From those with mental illnesses to those with unfathomable grudges against the world and all that is decent, as well as those with fantasies that many cannot understand, there have been many famous serial killers in the past who have cut across different ages, times, and places. Here is a look at some of the most dangerous and prolific killers that have ever lived.
Famous Serial Killers Ranked By Their Number of Victims
1. Harold Shipman – 215
The most dangerous serial killer to have ever set his foot on earth, Shipman was a general practitioner, and so that made it pretty much easy for him to carry out his evil acts on his patients. In 2000, he was found guilty of killing 15 patients who were under his care.
The Good Doctor or Dr. Death as he is called, his reign of terror lasted from 1975 to 1998. Although the official number of people he killed is put at 215, he is said to have killed as many as 250 people.
2. Luis Garavito – 138
If we are to go by the unofficial numbers, Luis Garavito may as well be the most famous serial killer ever, with 300 people to his list. A rapist and killer, The Beast as he was rightly nicknamed preyed on little children and teenagers many of whom he raped before he murdered.
Officially, Garavito was named in The Guinness Book Of World Records as the world’s worst serial killer, with his official number placed at 138.
3. Pedro López – 110
Between 1969 and 2002, Pedro López spread his net of evil across three countries – Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Popularly referred to as The Monster of the Andes, Pedro was officially said to have murdered 110 girls. Unofficially, he was said to have raped and killed more than 300 girls across the three countries. According to him, the prostitution that he witnessed as a child was one of the main things that had come to affect his psyche.
4. Javed Iqbal – 100
Not only is he the most famous serial killer in the history of Pakistan, but he is also among the most known around the world. Based on his own confession, he killed a hundred boys whom he also sexually abused. After strangling them, he used acid in disposing of their bodies before dumping their remains in the river.
After writing a letter confessing his crimes to the police, he made an attempt to commit suicide but it failed and he was later arrested and sentenced to death by hanging. In the judgment, his body was to be cut into a hundred pieces and dissolved in acid the same as he did to the boys but he killed himself in his prison before the execution.
5. Daniel Camargo – 72
Manuel Bulgarin Solis, as he is also known, was yet another serial killer who was said to have killed more than 72 young girls after raping them. A Colombian, his acts of terror spanned from 1974 until 1986 when he was finally apprehended in Ecuador. He was first convicted of sexual assault in 1964 and was sentenced to eight years. After this, he continued with his crimes and was arrested again in 1974.
Camargo would later escape prison through the sea, while authorities believed he died on the sea. However, he moved to Ecuador where he continued his killing spree until he was finally arrested in 1986.
6. Pedro Rodrigues Filho – 71
The Brazilian Dexter, Killer Petey, and Pedrinho Matador are all the names this Brazilian serial killer is known with. One of the most notorious killers ever, Filho’s knack for murder was first noticed when he was 13. At the age of 14, he killed for the first time when he gunned down the Santa Rita do Sapucaí’s deputy mayor because he fired his father who was a school guard. By the age of 18, he had already killed many people.
After his father killed his mother, he went after him in jail and killed him. Even after he was arrested and jailed, he continued with his killing, taking out many prisoners. After he served his 35 years sentence, Filho was released in 2007, and he is now a YouTuber.
7. Kampatimar Shankariy – 70
One of the most dangerous killers in the history of India, Kampatimar Shankariy was known for his use of a hammer to murder his victims. Although he only started his killing spree in 1977, he had already killed more than 70 people by 1978 when he was arrested. According to him, he killed simply for the pleasure of it.
He was sentenced to die by hanging in 1979 and met the fate on May 16.
8. Yang Xinhai – 67
Referred to as the monster killer by the media, Yang was responsible for the murder of more than 60 and raping 23. The worst killer since the republic of China began, his unforgettable reign of terror began in 1999 and lasted until 2003 when he was apprehended and was subsequently executed in February 2004.
9. Samuel Little – 61
In almost half a century, Samuel Little who has been described as the most prolific killer in the history of the United States murdered more than 60 people according to investigators, although he revealed he murdered more than 90 across 19 states.
His reign of terror finally came to an end in 2005 but he was arrested in 2012 thanks to a DNA test that linked him to the murder of three women between 1987 and 1989. Following his trial, he was found guilty of the crimes and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
10. Andrei Chikatilo – 53
He is known with many names including the Butcher of Rostov and the Red Ripper. A Soviet Union serial killer, he was one of the most cold-hearted killers to walk the earth.
In a heartless killing spree that lasted from 1978 to 1990, he sexually assaulted and killed more than 50 women and children. He was executed in 1994 for the murders.
11. Anatoly Onoprienko – 52
Nicknamed Citizen O, this famous serial killer who was the son of a WWII veteran killed more than 50 people between 1989 and 1996. Also known as the Beast of Ukraine, he was arrested in 1996 and although he would end up being sentenced to death, it was later commuted to life imprisonment. He died of a heart attack in 2013.
12. Florisvaldo de Oliveira – 50
Popular also as Cabo Bruno, the tale of this serial killer is rather chilling most especially because he was a military police officer. While still in service, he was accused of killing more than 50 people in the 1980s on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.
For his killings which were said to be for self-perceived justice and sometimes even for one’s appearance, he was given 113 years. However, he was released in 2012 only to be assassinated a month after.
13. Robert William “Willy” Pickton – 49
From 1983 to 2002, Willy, who is referred to as The Pig Farmer Killer murdered close to 50 people. One of the most famous serial killers that Canada has seen, he owned a farm with his brother, but it was later discovered that women who visited the place were hardly ever found.
After investigations, items belonging to the women were found on the farm and with further investigations and excavation that would gulp down more than $70 million, history recorded the case as the largest serial killing investigation in the Great White North. Pickton who was accused of feeding some of the bodies of his victims to his pigs was sentenced to life imprisonment.
14. Gary Leon Ridgway – 49
Known as the Green River Killer, he seemed like your normal Joe but there was not a thing normal about him. Between the 1980s and the 90s, he strangled and killed many women who were mostly runaways and sex workers.
Although he was confirmed to have killed 49 women, he confessed to over 70. He was arrested in 2001 and was later sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.
15. Alexander Pichushkin – 48
48 is the number of people this Russian serial killer was said to have killed but it is thought it could be as high as 60. Known also as The Chessboard Killer, his despicable acts were between 1992 and 2006.
He was a normal child at first but after he fell from a swing and hit his head, he changed entirely. Experts believe the fall damaged some parts of his brain and so he has great tendency of aggression. When he was finally arrested for his killings, he revealed he would have killed 64 people each to represent a square on a chessboard, something he was good at. He would again later add that even after the 64, he would have continued had he not been stopped. He was sentenced like many others to life.
16. Wang Qiang – 45
China has had its own share of serial killers but not too many as notorious as Qiang who is also a rapist. Born in 1975 and brought up by an abusive father who did not allow him to go to school, he committed his first murder in 1995 when he was only 20. In the years that followed, he killed more than 45 people and raped 10 women.
He was finally arrested in 2003 and was executed 10 years after his first murder and when he was 30, in 2005.
17. Ahmad Suradji – 42
Between 1986 and 1997, Indonesia witnessed one of the worst serial killings in the history of the country following the killing spree of Ahmad Suradji who confessed to killing 42 women and girls.
In a ritual practice, the heartless killer would bury them to the waist level and then strangle them with their heads facing his house. Known as The Sorcerer, it was believed that he carried out his murders with the aid of his wives who helped him with hiding the bodies. He was arrested in 1997 and was executed in 2008 by firing squad while one of his wives was sentenced to life.
18. Sailson Jose das Gracas – 42
Yet another Brazilian serial killer, he was only 26 years old when he was arrested and confessed to killing 42 people within a decade. According to him, the murders were for fun as they helped in calming him. He first began as a petty criminal but by the time he was 17, he killed for the first time and he would continue for years to come. He also revealed that he felt no remorse and that if he was ever released, he would continue killing.
19. Raman Raghav – 41
Known as The Ripper or Psycho Raman, this Indian killer lived from 1929 to 1995 when he died of kidney failure. From 1965 to 1968, he was accused of killing 41 people. In the three years of his killings, he threw a shadow of fear on the entire city that by dusk, everyone would retire home. His attacks were indiscriminate and his arrest in 1968 gave some peace to Mumbai. He was sentenced to life.
20. Ted Bundy – 30
Although there are others who have killed more people than Ted Bundy, he is one of the most famous serial killers. In the 1970s, the American serial killer kidnapped, raped, and killed many women. Known by many other names, he made use of his good looks and charisma to attract his victims.
Bundy would be arrested in 1975 for kidnapping and aggravated assault but he would later mastermind an escape. He was arrested again in 1978 and by that time, he had already killed more people. He was executed by electric chair in 1989.