The Most Famous Female Serial Killers People

The Most Famous Female Serial Killers

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This list of notable or famous female serial killers includes photos and other information on women serial killers as well. These are among the most infamous female serial killers in history, with many of these women's stories having been adapted into films, which are included on the list of the best serial killer movies ever. Most, but not all, of these notorious female murderers are from the USA. While this is not a comprehensive list of all worldwide female serial killers and women killers, you could certainly find your top 10 and more here - including Jeanne Weber and, of course, Aileen Wuornos.

From the first woman serial killer to other women murderers, this list has some of the most violent and brutal killers in history. While there are fewer known female serial killers than male, the women on this list of female serial killers rank among the worst serial killers of all time and committed thousands of murders collectively.

A woman serial killer might be more rare than men, but they still dot the pages of history and have left their mark. Whether you're interested in female mass murderers and women killers from a historical standpoint, want to know where they've come from, or what drove them to kill, there's a wealth of information below.


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  1. Between 1989-90, prostitute-turned-killer Aileen Wuornos murdered seven johns who had the misfortune of looking for a little extra-marital action. A minor traffic accident in one her victim's cars led to her arrest and eventual 2002 execution.

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    Aileen Carol Wuornos was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute, and that all of the homicides were committed in self-defense. She was convicted and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 46 (1956-2002)
    • Birthplace: Rochester, Michigan, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Lethal injection, Capital punishment
    • Place Of Death: Florida State Prison, Florida, United States of America
  2. Known as "The Moors Murderer" and "The Most Evil Woman in Britain", Myra Hindley and her lover, Ian Brady, plotted and carried out the rape and deaths of five young children 1963-65 in England. The pair were turned in to the police by Hindley's brother-in-law who had witnessed Brady killing a boy with an axe. Hindley died in prison in 2002 at age 60.

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    • Age: Died at 60 (1942-2002)
    • Birthplace: Crumpsall, United Kingdom
    • Cause Of Death: Myocardial infarction
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    Jane Toppan
    Photo: Freebase
    Jane Toppan, a nurse with a private practice, racked up dozens of victims between 1885 and her capture near the turn of the century. While in police custody in 1901, she admitted to being aroused by the process of killing and was eventually found to be insane and not guilty of her crimes.

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    Jane Toppan, born Honora Kelley, was an American serial killer. She confessed to 31 murders in 1901. She is quoted as saying that her ambition was "to have killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived...".more

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    • Age: Died at 81 (1857-1938)
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Nurse
    • Place Of Death: Taunton, Massachusetts, United States of America
  4. Nannie Doss was a black widow who went through five husbands before being caught and charged with a slew of murders including those of her five husbands, a mother-in-law, her sisters, two of their children, and her own mother. She was never put to death (because she was a woman) and died in prison at age 59 in 1965.

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    Nannie Doss was an American serial killer responsible for the deaths of 11 people between the 1920s and 1954. She finally confessed to the murders in October 1954, after her fifth husband had died in a small hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In all, it was revealed that she had killed 4 husbands, 2 children, ...more

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    • Age: Died at 60 (1905-1965)
    • Birthplace: Blue Mountain, Alabama, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Leukemia
    • Place Of Death: McAlester, Oklahoma, United States of America
  5. In order to gain access to life insurance money, the nursing home proprietor murdered at least five people by poisoning them. This included her second husband, Michael Gilligan. As for the others, they were lived in her nursing home. She may have killed more people, but that is still unconfirmed. For her crimes,Archer-Gilligan was sentenced to death, but ended up in a mental asylum instead.

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    "Sister" Amy Duggan Archer-Gilligan was a Windsor, Connecticut, nursing home proprietor and multiple murderer. She systematically murdered at least five people by poison; one was her second husband, Michael Gilligan, and the rest were residents of her nursing home. It is possible that she was involved ...more

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    • Age: Died at 94 (1868-1962)
    • Birthplace: Connecticut, United States of America
    • Place Of Death: Middletown, Connecticut, United States of America
  6. West, along with her husband, was convicted of murdering 10 young women in 1995. Most of the crimes occurred between April 1973 and August 1979.

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    Rosemary Pauline "Rose" West is a British serial killer, now an inmate at HMP Low Newton, Brasside, Durham, after being convicted of 10 murders in 1995. Her husband Fred, who committed suicide in prison while awaiting trial, is believed to have collaborated with her in the torture and murder of at least ...more

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    • Age: age 62
    • Birthplace: Barnstaple, United Kingdom
    • Children: Heather Ann West, Mae West, Stephen West
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    Mary Ann Cotton
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Mary Ann Cotton was an English woman convicted of murdering her children. She was believed to have murdered up to 21 people, mainly by arsenic poisoning.more

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    • Age: Died at 41 (1832-1873)
    • Birthplace: County Durham, United Kingdom
    • Cause Of Death: Capital punishment, Hanging
    • Place Of Death: Durham, England
  8. Known as the Angel of Death, Gilbert was responsible for three first-degree murders, a second-degree murder and two additional attempted murders when she was a nurse. She killed patients by injecting them with epinephrine. Gilbert is serving a life sentence.

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    Kristen Heather Gilbert born Kristen Heather Strickland, November 13, 1967 is an American serial killer who was convicted for three first-degree murders, one second-degree murder and two attempted murders of patients admitted for care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Northampton, ...more

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    • Age: age 48
    • Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Nurse
    • Schools: Greenfield Community College
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    Miyuki Ishikawa
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Miyuki Ishikawa was a Japanese midwife and serial killer who is believed to have murdered many infants with the aid of several accomplices throughout the 1940s. It is estimated that her victims numbered between 85 to 169, however the general estimate is 103. When she was finally apprehended, the Tokyo ...more

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    • Birthplace: Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan
    • Schools: University of Tokyo
  10. Juana Barraza, a Mexican wrestler known from her crimes as "La Mataviejitas" (The Old Lady Killer), strangled and killed as many as 49 elderly women in Mexico City during the 1990s until her capture in 2003. She was found guilty of 16 murders and sentenced to 759 years in jail.

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    Juana Barraza is a Mexican professional wrestler and serial killer dubbed La Mataviejitas sentenced to 759 years in jail for killing eleven elderly women. The first murder attributed to Mataviejitas has been dated variously to the late 1990s and to a specific killing on 17 November 2003. The authorities ...more

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    • Age: age 59
    • Birthplace: Hidalgo, Mexico
  11. In 59 days, ">Allitt's killing spree became one of the notorious in British history. She was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to six more. She used insulin and other methods to murder these children, who were as young as seven weeks. Overall, Allitt attacked 13 children and remains in a hospital in England.

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    Beverley Gail Allitt is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six children. The crimes were committed over a period of 59 days between February and April 1991 in the children's ward ...more

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    • Age: age 47
    • Birthplace: England
    • Profession: Nurse
  12. Marybeth Tinning is responsible for the deaths of at least two- and as many as nine- of her children, all before their fifth birthdays. The killings, which occurred between 1972-85, were carried out by smothering the children with a pillow. Tinning eventually confessed to the murders of a daughter and two sons and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison and was denied parole for a fourth time in 2013.

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    Marybeth Roe Tinning is an American prisoner and serial killer serving a sentence of 20 years to life after being convicted of the murder of one of her children. Laboratory testing indicated that the death of Tinning's ninth child resulted from smothering. At that time, the deaths of her other children ...more

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    • Age: age 73
    • Birthplace: Duanesburg, New York, United States of America
    • Schools: Duanesburg High School
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    Elizabeth Báthory
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary known for being a serial killer. She has been labelled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer, though the precise number of her victims is debated. Báthory ...more

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    • Age: Died at 54 (1560-1614)
    • Birthplace: Nyírbátor, Hungary
    • Place Of Death: Čachtice, Slovakia
    • Children: András Nádasdy, Anastasia Báthory, Anna Nádasdy, György Nádasdy, Katalin Nádasdy, + more
  14. Overbye murdered 25 children, including her own during a seven-year killing spree from 1913 to 1920. She was working as a caretaker at the time, caring for children born outside of wedlock. Overbye committed heinous crimes. She strangled, drowned or burned them to death in her masonry heater.

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    Dagmar Johanne Amalie Overbye was a Danish serial killer. She murdered between 9 and 25 children – of which one was her own – during a seven-year period from 1913 to 1920. On March 3, 1921, she was sentenced to death in one of the most talked about trials in Danish history, that changed legislation on ...more

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    • Age: Died at 46 (1883-1929)
  15. Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer. Better known as the "Soap-Maker of Correggio", she murdered three women in Correggio between 1939 and 1940, and turned their bodies into soap and teacakes.more

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    • Age: Died at 76 (1894-1970)
    • Birthplace: Montella, Italy
    • Place Of Death: Pozzuoli, Italy
  16. Born in Norway in 1859, Belle Gunness emigrated to the US where her husband and several children died under mysterious circumstances. Along with several wealthy suitors who went missing, authorities also found numerous corpses in Gunness's yard after a fire engulfed her home leaving behind the charred bodies of her children and a headless corpse which was not thought to be that of Gunness, who was officially declared missing in 1908.

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    Belle Sorenson Gunness was a Norwegian serial killer. Standing six feet tall and weighing over 200 pounds, she was a physically strong woman. She killed most of her suitors and boyfriends, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. She may also have killed both of her husbands and all of her children, on ...more

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    • Age: Died at 49 (1859-1908)
    • Birthplace: Selbu, Norway
    • Place Of Death: La Porte, Indiana, United States of America
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    Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    One of the most brutal killers in history, the Russian noble was responsible for torturing and ">killing over 100 of her serfs, mostly women and young girls.

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    Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova was a Russian sadist, murderer and noble from Moscow who became notorious for torturing and killing over 100 of her serfs, mostly women and girls. Darya Nikolayevna married young into the famous Saltykov family. She was widowed by the age of 26. With her husband's death, she ...more

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    • Age: Died at 71 (1730-1801)
    • Birthplace: Russian Empire
    • Place Of Death: Moscow, Russia
  18. Homolka wasn't a killer in a mastermind way. Instead, she helped her husband Paul murder and rape at least two women, including her sister. She struck a plea bargain with prosecutors and went to jail on the lesser charge of manslaughter in 1993.

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    Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale and Leanne Bordelais, is a convicted Canadian serial killer who helped her husband rape and murder at least three women. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 ...more

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    • Age: age 45
    • Birthplace: Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
    • Schools: Queen's University, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
  19. A prominent figure within the New Orleans social scene, LaLaurie was responsible for the >deaths of her black slaves, who were bound and tortured at her home in 1834. Police discovered them when her house on Royal St. was on fire. LaLaurie fled to Paris where she lived the remainder of her life.

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    Marie Delphine Lalaurie, more commonly known as Madame LaLaurie, was a Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer known for the torture and murder of slaves. Born in New Orleans, Lalaurie married three times over the course of her life. She maintained a prominent position in the social circles of New ...more

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    • Age: Died at 67 (1775-1842)
    • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Place Of Death: Paris, France
  20. Janie Lou Gibbs was an American serial killer from Cordele, Georgia, who killed her three sons, a grandson, and her husband, by poisoning them with rat poison in 1966 and 1967.more

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    • Age: Died at 78 (1932-2010)
    • Birthplace: Georgia, United States of America
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