Every decade or so, a notorious serial killer gains media attention by getting sloppy and eventually getting caught. Now, imagine what those murderers might have accomplished if they had a partner to help in their crimes. Here are 5 killer couples and the many heinous crimes they committed.
1. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady – Murder in the Moors
Everything changed for Myra Hindley when she met Ian Brady in the summer of 1963. Myra was instantly attracted to the bad boy, and the two quickly became a couple. Not long after, Ian began to open up to Myra about deep seeded, secret pleasures he had never shared with anyone. He told her that he desired to commit the perfect murder.
The couple got to talking and made a plan. They drove around Myra’s neighborhood until they came across sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade, who was on her way home from a dance. Myra convinced the girl to go with her to the local moors and help her find a glove she had lost. Ian, who had followed behind on his motorcycle, took Pauline to a secluded spot, raped her, then slit her throat.
From that fateful day in July until October 1965, the couple coerced and killed four other children along the moors. Each victim was sexually assaulted by Ian before he murdered them. The only victim that wasn’t tricked to the fields was their last victim, seventeen-year-old Edward Evans. Ian got into an argument with Edward while at his and Myra’s home, and wound up beating the man to death with the blunt end of an axe.
Unfortunately for Ian, Myra’s brother in law witnessed this horrific event and contacted the police. Edward’s body was found in the spare bedroom, and Ian and Myra were promptly arrested. Both were sentenced to life in prison. Myra died in a jail cell in 2002 at the age of sixty. Ian Brady died in May 2017, and was declared mentally insane in 1985. In the years leading to his death he resided in a mental hospital and expressed zero desire to ever be released.
2. Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood – Love and Lunacy
In 1986, Gwen Graham became a nurse’s aide at a nursing home in Walker, Michigan. There, she met and fell in love with Cathy Wood, a fellow aide. During the following winter, Gwen expressed her need to let off some steam. The couple devised a plan to kill one of the patients at Alpine Manor.
Cathy operated as lookout while Gwen smothered an Alzheimer’s patient with a washcloth. They proceeded to murder four more patients and were never suspected. Everything crashed and burned in 1988, however, when Gwen left Cathy for another woman and moved to Texas. Cathy eventually married a man and admitted what she and Gwen had done at Alpine Manor.
Cathy’s husband immediately turned her into authorities. She arranged a plea bargain in exchange for providing details of each crime. She told police how Gwen had dominated her, and had been in charge of planning and executing each murder. Cathy was charged with one count of second-degree murder, while Gwen was charged with five life sentences.
Shockingly enough, specialists who have studied the case now believe that Cathy was actually the mastermind behind each murder, and she was the one who committed the crimes, forcing Gwen to act as lookout. Cathy had reversed their roles when speaking to the police to punish Gwen for leaving her for another woman.
3. Judith and Alvin Neelley – Hotel Homicides
Judith Adams was only fifteen when she met and fell in love with Alvin Neelley, a twenty-six year old man who made his living by stealing cars. The two eloped and began committing a slew of robberies all across the United States. But soon robberies were not enough to satiate the couple.
In September 1982, Judith and Alvin kidnapped a thirteen-year-old girl in Georgia. They drove her to a motel in Alabama where they tied her up and raped her. Fearing the girl would tell the police of their crimes, Judith began injecting drain cleaner into her veins in an attempt to poison her. When this plan failed, Judith shot the girl and tossed her body over a cliff.
The couple met Janice and John, a newly engaged couple, just a few days later. They shot John and took Janice to a hotel, where they tortured and killed her. John did not die from his wound, however, and he called the police and told them what had happened. Judith and Alvin were arrested. Judith was eighteen when she was sentenced to death, making her the youngest woman to ever be on death row in the United States. Luckily for her, her sentence was reduced to life in prison just a few days before her scheduled execution date. Alvin died in prison in 2005.
4. Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo – Betrayal in the Basement
Karla and Paul became practically inseparable not long after they met in 1987. Paul had grown up in an abusive and sexually incestuous household, which gave birth to his own sadistic desires. Rather than frighten Karla away, she encouraged Paul to act on his dark desires. The couple began their violent journey by drugging and raping Tammy, Karla’s fifteen-year-old sister. They took turns videotaping each other molesting the girl until she choked to death on her own vomit. Karla and Paul called the police, but only after they had cleared the area of evidence.
A year later, the couple kidnapped, raped and killed fourteen-year-old Leslie Mahaffy, videotaping the entire crime. They dismembered her body and buried her limbs in wet cement. They then kidnapped fifteen-year-old Kristen French and recorded their rape, torture and murder of her.
By May of 1992, Paul’s friends began to suspect there was more to their friend than met the eye. Police took samples of Paul’s DNA shortly before he and Karla got into a horrible argument. After Paul severely beat Karla, she went to the police and confessed to their crimes. Paul was then also tied with nine rapes between May 1987 – 1990. Karla agreed to serve twelve years in prison in exchange for her testimony against Paul. Paul was sentenced to life in prison on September 1, 1995.
5. Fred and Rose West – A Tale of Incest and Brutality
Fred West’s thirst for violence and incest began when he was just a young man. He was arrested for having sex with his sister in 1961. Estranged from his family, Fred eventually met and married a woman named Catherine, and raised Catherine’s daughter, Charmaine as his own. The couple had a daughter, Anna Marie, in 1964.
The couple befriended a young lady named Anne McFall, who moved in with them shortly before their divorce. Catherine left Charmaine and Anna Marie with their father, who quickly began an affair with Anne McFall. Pregnant with Fred’s child, Anne was eventually murdered and dismembered by Fred when the couple had an argument.
In 1969, Fred met Rosemary Letts, the true love of his life. Rose quickly became pregnant and had a daughter, whom they named Heather Ann. While Fred served time in prison for stealing, Rose took care of Charmaine, Anna Marie, and Heather Ann, and began to physically abuse them. When Charmaine began to fight back, Rose murdered her and stored her body in the cellar. Catherine came to visit her daughters shortly after Fred’s release from prison, but she was sexually molested and strangled to death by Fred and Rose.
In 1972, Fred and Rose were married, and Rose began to prostitute herself. She wound up having several children, whom Fred raised as his own. Their children were subjected to abuse and rape by both Fred and Rose. They eventually murdered their daughter, Heather, when she began telling her friends about her mother’s profession. The killer couple also began to lure young women to their house, telling them they needed a nanny. Fred and Rose tortured, raped and murdered nine women in this manner.
The couple finally gained police attention in May of 1992, when one of their daughters told a friend her father had raped her. Numerous bodies were discovered in the cellar and the backyard, and Fred and Rose were both arrested. Fred was charged with eleven murders, while Rose was charged with nine. Both were sentenced to life in prison, but Fred hung himself in his cell in 1995.
World’s Most Killer Couples
Driven by lust, power, and violence, the couples who have made it on this list are some of the deadliest people in American history. The only comfort one can take from these gruesome accounts is the fact that everyone involved in these crimes have been successfully apprehended.