Female serial killers - women who have killed three or more people - have fascinated criminologists for centuries. Mostly because women are far less likely to be serial killers – five out of six serial killers are men – but also because, until the last century, women were seen as too delicate to commit murder. The definitive study on female serial killers wasn’t released until 2015, and law enforcement is still far less likely to suspect that any serial murderer could be a woman.
Today we know that not only can women commit these crimes, but their body count can be much higher than their male counterparts. Male serial killers usually kill strangers and are motivated by sex. And because they are more likely to use violent weapons like knives and guns, it means that they will usually be caught within two years.
Research has shown that women who commit serial murder generally kill those close to them for tangible motives like money and overwhelmingly use methods that are hard to trace – such as poison – meaning that, on average, it takes eight to 11 years to catch them. This makes the history of female serial killers not only longer, but much more deadly.
Click through to see the murderous women who made history for their crimes.