Think of a killer. Real or fictional. Famous or imagined...
They’re male, aren’t they?
Why did you picture a man’s face? The answer’s simple. Almost all murderers throughout history and across the world were born with the XY chromosome pairing.
This isn’t just a narrative pushed by Hollywood and true crime channels like us, either. The statistics back it up.
A major worldwide study on murder conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime carried out back in 2013, shows this quite convincingly. 95% of homicides are perpetrated by men.
That’s just one in every 20 murders coming from the hands of a woman. The number of intentional killings being the responsibility of girls? Of females under the age of 18? Almost negligible. So fractional is it then when a story breaks in which a young girl is found to have murdered someone, it’s quite huge news indeed.
These are the five more noteworthy examples of the phenomena happening in this country. These are Britain’s youngest female killers:
When Thames Valley Police found the body of 18-year-old hairdresser Katie Rackliff in June 1992, they were horrified. She had been brutally stabbed in the breasts, vagina and anus more than 30 times. The crime was like something from a, particularly bloody slasher film.
On the night of her barbaric murder, Katie had broken up with her long-term boyfriend. Distraught, drunk and vulnerable, she later found herself in the company of two men who had offered to drive her home. Driven four miles from Camberley in Surrey, across county lines to Farnborough in Hampshire, Katie suffered her unthinkable fate.
It was clear to investigators who the main suspects were. The stab pattern suggested a sexual motive. What they could never have anticipated was that the attacker could have been the 12-year-old girl who initially lured Katie into the men’s vehicle in the first place. Sharon Carr.
In fact, it took four years for Carr to be apprehended. When she was sentenced to life imprisonment, she became the youngest female murderer to ever been sentenced in the United Kingdom. While in prison, police gained access to some of Carr’s teenage diaries. They painted a grim picture of a sexually violent young psychopath.
Sharon Carr remains imprisoned, under the watch of a team of mental health professionals, losing her most recent appeal in March of 2020.
When she left prison having served a 12-year sentence for the murder of two young boys, Mary Bell was just 23 years old. She was a mere 11 when she committed her shocking crimes.
Mary Bell is British criminal history’s most infamous girl killer. When she was found to have strangled two young boys, Martin Brown (4) and Brian Howe (3), the story became a national sensation. No one could understand how a prepubescent young girl could carry out such incredibly heinous acts. Even when her abusive upbringing came to light, few could comprehend young Mary’s actions.
While Mary killed Martin alone, she had an accomplice for the strangling of little Brian. Mary’s 13 year-old friend from the estate Norma Bell (no relation) was recruited for murder #2. The two juveniles were only caught after they broke into a local nursery and left confession notes.
Since her release, Mary Bell has become a mother and grandmother and lives under a lifelong anonymity order.
The murders of 49-year-old dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie were, of course, extremely tragic. What's more, they were truly quite unbelievable.
When the truth surrounding the killings surfaced, a seriously disturbing picture was painted in alarmingly bright colours. Not only were Elizabeth and Katie killed by Katie's sister and her boyfriend - who were both just 14 at the time - there was a bizarre folie à deux at work which fuelled the slayings.
Kim Edwards and boyfriend Lucas Markham attacked their victims at their home in the town of Spalding, in Lincolnshire, in April 2016. They were killed by a deadly combination of suffocation and stabs to the neck.
The motive? A shared history of mental health issues and suicidal inclinations drew the pair together, with each spurring on the other's violent fantasies. Kim resented her mother and sister for their close relationship, which she felt left her out in the cold.
The pair’s guilt-free and unapologetic conduct after the double murder caused something of a tabloid sensation too. The teenage couple were dubbed ‘The Twilight Killers’ in some quarters because of their behaviour immediately after killing Kim’s mother and sister as they slept upstairs. The two went downstairs, settled on the sofa in the living room, watched the film Twilight, ate some ice cream and had sex.
Both received 17 & ½ year prison sentences.
Teenage girls should be friends with other teenagers. It’s much healthier to grow up and learn about the world in the company of your peers. Lorraine Thorpe didn’t have that luxury, though. Since she could remember, the only people she knew were hopeless middle-aged alcoholics and petty criminals.
Living with her addict father in Ipswich and evading the clutches of Suffolk Social Services, young Lorraine was raised in squalor, surrounded by violence. Even so, what she would go on to do would shock even the most hardened true crime reader.
15 year-old Thorpe and her older boyfriend, 41 year-old Paul Clarke, were casual friends with Rosalyn Hunt, a woman who was in their social circle of drinkers. After a falling out concerning a dog attacking a young child, Paul and the besotted Lorraine lured Rosalyn to the flat they shared and tortured her in really quite stomach-churning ways. Cheese graters, dog lead chains and salt were all put to grotesque use. Eventually, after days of torment, Rosalyn Hunt was beaten to death.
In a bid to help cover up the crime, Thorpe and Clarke decided that Lorraine’s father, a chronic alcoholic with disability issues, had to die too. Lorraine smothered him with a cushion and kicked his prone body, admitting to police that they would find ‘her trainer prints on his head.’
The 15 year-old was ordered to be detained for a minimum of 14 years. She’ll be eligible for release in 2024. For his part, Paul Clarke was jailed for a minimum of 27 years.
Angela Wrightson's killers
The night of the 8th of December, 2014. Two teenage girls, aged just 13 and 14, went out onto the streets of Hartlepool for a night out. Of course, no pubs, bars or clubs would let them in, so they kept to the streets and alleyways and corners. They drank strong cider from the bottle, smoked mooched cigarettes and took stolen prescription medication.
The pair had no plan, just to have fun. The night, however, would end in them having murdered an innocent woman.
Anglea Wrightson was a vulnerable adult; an alcoholic who was easily exploited. Her body was found to have well over a hundred serious injuries, caused by a variety of weapons found inside her home including a shovel, a television, a coffee table and a bat studded with screws. Her ordeal had lasted for hours.
The names of Angela’s teenage killers have never been released for legal, protective reasons. Both raised in care, the pair had a unique bond and, according to investigators and authorities that assessed them, an obvious codependency. How - or why - they came to attack and kill their victim, however, isn’t fully known.
The girls were tried in April 2016 and both received a minimum prison sentence of 15 years.