The Wolf and the Lamb

Today, I’d like to talk about a very peculiar and interesting issue: women as executioners, murderers, serial killers.

The murders committed by men are more numerous than those committed by women. In fact, the female killer is almost an exception in criminological statistics. Yet, the crimes committed by women are not to be understimated, especially in terms of creativity. In fact, women are “obliged” to resort to imagination to make up for a less physical strength.

As I already said few times ago, very often, women become killers because of their difficult childhood, rebelling against years of abuses. So, there is an exchange of roles: the victim becomes the executioner.


Violence is in men’s nature adn not in women’s one. So, men can more easily reveal their “violent and brutal” side, because somehow we expect it. For the woman it is different, because she must act as if she hadn’t. Therefore, by a “genetic” factor, it would be almost impossible to have a female serial killer. But according to the definition of “Crime Classification Manual”, the “serial killer” is the one who commits 3 or more murders, in different places, therefore, in the history we can find not few cases of women murderers!

Women serial killers are a number between 5% and 10% of serial killers. In United States female serial killers are 8% of the criminals, but American female murderers are 75% of all female serial killers in the world. This can be explained by the greater degree of social and cultural emancipation achieved by women in all fields, and, generally, women (and men of course) kill serially especially in industrialized countries. In fact, in countries where the female figure is still subjected under male’s control (for example, in Arab countries), there hardly be cases of women who kill serially.

Now, let’s see the characteristics of women killers!

As men, women grow up in families with a lot of problems and they all almost have suffered from some form of abuse during childhood. A precocious and intense sexuality develops in many of them, and they have an aggressive and violent personality. They need to dominate the others. They all have a difficult adolescence. It is common a hate for the school and all that means discipline. Often, they run away from home, and during their escapes they have transgressive experiences (such as abusing alcohol, drugs, having sex with men and women indifferently). Often, they also have a secret diary, in which they write all their nightmares and scenes of violence that they live daily in their thoughts.

There are many important differences between women and men serial killers. This will make us understand why female serial killer is a separate category. Let’s see some differences!

  • Timing:

The woman begins to kill when she is between 30 and 40 years, so later than man, who usually begins between 20 and 30 years. Unlike the male, the criminal life of the woman is longer: its activity lasts an average of 8 years before being arrested. For the man the average is 4 years from the first murder.

  • Methods and weapons:

Women use different weapons and methods than men. Very often, men kill with their own hands, on the contrary there are very few cases in which women use their physical force to kill the victim. The women in 65% of cases use poison: it is a silent and diabolical weapon, which, if used well, it leaves no trace and allows to pass the victim’s death for a death by intoxication. Only 13% kills by suffocation and 12% with a gun.

poison    large

Then, there are specific weapons for each context in which the murders take place. For example, in the hospital it is used the injection of a lethal substances, because there injections are a routine, so it goes unnoticed. However, the serial infanticide kills babies through suffocation, pressing a pillow over the face of the baby, which is mistaken for a simple cardio-respiratory arrest due to natural causes.

  • Who are the victims?

Even in the choice of victims there are differences between men and woman serial killers.

Men usually kill unknown persons. On the contrary, women choose their victims from people known; in fact 45% choose the members of their family, 26% choose friends or acquaintances, 10% kill patients or people who they take care, and only 11% of total kill unknonw people. Precisely for this reason, because there’s a link between them and their victims, women are rarely involved in sexual homicides, which is, on the contrary, a key motivation for men.

Generally, instead of men, women kill in the same place. Women who move are those who kill in pairs or in groups, who decided to follow the male in his travels.

Usually, women who kill serially don’t rage on the body of their victims with manifestations of overkilling, mutilation, dismemberment or sexual assault. But, there are some exceptions, and in these cases their murders can achive remarkable levels of brutality. For example, in Italy, Leonarda Cianciulli (late ’30s, beginning of ’40s) cut up the bodies of the women she had killed, and with some parts, she made soap.

Soon, we will see the different types of woman killer!



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