When people mention serial killers, names such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy quickly spring to mind, as their crimes were so heinous their names have been plastered all over the media.
Lurking behind the names of these infamous killers are lesser-known serial killers who did not receive the same degree of media coverage. In some cases, their crimes were so horrific the public was kept in the dark about the gruesome details.
The Twitter Killer is the nickname given to Japanese serial killer Takahiro Shiraishi, who preyed on vulnerable people using the social media platform. Whilst on Twitter, Shiraishi portrayed himself as suicidal and posted tweets which said, ‘I want to forget everything’ and ‘I want to disappear’. However, these were not cries for help but a way to lure his victims to act out his sadistic fantasies.
Shiraishi lured his victims back to his apartment in Zama, Japan, after telling them that he could help them die, and in some cases, claimed that he would take his own life alongside them. Once they were inside the killer’s home, the victims were strangled and dismembered. Shiraishi took the lives of eight women and one man aged 15 to 25 in August and September 2017.
It was on Halloween the same year the killings came to light when the police discovered dismembered body parts at Shiraishi’s home. The brother of a missing 23-year-old woman began his investigation and discovered suspicious messages on his sister's Twitter account. He immediately alerted the police and they soon found themselves at Shiraishi’s home on the morning of 31st October 2017.
The killer pled guilty to all nine murders and was sentenced to death. Shiraishi is one of over 100 inmates awaiting execution in Japan.
Étienne Dedroog, like the first killer on our list, was efficient in using social media. However, instead of using social networking to lure his victims, he used Facebook Messenger to inform his sister of his crimes. In a string of chilling messages, he claimed that ‘he did not deserve to be called a brother’ and said that his crimes were worse than those committed by notorious Belgium serial killer Ronald Janssen.
This callous killer took the lives of three people between October and November 2011 across Belgium and France. Dedroog’s victims had owned lodgings where he had stayed, which earned him the moniker of ‘The Lodgers Killer’. Whilst his modus operandi of targeting the owners and stealing their credit cards and cars remained the same, his killing methods differed between knife attacks and strangulation.
Dedroog confessed to murdering two victims in Belgium and was sentenced to life in prison. He denied murdering a victim in France but was later found guilty and sentenced to an additional 25 years.
A sadistic gang that named themselves ‘The Cleaners’ terrorised the most vulnerable people living on the streets of Moscow, Russia. Elena Lobacheva was one of the gang of five who, in her own chilling words, gained sexual gratification from the murders.
This killer group had a well-rehearsed MO and stalked the streets of Moscow as a part of their plan to clean the Russian capital. The vulnerable victims, who were mainly homeless or alcoholics, were lured to secluded parts of the city in the early hours, where they were subjected to cruel and vicious attacks with a variety of weapons. One victim sustained 171 knife wounds.
During an interview with detectives, Lobacheva said that she was inspired by the cult classic horror movie Bride of Chucky. For her role in these murders, Lobacheva was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Residents in the South Korean capital of Seoul were left living in fear when they found out a serial killer was roaming the city. Yoo Young-chul took the lives of at least 20 people between 2003 and 2004, making him one of South Korea’s deadliest serial killers.
At the beginning of his murder spree, Yoo’s modus operandi was breaking into the homes of wealthy senior citizens and bludgeoning the occupants to death. To confuse the police, Yoo would make the crime scene look like a robbery gone wrong but took no valuable items.
As the investigation intensified, Yoo switched his victim profile to targeting sex workers. The killer lured his victims back to his apartment and brutally beat them to death after having sex with them. Yoo dismembered and mutilated his victims before burying them near the mountains that surround the city.
Initially, Yoo confessed to killing 19 people, but he eventually admitted to 26 murders. Whilst showing the police the location of his victim's bodies, he wore a yellow raincoat which soon saw him nicknamed the Raincoat Killer. Yoo was sentenced to death.
Across several months in 1982, a twisted taxi driver in Hong Kong used his job to murder four young women. The depraved acts Lam Kor-wan inflicted on his victims after their deaths took place at his home, which he shared with his unsuspecting family.
Under the darkness of the night, Lam would prey on women who got in his taxi. After strangling his victims with electrical wire, Lam took them to his home, where they were dismembered. The sadistic killer placed the victim's sexual organs in jars, which gave Lam the name ‘The Jars Killer’.
The killer was a photographer and used his hobby to capture his acts. Lam took photos of his victims as well as recorded acts of necrophilia. It was Lam’s photography that eventually led to his arrest when he went to develop pictures of his dismembered victims and the store manager tipped off the police.
Lam's crimes make him one of Hong Kong’s most notorious serial killers. He was sentenced to death in 1983, but his sentence was commuted to life the following year.