I’ve compiled a top ten list of the most horrific, individual incidents that resulted in murder in recent times. I’ve steered clear of serial killers, school shootings, bombings and the like to give all you folk some idea of the lesser known crimes that linger within the dark depths of our wonderful world.
You’ll quickly notice that most of these murders involve some form of depraved and brutal torture yet these killers don’t receive the notoriety that serial killers achieve. Killers who remain anonymous, and spread terror and cause anxiety for prolonged periods of time are evidently more feared by society than those who commit these ghastly acts but are captured and locked away before the horror of their act comes to light.
During my research, it was clear that for a lot of these crimes plus those that didn’t make the list, a pattern emerged of both prolonged torture, and a terrifyingly high proportion of victims who were killed by their mother, or other relative.
With the exception of the hi-fi murders, this list has been ordered by the surname of the victim/s.
Warning: A few graphic images have been added
- Kelly Anne Bates
Manchester, UK: 1996
Over a period of 4 weeks, 17yr old Kelly Anne Bates was tortured and eventually murdered by her 49yr old boyfriend James Patterson Smith.
Some of the 150+ injuries found on the dead girl’s body included multiple stabs wounds by knives, forks & scissors, including stab wounds found inside her mouth. She had been burned and scalded all over her legs, and her ears, nose, eyebrows, mouth, lips and genitalia had all been mutilated. And to complete the cringeworthiness if you hadn’t already reached that point, stab wounds were found in Kelly’s empty eye sockets. Both eyes had been gouged out well before her death.
Kelly had lost around 20kg through starvation and had not received any water for several days leading up to her death.
Despite Smith’s pathetic attempt to inform police that his girlfriend had accidently drowned in the bath, the police turned up to find blood in every room of the house. She did actually die by drowning, although reports show she was beaten around the head with a shower head immediately beforehand.
Smith was rightfully sentenced to life in prison. The jury members were given counselling after having to witness photographs of Kelly’s injuries.
In this day and age, it’s amazing how hard it was to find a photo of either Kelly or James online. I still haven’t…
- Kristy Bamu
London, UK: 2010
15yr old Kristy Bamu drowned in a bathtub on Christmas Day. He was brutally murdered because his 29yr old sister Magalie Bamu, and her 28yr old boyfriend Eric Bikubi were trying to produce exorcism as they thought Kristy had used witchcraft.
Kristy had visited the couple for Christmas, along with his siblings, aged 11, 13, 20 and 22. Bikubi started beating them all, accusing them of bringing voodoo (or kindoki) into the home. At one point, all children were made to jump out of the window to see if they could fly.
Bikubi then focused heavily on Kristy, who had wet his pants, claiming he had cast spells on another child. Kristy refused to admit it, and his torture became progressively worse. The sisters, aged 11 and 20 eventually admitted to being witches and were spared further punishment. The brothers, aged 13 and 22, were then made to join in and torture Kristy.
He was struck in the face with a bar and a hammer, knocking out his teeth. Pliers were used to twist his ears, and ceramic tiles and bottles were smashed over his head.
This lasted for 4 days.
All the children were made to get in the bath as Bikubi hosed them down. Kristy wasn’t moving. When paramedics got to the flat, Kristy’s siblings were terrified and hysterical. Kristy was already dead, and they noticed the bloodstains and splatter all around the flat.
At one point Kristy begged his sister to die. He was exhausted and could no longer hold his head above the water when made to get in the bath.
Kristy’s sister Magalie argued that she was forced by Bikubi to join in on the attack of the children however the evidence didn’t support her argument. It was proven that Magalie acted on her own and was just as reponsibile for the torture her brother experienced.
In 2012, Eric Bikubi was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison and Magalie Bamu, a minimum of 25 years. The Judge did not dismiss their beliefs in witchcraft but was quick to point out that it was not an excuse. The Judge also offered counselling to the jurors and due to the nature of this case, excused them from ever having to serve on a jury for the rest of their lives.
- James Bulger
Liverpool, UK: 1993
James Bulger was only 2 years old when he was abducted from a shopping centre and taken to a railway line 4km away. He was beaten and murdered by two 10 year old boys.
The boys walked Jamie across Liverpool to a canal where he was dropped on his head and suffered his first set of injuries to his face. Bystanders ignored the crying, assuming young Jamie was with his older brothers. The older boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables eventually led Jamie up a steep bank to a railway line.
They threw paint into his eye, then kicked and stomped on him, before picking up bricks and stones and pelting his tiny body. One of the boys then picked up a 10kg iron bar and dropped it on Jamie’s skull, fracturing his skull in ten places.
The pathologist was unable to determine which of the 42 injuries Jamie sustained, caused his death.
In a final act of depravity, they laid the two year old’s body across the railway line and weighted the body down with rubble, in a hope a train would “kill” him and make it look like an accident. After they left, Jamie’s body was cut in two by a train.
The boys were charged with murder within weeks. They were eventually found guilty and sentenced to a minimum term of 8 years. In 2001, both boys were released on a lifelong licence (basically permanent parole) and deemed they were no longer a threat to public safety. They were given new identities.
- Channon Christian & Chris Newsomm
Tennessee, US: 2007
21 year old Channon and her 23 year old boyfriend Chris had been dating for about 2 months. They went out for dinner on Saturday, January 6, 2007 and were never seen alive by loved ones again. Chris’s burned corpse was discovered at lunchtime on Sunday near railroad tracks. After further investigation, Channon’s body was eventually found on Tuesday, stuffed in a kitchen trash bin at the home of Lemaricus Davidson.
Channon and Chris were carjacked on the Saturday evening, and taken back to Davidson’s house. Chris was repeatedly raped and sodomized. He was eventually taken to the railroad tracks where he was executed, shot two more times, and then doused with gasoline and set alight.
Chris was shown more mercy than Channon. The young Sociology student from the University of Tennessee was held for days and also repeatedly raped, also with an object, most likely a chair leg. Bleach had been poured down her throat while she was alive.
The sadistic bastards tightly wrapped a garbage bag around Channon’s head, before stuffing her whole body into several more bags. Her body was thrown in the trash bin and she slowly suffocated to death.
They were eventually identified as Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman.
- Davidson was sentenced to death by lethal injection
- Cobbins was sentenced to life with no chance of parole
- Thomas was sentenced to life with no chance of parole
- Coleman was sentenced to 53 years in prison
A fifth man, Dewayne Boyd, who did not take part in the murder or torture of the couple was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in hiding Davidson after the murders.
- Victoria Climbie
London, UK: 2000
During several months of cruelty you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy, 8 year old Victoria Climbie was starved, covered in cigarette burns, and repeatedly beaten with bike chains and belt buckles. Her dainty toes also copped several blows from a hammer. All at the hands of her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao, and her boyfriend Carl Manning.
The fear that filled that poor little girl was enough to make her wet the sofa she slept on, so “father of the year“ Carl makes Victoria go to bed in a bin liner in the bath, hands tied, before she’s tied inside the liner. In the middle of an English winter, she is forced to sleep in an unheated bathroom, in the cold bath, and sleeping in her own faeces. Food was placed on a plastic plate but with her hands tied, 8 year old Victoria had no choice but to push her face into the food and mimic a dog just to eat.
In February 2000 the torture and neglect mercifully ended as she was declared dead. The body was found with 128 different injuries. Both Marie-Therese and Carl would eventually be charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison.
During the trial, Carl commented that “You could beat her and she would not cry at all. She could take the beatings and pain like anything.”
What makes this worse, if that’s even possible is that authorities report there were at least a dozen chances for social workers and medical staff to do something about it and not let it get to this point. Because of this case, the child protection system in the UK was overhauled after an intensive inquiry was held.
- Junko Furata
Tokyo, Japan: 1989
17 year old Junko Furata was walking home from school when she was abducted by a group of young men. 44 days later, she was dead.
She held captive in a house where she was raped over 500 times, one report indicating by at least 100 different men due to one of the offenders links to the Yakuza. She was burned with cigarettes, beaten with iron rods, golf clubs, bamboo sticks and dumbbells. She was forcefed cockroaches and urine, and fireworks were inserted into every bodily opening possible, and set off.
She was stomped on, crushed, hung up and used as a punching bag, stabbed numerous times and set on fire. Every conceivable method of torture was dished out to this poor young girl, some even more sickening than those above.
Junko eventually died when lighter fluid was poured over her body and she was set on fire. It lasted for 2 hours before she succumbed and finally found the peace her captors had not given her for the previous 44 days. Her body was found in a drum filled with over 50 gallons of concrete.
Hiroshi Miyano (18), Shinji Minato (16), Jo Kamisaku (18), and Yasushi Watanabe (17) were caught and all tried as adults. Three of the boys served less than 8 years in jail, the leader Jo Kamisaku was originally given a 17 year prison term and a subsequent appea actually increased it to 20. All four are now out of prison.
- The Hi-Fi murders
Utah, US: 1974
A home audio store in Ogden, Utah became the scene of a ghastly hostage, and then subsequent murder scene in 1974. Five people were held hostage. By the end of the day, three were dead, and two were barely alive with severe injuries.
Three US Air Force airmen, Dale Selby Pierre, Williams Andrews, and Keith Roberts, along with three other men drove to the Hi-Fi store just before it closed. Pierre and Andrews pulled out handguns and entered the shop. The other men remained in the vehicle.
Two workers, Stanley Walker and Michelle Ansley were taken hostage immediately and tied up in the store’s basement, before the two men robbed the store. 16yr old Cortney Naisbitt walked into the store and he too was taken hostage. Two of the hostages parents, Orren Walker, and Carol Naisbitt were worried that their children hadn’t come home. They turned up at the store and were also taken hostage and tied up in the basement.
But the worst of it was to come.
Pierre forced each hostage to drink a blue liquid that he told them was vodka, laced with sleeping pills. It wasn’t. It was Drano. Immeditely, blisters covered their lips, the flesh around their mouths was torn away, and it burned their tongues and throats. In a failed attempt to silence their hostages, duct tape couldn’t stick to their mouths due to the blisters and pus that oozed out.
Pierre thought the Drano would kill them, but when it didn’t, he shot Carol and her young son Cortney Naisbitt in the back of the head. Carol died, Cortney didn’t. He then fatally shot Stanley but missed Orren. He took another shot at Orren but the bullet only grazed the back of his head.
But Pierre wasn’t finished. He forced Ansley to strip then repeatedly and brutally raped her after telling Andrews to leave the room for half an hour. He let Ansley use the toilet, then dragged her back to the other room, threw her on the floor, then fatally shot her in the back of the head.
After Andrews noticed Orren was still alive, Pierre tried to strangle him with wire. When it didn’t work, he inserted a ballpoint pen into Orren’s ear and stomped on it until his eardrum was punctured and the pen exited through the side of Orren’s throat.
The pair decided they were finished. They loaded their van and left.
Cortney Naisbitt survived with irreparable brain damage and Orren Walker survived with extensive burns to his mouth and chin, as well as damage to his ear.
It didn’t take long for police to find the perpetrators after the story hit the news. Pierre was 21 years old at the time and sentenced to death by lethal injection. He was executed in 1987. Andrews was 19 years old at the time and he too was sentenced to death. He was executed in 1992. Roberts was convicted of armed robbery but had no knowledge of the murders. He was paroled in 1987.
- Tim McLean
Manitoba, Canada: 2008
Chinese born Vince Li moved to Canada in 2001 and became a citizen in 2006. He bounced around several jobs before moving to Edmonton. There was no history of violence or angry outbursts but on the night of July 29, 2008 something in the 46 year old snapped.
Li boarded a Greyhound bus from Manitoba bound for Winnipeg. Li sat at the front of the bus. During a scheduled rest stop, Li moved to the rear of the bus and sat next to 22 year old carnival worker Tim McLean. McLean was asleep against the window pane, wearing headphones.
Not long later, one passenger stated they heard a “blood-curdling scream” and turned to see Li produce a Rambo-style knife and robotically stab away at Tim McLean’s neck, chest and throat. Li then decapitated McLean and showed the severed head to other passengers who had already fled the bus and were standing outside. Despite the attempts of the driver and other passengers to rescue Mr. McLean, it proved futile and Li went back to the corpse and sliced off body parts, consuming some of the flesh.
To be fair to Li, he honestly, genuinely thought he was beheading an alien and God told him that if he didn’t destroy Mr. McLean, McLean would then go and destroy other people. I know some carnival workers can have a bad reputation, but come on…
Li was eventually shot with a Taser and arrested. He was found to have the victim’s ear, nose and tongue in his pockets. In March 2009, Li was found to be paranoid schizophrenic and pleaded not criminally responsible, which the Judge agreed with. Li was remanded to a Mental Health Clinic.
- Terry Neely
Arizona, US: 2009
Terry Neely, confined to a wheelchair, visited 38 year old Angela Simpson on the promise of sex and drugs. Three days later, Terry Neely was dead.
Angela Simpson lured Neely to her apartment then proceeded to torture him and made him watch the whole episode in front of a mirror. She beat him with a tire iron, and a hammer, before yanking his teeth out. She also strangled him with a TV wire.
The autopsy showed Neely had suffered blunt-force head trauma and a 3-inch nail had been hammered into his brain. He was stabbed over 50 times and his throat had been sliced. Neely’s body was found charred and left burning in a trash can. Angela Simpson was rightly sentenced in 2012 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If it was up to Simpson, she would have kept him alive and continued the torture for a week, and that she had no remorse for killing Neely, her only regret being that she couldn’t kill more.
- Shanda Sharer
Indiana, US: 1992
Shanda Sharer was 12 years old when she was abducted, tortured, and burned alive. The perpetrators were teenage girls; Toni Lawrence (15), Hope Rippey (15), Laurie Tackett (17) and the main protagonist 14 year old Melinda Loveless.
In a story that mimicking a high-school drama, it started when Loveless started dating another girl, Amanda Heavrin, however the relationship deteriorated and Amanda became good friends with Shanda, much to the disgust of Loveless.
Fast-forward 3 months to January 1992.
With the help of Lawrence, Rippey, and Tackett, none of whom had ever met Shanda, Loveless abducted Shanda around midnight and the four girls drove their victim to a deserted garbage dump in a densely forested area.
They made Shanda strip naked before repeatedly punching her and kneeing her in the face. 14 year old Loveless tried to slit Shanda’s throat but the knife she held was dull. Loveless, with the help of Tackett then took turns stabbing Shanda in the chest while she was pinned to the ground by Rippey. They stranged her with rope and she was placed, unconscious, into the trunk of the car.
They drove to Tackett’s house, only to realise Shanda was screaming in the trunk of the car. Tackett took a paring knife, opened the trunk, and stabbed Shanda several times. Hours later, after another drive in the country, they opened the trunk. Shanda sat up. She couldn’t speak. Her eyes rolled back in her head. Tackett took to her with a tire iron until she couldn’t make any further noise.
But they weren’t finished.
Just before sunrise, the girls took another drive to another deserted area well-known by Rippey. They filled up with gas on the way, and also filled up a Pepsi bottle with gasoline. They carried Shanda, who was wrapped in a blanket, out into the field. They poured gasoline and set her on fire. Not convinced that she was dead, Loveless returned and poured more gasoline over her.
The girls had told of their act to other friends and they were arrested two days later. Shanda was identified using dental records.
Tackett and Loveless were sentenced to 60 years. Rippey was also sentenced to 60 years, with 10 years suspended for mitigating circumstances, plus 10 years of probation. Lawrence was released in 2000, after serving 9 years. Rippey was released in 2006 on parole after serving 14 years of her original 60 year sentence. She remained on parole for a further 5 years.
So which horrific murders made your list? Which of those above horrify you more than others? Leave a comment and let me know!
For my Australian readers, some notable absentees who almost made the list were Anita Cobby, Katherine Knight & young Ebony from Hawks Nest. I just couldn’t quite rank them ahead of the atrocities above.