10. Jeffrey Dahmer
Known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He also committed necrophilia and ate parts of his later victims, dismembering and cooking parts of their bodies. Dahmer was eventually caught after a would-be victim managed to overpower him and alert police. In 1992 Dahmer was convicted of 15 of the murders and sentenced to 15 terms of life in prison. However just two years into his sentence he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
9. Andrei Chikatilo
Chikatilo was a Soviet serial killer, nicknamed The Butcher of Rostov. He committed the sexual assault, murder and mutilation of at least 52 women and children in Russia between 1978 and 1990. Believing he was the killer, police carried out surveillance on Chikatilo which eventually provided adequate grounds to arrest him. He confessed to a total of 56 murders and was tried for 53 of these killings in April 1992. Victims’ relatives demanded that authorities release him so that they could kill him themselves. He was convicted and sentenced to death for 52 of these murders in October 1992 and subsequently executed by firing squad in February 1994.
8. Tommy Lynn Sells
Claiming to have killed at least 70 people, Tommy Lynn Sells is considered one of the most dangerous offenders in Texas and has been convicted of several brutal murders between 1985 and 1999, including stabbing a 13 year old girl 16 times. Sells was eventually captured after breaking into the bedroom of a 10 year old girl, stabbing her, and leaving her for dead. Despite her injures the girl managed to survive and alert her neighbors. She provided a detailed description of Sells to police which eventually led to his capture. Sentenced to death he remains on death row at a high security prison in Livingston, Texas.
7. Pedro Rodrigues Filho
One of the most recent serial killers on our list, Pedro Rodrigues Filho is a Brazilian serial killer. Arrested in 1973, he was later convicted in 2003 for murdering at least 71 people and sentenced to 128 years in prison (although Brazilian law system prohibits anyone from spending more than 30 years behind bars). Committing his first murder at the age of 14, Filho began a series of burglaries and carried out a murdering spree against local drug dealers. By the age of 18 years old he had killed 10 people. Whilst imprisoned, he executed his own father who was also serving time for murder. Remarkably he went onto kill at least 47 inmates while imprisoned. His continued killings led to further convictions increasing his sentence to 400 years. However he was later released from prison in 2007 after serving 34 years but was later re-arrested in 2011.
6. Gary Ridgway
One of the United States most prolific serial killers, Gary Ridgway was arrested in 2001 for four murders though he confessed to killing at least 70 women in Washington state throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He avoided the death penalty by providing detailed confessions and leading police to the dumping sites of his victims, five of whom he dumped in the Green River which lead the press to nickname him “The Green River Killer”. He was convicted of 49 murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
5. Daniel Camargo Barbosa
Barbosa was a serial killer who was believed to have raped and killed over 150 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador during the 1970s and 1980s. He confessed to killing 72 girls in Ecuador since escaping from a Colombian prison. After being arrested in Quito, he led authorities to the dumping grounds of those victims whose bodies had not yet been recovered. He was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, the maximum sentence available in Ecuador. In November 1994, he was murdered in prison by the cousin of one of his victims.
4. Dr Harold Shipman
Dr. Harold Fredrick Shipman was a English doctor and is one of the world’s most prolific serial killers in recorded history, proven to have been responsible for up to 250 murders. A trusted doctor, he was well respected in his community, however colleagues and local undertakers began raising concerns over the high death rate in the area and the large number of cremation forms for elderly women that he had countersigned. Several bodies were later exhumed and postmortems revealed diamorphine within their system. It was later established Shipman had purposely injected fatal doses of the drug in a huge number of patients, causing their death. He then forged their wills so he could inherit large sums of money and completed cremation requests to destroy the victim’s bodies. The trial judge sentenced him to 15 consecutive life sentences and recommended that he never be released. Shipman later hanged himself in January 2004 in his cell at Wakefield Prison.
3. Ted Bundy
One of the most widely known murderers of the 20th century, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who kidnapped or overpowered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. Bundy typically approached his female victims in a public place and led them to secluded areas where he would sexually assault and kill them. He decapitated at least 12 victims and kept the severed heads in his apartment as trophies. Repeatedly captured, he twice managed to escape from police and court houses before going onto commit three further killings. Convicted of multiple murders he was sentenced to death and was executed via the electric chair in 1989.
2. Pedro Alonso Lopez
Pedro Alonso López is a Colombian serial killer, accused of raping and killing more than 300 girls across South America. He lured them to secluded areas or inside unoccupied buildings where he raped each of them before killing them by a range of brutal methods, primarily strangulation. López was arrested when an attempted abduction failed and he was trapped by market traders. He confessed to over 300 murders but the police only believed him when a flash flood uncovered a mass grave containing many of his victims. Eventually 53 bodies were discovered. Imprisoned in 1980 he served 18 years before being released from a Ecuadorian prison and was deported to Columbia where he was rearrested and in 2002 was sentenced to life.
1. Luis Garavito
Known at La Bestia (“The Beast”) Garavito is the world’s most extensive killer, having murdered upwards of as many as 300 victims. He preyed mostly on street children (none older than 16) over a period of five years. His method was to lure young boys with gifts or pocket change, taking them on long walks until they were very tired, after which he would torture, rape, and ultimately dismember them. He was apprehended in 1999, though he could potentially be eligible for early release based on good behavior—news that most Colombians didn’t take lightly.