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Books offer insights into the most brutal and horrific crimes

12 March 2014
6 March 2014

Author Claire Welch has delved into thousands of hours of investigative journalism to write a trio of books that offer fresh insights into some of the most horrific and brutal crimes ever committed.

Crimes of the Century: Women Killers portrays the minds and crimes of some of the world’s worst female serial killers, including Myra Hindley, Rose West and Beverley Allitt.

It also investigates those who managed to defy and evade the authorities and others who have been executed for their crimes. Claire explains: “Murder is a terrifying factor of life, but when the perpetrator is a woman, it has been traditionally more difficult for most of society to comprehend.

“My research for this book suggests to me that, while over many centuries women were just as capable as killing as men, during the Victorian era, women were deemed virtuous, prudent and full of piety. The role of women was to inspire, support and serve their men. They were largely kept within controlled circumstances and away from immoral influences.

“This meant that violent crimes by women of earlier centuries became a distant memory.

“Apart from a few astute observations, at no time was it recognised that women were equally as capable of murder and this attitude lasted well into the 20th century.”

Crimes of the Century: Ripper Killers focuses on Jack the Ripper, The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and a Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatiolo who was named The Rostov Ripper and responsible for the death of at least 53 victims.

Claire said: “My research showed me that ripper killers are motivated by what they see as justification for their crimes.

“Jack the Ripper was believed to have justified the killings in Whitechapel in the late 19th century as ridding society of worthless ‘unfortunates’ who had little to offer the world.

“Peter Sutcliffe also used this excuse, despite knowing that not all his victims were sex workers. Sadly, even today, sex workers are particularly vulnerable.

“The only relationship between the victim and the killer is the act of murder itself, and ‘trophy’ hunting, where the use of knives to mutilate and remove body parts of victims is common and compelling in ripper killings.”

Crimes of the Century: War Crimes looks at the worst atrocities committed in the last 100 years and examines whether organisations such as the United Nations and international courts could bring about a future free of war crimes.

Claire said: “I think we are a long way from the courts changing the face of war crimes. There is so much evidence to suggest that despite some effective processes, there is still a great deal to be done before war criminals are brought to justice or become a thing of the past.

“The courts are designed to stop these crimes, yet fail to deter and punish some of the worst atrocities against humanity.”

Claire is passionate about the stories she covers and explains: “These books cover some of the most sensational and horrific crimes. They show how little has changed, in terms of criminal activities.”

About the author

Claire Welch is the author of multiple non-fiction crime books in the Crimes of the Century series including Unsolved Crimes, Gangs, Football Hooligans, Bank Raids, Kidnap, Robbery and Gangsters.

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