography played a role.
Revenge probably features in most, if not all, lust killing. This chapter exemplifies where revenge for perceived transgression comes into the clearest focus and seems to occupy center stage. Of course, the revenge was disproportionate to the ‘offence’, a feature of displaced aggression and ‘revenge collecting’. Part of the trigger to revenge is a blow to self-esteem. The antagonism that Peter Sutcliffe felt towards women appeared to derive from suspicions over his partner’s infidelity and being cheated by a sex worker. Sutcliffe seemed to have a kind of love-hate relationship with sex workers. He was fascinated by them and engaged them in sex but was also disgusted by them and killed them. It can be speculated that Levi Bellfield’s toxic trajectory started when as a boy he was jilted by a blond girl. Most of his victims were blond girls, yet he sought this type as his girlfriends. Sergey Golovkin targeted boys.
Phenomena such as fantasy, anger and temptation can be studied in a non-forensic population and insights tentatively extrapolated to lust killers. Consider the fantasy experienced by someone addicted to drugs. An image of a drug might pop into the conscious mind and if it will soon become available, the imagery can be pleasant. Otherwise, it can be tormenting. Fantasy features large in lust killing and appears to play a causal role. If a person already has a tendency towards sexual violence, watching pornography can increase this. The cold-to-hot empathy gap refers to the difficulty someone in a cold state has in appreciating the temptation of being in a hot state. The term ‘displaced aggression’ refers to aggression arising initially from a situation where retaliation against the trigger would be difficult. Sadism can be studied in non-forensic samples. A number of psychoactive drugs can increase the tendency towards aggression.
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