Friday, 10 June 2011


Internet homicide refers to a killing in which victim and perpetrator met online, in some cases having known each other previously only through the Internet. Also Internet killer is an appellation found in media reports for a person who broadcasts the crime of murder online or who murders a victim met through the Internet, The first known murder of a victim met online was in 1996.[6]  Depending on the venue used, other terms used in the media are Internet chat room killer, Craigslist killer, Internet serial killer. Internet homicide can also be part of an Internet suicide pact or consensual homicide. Some commentators believe that reports on these homicides have overemphasized their connection to the Internet

Serial killers

Serial killers are murderers who target three or more victims sequentially, with a "cooling off" period between each murder, and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification.[8][9] According to Paul Bocj, the author of Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family, "The idea that a serial killer may have operated via the Internet is, understandably, one that has resulted in a great deal of public anxiety."[10] In Harold Schecter's A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, the entry for "Internet" reads in part: "If the Internet has become a very useful tool for people interested in serial killers, there's some indication that it may also prove to be a resource for serial killers themselves."[11] Maurice Godwin, a forensic consultant, argued that "There are some sadistic predators that rely on the Mardi Gras Effect ["the ability to hide one's identity on the Internet"] to lure and murder repeatedly."[12] The first serial killer known to have used the Internet to find victims was John Edward Robinson, who was arrested in 2000 and was referred to in Law Enforcement News as the "USA's first Internet serial killer" and "the nation's first documented serial killer to use the Internet as a means of luring victims."

Chat rooms
Further information: internet suicide

"Internet homicide" has been described as crime that occurs when a killer succeeds in "luring a person from a chat room to an actual meeting," which "can turn deadly."

In 1996, a Maryland internet entrepreneur named Sharon Lopatka arranged for her own torture and strangulation over the Internet. The man who killed her was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. A murderer who found victims via suicide chat rooms and/or web sites was the Japanese serial killer Hiroshi Maeue. One internet killer, Lisa M. Montgomery, met her victim in a rat terrier fancier's chatroom called "Ratter Chatter."

In June 2003, a teenage boy in Altrincham, England, identified in the press only as "John," used protracted chat room conversations with another teen, "Mark," to entice Mark to murder him. This was not a case of consensual homicide, because Mark did not know he was being set up to kill John, but rather thought he was going to be killing a female secret service agent. John's intended internet chat room suicide-by-homicide failed when Mark only succeeded in seriously wounding him and then called the authorities. On May 29, 2004, John pleaded guilty to inciting someone to murder him and was sentenced to three years supervision; Mark pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to two years supervision. The boys were forbidden to contact each other

Online advertisements
Further information: Lonely hearts killer

As an article in the New York Daily News explained in 2009, "Long before there was a craigslist or dot-com dating, there were places where men and women who were too shy or busy to meet face to face could find romance. Calling themselves "matrimonial bureaus," these organizations were known mostly as the "lonely hearts clubs," and they flourished through the middle of the 20th century."[25] It was in venues like these -- print media such as newspaper classified ads and personal or lonely hearts club ads -- that 20th century murderers such as Harry Powers, the so-called "Matrimonial Bureau Murderer," and Harvey Carignan, "the Want Ad Killer" met their victims.

Electronic advertising has gradually replaced printed ads and the internet is now a venue where murderers who employ a similar modus operandi can meet their victims; in Schecter's Encyclopedia, the entry for "Ads" mentions internet dating and the use of internet ads by the so-called "Internet Cannibal" Armin Meiwes. Since 2007, several accused and convicted killers have contacted victims through advertising services such as Craigslist, a popular classified advertising website. These killers are sometimes referred to in the media as "Craigslist killers"; the first use of the term Craigslist killings may date to October 31, 2007, when the phrase appeared in a headline in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, in reference to the murder of Katherine Olson by Michael John Anderson, who was then dubbed "the Craigslist killer".

Since 2007, several suspected and convicted perpetrators have met their victims or solicited murder through Craigslist. Of these, two were convicted for crimes in the three-month period encompassing February to April 2009 and a further four were accused of crimes during the 13-month span of March 2008 through April 2009.Although, by definition, Craigslist will have been the initial contact point and a killing will have taken place in order for the suspected, accused, or convicted perpetrator to be dubbed a Craigslist killer, the actual motivations of these criminals are varied. The victims' deaths may result from a robbery or a sexual encounter that turned violent. Some of these perpetrators may not have intended to commit murder, but killed their victims during the course of a struggle or to prevent capture. Each case is different.
[edit] Internet dating
See also: Internet relationship

According to Michael Largo, the author of Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, "Internet dating is becoming very popular, but since 1995, there's been[...] over 400 instances where a homicide has been related to the person that [the victim] met online."

Several legal and technology experts have questioned the idea that there is a phenomenon of "internet killings". A legal theorist pressed for an "internet angle" on a murder by a journalist related that "I asked her whether, if I called her up and asked her out on a blind date and murdered her, she would think it was a "telephone-related murder"?

 Leslie Harris, CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology said of the term "Craigslist Killer" that "A great many of the tragic incidents that tangentially involve the Internet have little or nothing to do with the Internet itself. The Craigslist case is the latest example of that phenomenon. Craigslist is an innovative and valuable resource, which frankly, is being unfairly smeared because it is an Internet site."[7] The book Hypercrime argues that "The more one looks, the more these widely circulated instances of 'cyberkilling' appear to vanish into the smoke of a 'cyberspace'."[4] Susan Brenner, a professor of law and technology wrote that "Is it a cybercrime for John to meet Mary on the Internet, correspond with her and use e-mail to lure her to a meeting where he kills her? News stories often describe conduct such as this as a cybercrime, or as 'Internet murder.' But why is this anything other than murder? We do not, for example, refer to killings orchestrated over the telephone as 'tele-murder' or by snail mail as 'mail murder.' It seems that this is not a cybercrime, that it is simply a real-world crime the commission of which happens to involve the use of computer technology," but she conceded that "there may be reasons to treat conduct such as this differently and to construe it as something other than a conventional crime."[35]

 Notable Internet homicides

    This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

The following individuals have been arrested and/or convicted of crimes in which police claimed that Internet services such as chat rooms and Craigslist advertisements were used to contact victims or hire a murderer. Despite sharing a similar method of contacting victims, they apparently have varied motivations. In the list below, the victims' deaths may have been premeditated, especially if the perpetrator is a serial killer, but they may also have resulted from a robbery, insurance fraud, or a sexual encounter that turned violent.

    * Michael John Anderson was convicted of murdering Katherine Olson in Minnesota in October 2007. According to an article in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, "The 19-year-old Savage man used craigslist to lure Katherine Ann Olson to his home for a fictitious baby-sitting job, then shot her in the back."

    * In 1998, Chris Dean, a truck driver from Indiana, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 17-year-old Chris Marquis from Vermont. Marquis operated a scam in which he would pose as the 27-year-old proprietor of a fictional shop called the CB Shack, and offer to trade merchandise with people online. When people sent Marquis their goods, he would either not send anything back or would send something old or broken. Dean fell victim to this, built a pipe bomb and mailed it to Marquis, killing him and injuring his mother.

    * Robert Frederick Glass, a computer analyst from North Carolina killed Sharon Lopatka by torture and strangulation in a case of apparent consensual homicide on October 16, 1996. Lopatka used the Internet, where she also advertised pornography related to unusual sexual fetishes, to locate Glass, who was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the crime.

    * Christian Grotheer, known as "Germany's First Internet Killer," confessed to two murders in 2009. According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, he admitted to "murdering women he met in online chat rooms."

    * David Heiss, a 21 year old German office worker, became infatuated with a British girl, Joanna Witton, 20, who along with her boyfriend Matthew Pyke, 20, was an administrator of the Advance Wars series fansite, Wars Central. After his advances were rebuffed, including two visits, Heiss traveled to the UK once more and stabbed Matthew Pyke to death. He was jailed for life in May 2009. A police spokesman noted that, "While this is an extremely unusual case, one thing is clear and that is that Heiss used the internet to harass and stalk Joanna and Matthew. He eventually found out where they lived and other information about them that enabled him to carry out his plans. We should all consider the amounts of personal information we share on web systems like MSN and on internet forums."

    * John Katehis, a teenager, was arrested and indicted for the murder of ABC radio news reporter George Weber in New York in March, 2009. The two had met through Craigslist, and journals such as The Advocate called the suspect an "Alleged Craigslist Killer".

    * Bernard George Lamp, a 51 year old resident of Troutman, North Carolina was charged with murder and first-degree kidnapping on March 22, 2008 in the death of a woman of Cornelius, North Carolina; according to news reports, she had "had agreed to meet the man accused of killing her after encountering him on Craigslist."[43]

    * Ann Marie Linscott, a 49 year old Michigan woman, was arrested in January 2008 for soliciting murder on Craigslist, where she offered $5,000 "for someone willing to kill the unsuspecting wife of a man she'd begun an affair with online"; in February, 2009, she was found guilty of attempted murder-for-hire and sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison.[31]

    * Hiroshi Maeue was known as the "Suicide Website Murderer". According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, this killer utilized "suicide websites [as] an aid to murder". Although he posed online as someone who wished to carry out internet suicide pacts, he choked his victims to death when they met in person.

    * Edward Frank Manuel, arrested in January 2003, was dubbed the "Internet suicide chat room killer" by United Press International and other news sources.

    * Philip Markoff, known as "The Craigslist killer" in numerous news reports, was arrested and indicted in April, 2009 for the murder of Julissa Brisman and for other attacks against women that occurred in Massachusetts and Rhode Island; he had met the women through their online advertisements in Craigslist, where they had advertised erotic services.It is unknown whether Markoff was guilty of the charges. He committed suicide in jail on August 15, 2010, several months prior to the scheduled trial.)

    * Armin Meiwes, known as the "Rotenburg Cannibal" and "The Internet Cannibal", was convicted in 2004 of the consenual suicide-murder pact crime of killing and eating a man whom he had met through the internet.

    * Lisa M. Montgomery, also known as "the Womb Robber", assumed a false persona as an online chat room dog buyer in order to meet with a woman whom she already knew to be pregnant, then killed the woman in order to steal her fetus on December 17, 2004; she was convicted of murder on October 22, 2007; the baby survived.

    * Thomas Montgomery, a 47-year-old married man was convicted in 2007 of murdering a workmate in a case called the "Internet Chatroom Murder". He posed as "Tommy", a 21-year-old marine, and began an online relationship with a 17-year-old called Jessi. A workmate of his, 22-year-old Brian Barrett, subsequently began an online relationship with the same girl after Montgomery's deception was revealed, and Montgomery shot him in their work car park. "Jessi" was actually a middle-aged woman who had been using pictures of her daughter. A police officer said of Montgomery: "he became a completely different person online". Another commented that: "It's very odd that someone would take another's life over jealousy of a person you've never laid your eyes on".[49][50] A documentary about this case entitledTalhotblond (Jessi's screen name) was released in 2009.

    * John Edward Robinson, known in the media as "The Internet Slave Master" and "the first Internet serial killer", met his victims through the Internet and tortured them to death.

    * Korena Roberts was arrested in June 2009 for allegedly killing 21-year-old Heather Snively—who was eight-months pregnant—and her fetus, by cutting open her abdomen. They were reported to have met on through an advertisement by Roberts on Craigslist for the sale of baby clothes.

    * In 2009, Anthony Powell, a 28-year-old student at the Henry Ford Community College in Detroit, shot and killed fellow student, 20 year old Asia McGowan, before shooting himself. Powell had a history of mental illness and used his Youtube account to make hate videos against black women and atheists. McGowan also had an account at Youtube. Powell became obsessed with McGowan through her account, and began stalking her on both Youtube and Facebook. He had decided that black women like McGowan were naturally promiscuous, and had made videos with titles such as "Black Women Don't Deserve Respect", shortly before killing McGowan. It is worth noting that many of Powell's videos were so concerning that many Ī„outube users contacted the Detroit police about them.

    * In 2008, Hughstan Schlicker, A 15 year old from Mesa, Arizona, shot his father, Ted Schlicker, in the back of the head. After Hughstan had threatened to kill himself on Myspace, Ted—worried that his son might kill himself—had banned Hughstan from the Internet; as a result, Hughstan had become hateful to his father. Ted also had hidden the family shotgun. However, after Hughstan played hookey from school, he found the gun hidden in a shed, waited at home for his father, and then shot him in the back of the head as his father entered the house. Hughstan then planned to kill himself but was unable to follow this through.

 Depictions in popular culture

    This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

The theme of internet homicide has proven popular in fiction, with examples seen in books, television shows, and movies, in a number of which the murderer is referred to as "the Internet Killer" by other characters.

The following examples are listed by date order of publication or broadcast; three of them predate the arrest in 2000 of John Edward Robinson, thought by law enforcement to be "the first Internet serial killer":

    * The second season of the TV series Millennium featured an episode called The Mikado, about a serial killer based loosely upon the Zodiac Killer. The killer would contact people on internet chat groups, kidnap them and then broadcast their death live via a webcam once the site counter reached a certain level. The killer gave clues to the authorities by embedding video and audio files in website images, as well using the IP address itself as a clue. The episode was aired on 1998-02-06, thus being the first time an "internet killer" was featured in popular culture. Frank Black, the show's protagonist, opined "the Devil has a new playground"

    * Strangeland was a 1998 film written by Dee Snider about a schizophrenic sexual sadist who lures victims via the Internet, forcing them to submit to ancient tribal rituals. "I came up with the idea of Internet crime before anybody had ever committed Internet crime," Snider has said.

    * Homicide: Life on the Streets, a television series police drama, featured an extended multi-week storyline in May 1999 in which a character named Luke Ryland was known as "The Internet Killer."

    * Diagnosis: Murder, a television series crime drama, featured a character called the "Internet Killer" in June, 1999.

    * Lessons of Love was a 2001 novel in which a female police officer deals with a character named "The Internet Killer" (Police officer Cassandra O'Rourke sighed as she listened to the call on the radio. The Internet Killer had struck again.)

    * FeardotCom was a 2002 movie about a killer internet web site. The plot summary at IMDb reads, Four bodies are found in New York City. Why, why, why? The coincidence? They all died 48 hours after logging on to a site named Tough detective Mike Reilly collaborates with Department of Health associate Terry Huston to research these mysterious deaths. The only way to find out though what really happened is to enter the site itself.

    * The Card Player (Il cartaio) was a 2004 film made in Italy; written and directed by Dario Argento, it tells the story of a policewoman from Rome who teams up with a British Interpol agent to track down an internet serial killer who abducts and kills young women and broadcasts the crimes via Internet web cam.

    * The Netroom Predator by Nicholas Bain was a 2007 novel in which the antagonist is a character called "the Internet Killer" (The Taylor homicide was the work of the Internet Killer!" Lee proclaimed. "You got the coroner's report?" Jim guessed. "No, just unofficial confirmation .

    * Dead Connection by Alafair Burke was a 2007 novel in which, according to the book's cover copy, "a rookie detective goes undercover on the internet dating scene to draw out a serial killer."

    * Untraceable was a 2008 Sony Pictures film starring Diane Lane in which FBI agent Jennifer Marsh was tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posted live videos of his victims on the Internet.

    * Symphony for the Forgotten was a 2008 book collecting "dark fiction" stories by Angeline Hawkes, with "historical epics slipstreaming into alternate realities mixed with tales modern as an internet killer..


Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with "malice aforethought", and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide  (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals close to the victim, as well as the fact that the commission of a murder is highly detrimental to the good order within society, most societies both present and in antiquity have considered it a most serious crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. In most countries, a person convicted of murder is typically given a long prison sentence, possibly a life sentence where permitted, and in some countries, the death penalty may be imposed for such an act though this practice is becoming rarer. A person who commits murder is called a murderer.

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with "malice aforethought", and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide  (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals close to the victim, as well as the fact that the commission of a murder is highly detrimental to the good order within society, most societies both present and in antiquity have considered it a most serious crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. In most countries, a person convicted of murder is typically given a long prison sentence, possibly a life sentence where permitted, and in some countries, the death penalty may be imposed for such an act though this practice is becoming rarer. A person who commits murder is called a murderer.

Legal analysis of murder

William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder as

    when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in being and under the king's peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied.

The elements of common law murder are:

   1. unlawful
   2. Killing
   3. of a human being
   4. with malice aforethought.

The killing—At common law life ended with cardiopulmonary arrest[4]—the total and permanent cessation of blood circulation and respiration. With advances in medical technology courts have adopted irreversible cessation of all brain function as marking the end of life.

of a human being—This element presents the issue of when life begins. At common law a fetus was not a human being. Life began when the fetus passed through the birth canal and took its first breath.[4]

by another human being—at early common law suicide was considered murder.[4] The requirement that the person killed be someone other than the perpetrator excluded suicide from the definition of murder.

with malice aforethought—originally malice aforethought carried its everyday meaning—a deliberate and premeditated killing of another motivated by ill will. Murder necessarily required that an appreciable time pass between the formation and execution of the intent to kill. The courts broadened the scope of murder by eliminating the requirement of actual premeditation and deliberation as well as true malice. All that was required for malice aforethought to exist is that the perpetrator act with one of the four states of mind that constitutes "malice".

The four states of mind recognized as constituting "malice" are:

   1. Intent to kill,
   2. Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
   3. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart"), or
   4. Intent to commit a dangerous felony (the "felony-murder" doctrine).

Under state of mind (i), intent to kill, the deadly weapon rule applies. Thus, if the defendant intentionally uses a deadly weapon or instrument against the victim, such use authorizes a permissive inference of intent to kill. Examples of deadly weapons and instruments include but are not limited to guns, knives, deadly toxins or chemicals or gases and even vehicles when intentionally used to harm a victim.

Under state of mind (iii), an "abandoned and malignant heart", the killing must result from defendant's conduct involving a reckless indifference to human life and a conscious disregard of an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury. An example of this is a 2007 law in California where an individual could be convicted of third-degree murder if he or she kills another person while operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances.

Under state of mind (iv), the felony-murder doctrine, the felony committed must be an inherently dangerous felony, such as burglary, arson, rape, robbery or kidnapping. Importantly, the underlying felony cannot be a lesser included offense such as assault, otherwise all criminal homicides would be murder as all are felonies.

Many jurisdictions divide murder by degrees. The most common divisions are between first and second degree murder. Generally second degree murder is common law murder with first degree being an aggravated form. The aggravating factors that distinguish first degree murder from second degree are first degree murder requires a specific intent to kill and premeditation and deliberation. In addition murder committed by acts such as strangulation, poisoning, or lying in wait are treated as first degree murder


One of the oldest known prohibitions against murder appears in the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu written sometime between 2100 and 2050 BC. The code states, "If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed." The payment of weregild  was an important legal mechanism in early Germanic society; the other common form of legal reparation at this time was blood revenge. If someone was killed, the guilty person would have to pay weregild to the victim's family.

In Abrahamic religions, the prohibition against murder is one of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses in (Exodus: 20v13) and (Deuteronomy 5v17) (See Murder in the Bible). The Vulgate and subsequent early English translations of the Bible used the term secretly killeth his neighbour or smiteth his neighbour secretly rather than murder for the Latin clam percusserit proximum.[6][7]

Later editions such as Young's Literal Translation and the World English Bible have translated the Latin occides simply as murder[8][9] rather than the alternatives of kill, assassinate, fall upon or slay. Christian churches have some doctrinal differences about what forms of homicide are prohibited biblically, though all agree murder is.[citation needed]

In Islam according to the Qur'an, one of the greatest sins is to kill a human being who has committed no fault. "For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind."[Qur'an 5:32] "Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; - and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. "[Qur'an 25:68]

The term 'Assassin' derives from Hashshashin,[10] a militant Ismaili Shi-ite sect, active from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. This mystic secret society killed members of the Abbasid, Fatimid, Seljuq and Crusader elite for political and religious reasons.[11] The Thuggee cult that plagued India was devoted to Kali, the goddess of death and destruction.[12][13] A very conservative estimate is that the Thugs murdered 1 million people between 1740 and 1840.[14] The Aztecs believed that without regular offerings of blood the sun god Huitzilopochtli would withdraw his support for them and destroy the world as they knew it.[15] According to Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, "between 10,000 and 80,400 persons" were sacrificed in the 1487 re-consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan.[16][17]


    * Unlawful killings without malice or intent are considered manslaughter.
    * Justified or accidental killings are considered homicides. Depending on the circumstances, these may or may not be considered criminal offenses.
    * Suicide is not considered murder in most societies. Assisting a suicide, however, may be considered murder in some circumstances.
    * Capital punishment ordered by a legitimate court of law as the result of a conviction in a criminal trial with due process for a serious crime.
    * Killing of enemy combatants by lawful combatants in accordance with lawful orders in war, although illicit killings within a war may constitute murder or homicidal war crimes. (see the Laws of war article)
    * The administration of lethal drugs by a doctor to a terminally ill patient, if the intention is solely to alleviate pain, is seen in many jurisdictions as a special case (see the doctrine of double effect and the case of Dr John Bodkin Adams).[20]
    * In some cases, killing a person who is attempting to kill another can be classified as self-defense and thus, not murder.


Acting in self-defense or in defense of another person is generally accepted as legal justification for killing a person in situations that would otherwise have been murder. However, a self-defense killing might be considered manslaughter if the killer established control of the situation before the killing took place. In the case of self-defense it is called a "justifiable homicide".[21] A killing simply to prevent the theft of one's property may not be a justifiable homicide, depending on the laws of a place.

All jurisdictions require that the victim be a natural person; that is a human being who was still alive at the time of being murdered. In other words, under the law, one cannot murder a cadaver, a corporation, a non-human animal, or any other non-human organism[clarification needed].

California's murder statute, Penal Code Section 187, was interpreted by the Supreme Court of California in 1994 as not requiring any proof of the viability of the fetus as a prerequisite to a murder conviction.[22] This holding has two counterintuitive implications. The first is that a defendant in California can be convicted of murder for terminating a fetus which the mother herself could have terminated without committing any crime.[22] The even stranger part of this holding, as pointed out by Justice Stanley Mosk in his dissent: because women carrying nonviable fetuses may not be visibly pregnant, a defendant can be convicted of intentionally murdering a person he did not even know existed.[22]
Mitigating circumstances

Some countries allow conditions that "affect the balance of the mind" to be regarded as mitigating circumstances. This means that a person may be found guilty of "manslaughter" on the basis of "diminished responsibility" rather than murder, if it can be proved that the killer was suffering from a condition that affected their judgment at the time. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and medication side-effects are examples of conditions that may be taken into account when assessing responsibility.

Mental disorder may apply to a wide range of disorders including psychosis caused by schizophrenia and dementia, and excuse the person from the need to undergo the stress of a trial as to liability. Usually, sociopathy and other personality disorders are not legally considered insanity, because of the belief they are the result of free will in many societies. In some jurisdictions, following the pre-trial hearing to determine the extent of the disorder, the defense of "not guilty by reason of insanity" may be used to get a not guilty verdict.[23] This defense has two elements:

   1. That the defendant had a serious mental illness, disease, or defect.
   2. That the defendant's mental condition, at the time of the killing, rendered the perpetrator unable to determine right from wrong, or that what he or she was doing was wrong.

Under New York law, for example:

    § 40.15 Mental disease or defect. In any prosecution for an offense, it is an affirmative defense that when the defendant engaged in the proscribed conduct, he lacked criminal responsibility by reason of mental disease or defect. Such lack of criminal responsibility means that at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, he lacked substantial capacity to know or appreciate either: 1. The nature and consequences of such conduct; or 2. That such conduct was wrong.

Under the French Penal Code:

    Article 122-1

        * A person is not criminally liable who, when the act was committed, was suffering from a psychological or neuropsychological disorder which destroyed his discernment or his ability to control his actions.
        * A person who, at the time he acted, was suffering from a psychological or neuropsychological disorder which reduced his discernment or impeded his ability to control his actions, remains punishable; however, the court shall take this into account when it decides the penalty and determines its regime.

Those who successfully argue a defense based on a mental disorder are usually referred to mandatory clinical treatment until they are certified safe to be released back into the community, rather than prison.[24]
Post-partum depression

Some countries, such as Brazil, Canada, Mexico , Italy, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, allow postpartum depression (also known as post-natal depression) as a defense against murder of a child by a mother, provided that a child is less than two years old (this may be the specific offense of infanticide rather than murder and include the effects of lactation and other aspects of post-natal care).[citation needed]

For a killing to be considered murder, there normally needs to be an element of intent. For this argument to be successful, the killer generally needs to demonstrate that they took precautions not to kill and that the death could not have been anticipated or was unavoidable, whatever action they took. As a general rule, manslaughter[25] constitutes reckless killing, while criminally negligent homicide is a grossly negligent killing.[26]
Diminished capacity

In those jurisdictions using the Uniform Penal Code, such as California, diminished capacity may be a defense. For example, Dan White used this defense[27] to obtain a manslaughter conviction, instead of murder, in the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
Aggravating circumstances

Murder with specified aggravating circumstances is often punished more harshly. Depending on the jurisdiction, such circumstances may include:

    * Premeditation
    * Poisoning
    * Murder of a police officer, judge, fireman or witness to a crime[28]
    * Where the victim was a pregnant woman[29]
    * Committed for pay or other reward[30]
    * Exceptional brutality or cruelty

In the United States, these murders are referred to as first-degree or aggravated murders.
Year-and-a-day rule
Main article: Year and a day rule

In some common law jurisdictions, a defendant accused of murder is not guilty if the victim survives for longer than one year and one day after the attack.[31] This reflects the likelihood that if the victim dies, other factors will have contributed to the cause of death, breaking the chain of causation. Subject to any statute of limitations, the accused could still be charged with an offence representing the seriousness of the initial assault.

With advances in modern medicine, most countries have abandoned a fixed time period and test causation on the facts of the case.

In the UK, due to medical advancements, the "year-and-a-day-rule" is no longer in use. However, if death occurs three years or more after the original attack then prosecution can take place only with the Attorney-General's approval.

In the United States, many jurisdictions have abolished the rule as well.[32][33] Abolition of the rule has been accomplished by enactment of statutory criminal codes, which had the effect of displacing the common-law definitions of crimes and corresponding defenses. In 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States held that retroactive application of a state supreme court decision abolishing the year-and-a-day rule did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of Article I of the United States Constitution.[34]

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a 74-year-old man, William Barnes, was acquitted of murder charges on May 24, 2010. He was on trial for murder for the death of Philadelphia police officer Walter Barkley. Barnes shot Barkley on November 27, 1966, and served 16 years in prison for attempted murder. Barkley died on August 19, 2007, allegedly from complications of the wounds suffered nearly 41 years earlier.[35]


According to scholar Pieter Spierenburg murder rates per 100,000 in Europe have fallen over the centuries, from 35 per 100,000 in medieval times, to 20 in 1500 AD, 5 in 1700, to below two per 100,000 in 1900.[61]

In the United States, murder rates have been higher and have fluctuated. They fell below 2 per 100,000 by 1900, rose during the first half of the century, dropped in the years following World War II, bottomed out at 4.0 in 1957 before rising again.[62] The rate stayed in 9 to 10 range most of the period from 1972 to 1994, before falling to 5 in present times.[61] The increase since 1957 would have been even greater if not for the significant improvements in medical techniques and emergency response times, which mean that more and more attempted homicide victims survive. According to one estimate, if the lethality levels of criminal assaults of 1964 still applied in 1993, the country would have seen the murder rate of around 26 per 100,000, almost triple the actually observed rate of 9.5 per 100,000.[63]

A similar, but less pronounced pattern has been seen in major European countries as well. The murder rate in the United Kingdom fell to 1 per 100,000 by the beginning of the 20th century and as low as 0.62 per 100,000 in 1960, and was at 1.28 per 100,000 as of 2009. The murder rate in France (excluding Corsica) bottomed out after the World War II at less than 0.4 per 100,000, quadrupling to 1.6 per 100,000 since then.[64]

The specific factors driving this dynamics in murder rates are complex and not universally agreed upon. Much of the raise in the U.S. murder rate during the first half of the 20th century is generally thought to be attributed to gang violence associated with the Prohibition. Since most murders are committed by young males, the near simultaneous low in the murder rates of major developed countries circa 1960 can be attributed to low birth rates during the Great Depression and the World War II. Causes of further moves are more controversial. Some of the more exotic factors claimed to affect murder rates include the availability of abortion[65] and the likelihood of chronic exposure to lead during childhood (due to the use of leaded paint in houses and tetraethyllead as a gasoline additive in internal combustion engines).

In Corsica, vendetta was a social code that required Corsicans to kill anyone who wronged the family honor. It has been estimated that between 1683 and 1715, nearly 30,000 out of 120,000 Corsicans lost their lives to vendetta,[66] and between 1821 and 1852, no less than 4,300 murders were perpetrated in Corsica.[67]

According to Georg Oesterdiekhoff, "Homicides rise to incredible numbers among headhunter cultures such as the Papua. When a boy is born, the father has to kill a man. ... When a man wants to marry, he must kill a man. When a man dies, his family again has to kill a man."[68]

Private Manning

Bradley ManningBradley Manning
On May 21, 2010, Private First Class Bradley Manning allegedly sat at his computer and logged on his computer. He signed on an instant messenger service using his moniker, bradass87. Unlike the other hours he'd logged talking to strangers on the Internet, this night would change the course of his life. It would set off an international media circus that would reach the highest office in the United States.
But first, it was just friendly chatter between two computer nerds. Manning was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Baghdad, when he reached out to notorious hacker Adrian Lamo. Lamo had just been the subject of an extensive profile in Wired magazine. The article, written by Kevin Poulsen, covered Lamo's struggle with Asperger's syndrome, as well as detailing the last ten years of his life after becoming famous for exposing security loopholes in the computer systems of Microsoft, Excite, Reuters, and The New York Times. The latter stunt had gotten the FBI involved, and landed him a six-month sentence of house arrest.
Manning worked as an intelligence analyst. He had access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) used by the United States government to transmit classified information.
Julian AssangeJulian Assange
Lamo was also a well-known advocate of WikiLeaks, a site headed by mysterious Australian computer expert Julian Assange. Just the day before their first alleged chat, Lamo'd Tweeted his support of the site. The site's purpose was to divulge otherwise inaccessible information, much of it secret information relating to governments and big business obtained and sent by anonymous donors by heavily encrypted and tightly guarded electronic drops. In May 2010, WikiLeaks was still riding the first major wave of international attention it had gotten for a video showing members of the U.S. military shooting Iraqis who did not appear to be combatants. The video, titled "Collateral Murder," had set off a firestorm of debate in the media: It showed two Reuters journalists on assignment being killed by the American military. At least one of them had apparently been fired on because his camera had been mistaken for a weapon.
Manning allegedly reached out Lamo. He opened with a simple: "Hi, How are you?"
But the series of conversations between Lamo and Manning over the course of a short week would make Manning's life very complicated.

Jade Braithwaite, Juress Kika, and Michael Alleyne

Promising   Ben Kinsella
Promising...Ben Kinsella
Killer  Juress Kika
Killer..Juress Kika
Ben Kinsella, brother of the Eastenders actress became another damning statistic in the government's failure to fight knife crime. His killers face a nightmare in jail after members of Britain's most notorious crime families asked for 'a word'......
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The killers of Ben Kinsella were jailed for life knowing they face years of terror behind bars.
Jade Braithwaite, 20, Juress Kika, 19, and Michael Alleyne, 18, have all received letters from the authorities alerting them to the threat totheir lives.
They will each spend at least 19 years behind bars for the murder of the 16 year-old brother of Eastenders actress Brooke Kinsella.
The Old Bailey heard the killers were 'wanted' by themembers of the notorious Adams family, who viewed the Islington area as their 'manor.'
Ben was stabbed to death just because he had showed Braithwaite 'disrespect.'
But it was cowardly Braithwaite who turned up at a police station begging to be allowed into custody when he heard gang members wanted 'a word.'
Nerida Harford-Bell,for Braithwaite, said: 'Jade understands he is a marked man. His mother, grandmother and aunt are in process of moving from their addresses to an entirely different area.'
Sallie Bennett-Jenkins,for Alleyne, said: 'He has received a letter that will have an impact for more than many years. It is an unusual step but onehe is going to take very, very seriously.'
Ben was the innocent victim of a dispute between youths at a bar which started with the challenge: 'What are you looking at?'
After a mass brawl outside, Braithwaite recruited Kika and Alleyne to get revenge for him being 'disrespected.'
They chased the rival group down the street and picked on Ben when he failed to run away.
The 'straight-A' student was kicked to the floor and knifed eleven times in five seconds as he pleaded: 'I've not done anything wrong.'
Ben, of Lonsdale Square, Islington,had been celebrating the end of his exams at Shillibeers bar in Holloway, north London, when he was attacked in the early hours of June29 last year.
Kika was wanted by police for a stabbing and robbery in Islington just days earlier but was only tracked down when he was arrested for the murder on June 30.
Alleyne was on licence after being released from an 18 month prison sentence for drug dealing.
Braithwaite had served a 12 month sentence for attempted robbery in 2006.
He turned himself in at Islington police station after hearing the Adams family wanted to speak to him.
Braithwaite later blamed Alleyne and Kika for the stabbing, sparking ugly scenes in court as the defendants turned 'cutthroat'.
Kika and Alleyne, both from Holloway, north London, and Braithwaite from Bow, east London, all denied murder.
Sentencing the killers to custody for life, the Common Serjeant of London Brian Barker QC, said: 'Ben Kinsella was 16 when he died. He had in front o fhim a lifetime of promise and you have taken all that away from him inabrutal, cowardly and totally unjustifiable attack.
'It reflects yet again the futility of carrying and use of knives by somepeople.Crimes like these generate outrage in all like-minded people.'
Ben's mother Deborah, 46, father George, 48, and daughters Brooke, Jade and Georgia, were all in court for the sentence.
The judge added: 'There is no suggestion that Ben was involved in anything either inside or outside the bar.
'Within a short time he and some of his friends were running along North Road in order to get away.
'He was distancing himself from trouble. He lagged behind, only to find himself isolated, encircled and attacked by you.
'You were equal partners in a swift and opportunist attack. He was stabbed eleven times.
'The wounds to the heart was delivered with such force that is split his third rib.
'It is my view there is no possible excuse or justification.
'This was an arrogant and unfeeling attack on someone who had done nothing and was unconnected with anything that had gone before.
'I can only conclude that in your minds someone had to pay the ultimate price.'
The judge praised the impact statement read by Ben's mother Deborah.
He added:'Everyone in that family and his many friends have been struggling to understand their loss and the fact he has gone forever.
'Nothing this court can do or say can turn back the clock.
'This was a terrible act and you knew exactly what you were doing. Regardless of who inflicted these injuries you entered this together and must bear responsibility for it together.'
The killers will have to serve 19 years, minus the 11 months already spent on remand, before being considered for parole.
James Nichol QC said Kika had been affected by his mother leaving the family home when he was  eight.
He was excluded from school at 15 after being convicted of robbery following the theft of a mobile phone.
At the age of 16 he was given his own flat by the local Youth Offending Team.
Kika was convicted for affray for a fight in a shop in Oxford Street and sentenced to 140 hours unpaid work in the community in January 2007.
He also has reprimands for assault and theft and convictions for possessing cannabis and failing to surrender in 2005.
Alleyne had only been released from an 18 month detention and training order for drugs offences in March 2008, three months before the murder.
Braithwaite was jailed for 12 months for attempted robbery in 2006 but the sentence was reduced to a supervision order on appeal.

Killer   Jade Braithwaite
Killer...Jade Braithwaite
Killer   Michael Alleyne
Killer...Michael Alleyne

Damilola Taylor

Tragic Damilola Taylor was only ten years old when he was stabbed 
to death on his way home
Tragic Damilola Taylor was only ten years old when he was stabbed to death on his way home
The parents of Damilola Taylor waited six years for justice for 
their son
The parents of Damilola Taylor waited six years for justice for their son
Ten year-old Damilola Taylor had been in Britain just three months when he was stabbed in the thigh with a broken beer bottle and left to bleed to death. It took three trials and a bungled £15 million police investigation to finally bring his killers to justice and expose the street-gang culture blighting modern Britain.
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On November 27, 2000, ten year-old Damilola Taylor finished school and set off for a computer club meeting at his local library.  
CCTV cameras recorded him bouncing and skipping along in his distinctive silver Puffa jacket without a care in the world. 
At around 4.45pm he began his walk home to [32] St Briavel's Court on the North Peckham Estate where his mother Gloria was waiting with his dinner.
Damilola,who was brought up in Nigeria, had only arrived in Britain with his family three months earlier. 
The Taylors believed a new life in Britain would help their daughter Gbemi get treatment for a severe form of epilepsy. 
Damilola hoped to become a doctor and discover a cure for his sister's condition. 
He had written of his ambition to change the world, adding: 'I want to be the very best, like no-one ever has been. The world we must defend and I know it is my destiny.'
But that day he never made it home.
Nobody witnessed the attack which took his life or heard any sound of a struggle or cry for help.
 All that remained was a trail of blood which carpenter Guillermo 'Bill' Casal followed to a stairwell in Blakes Road, Peckham. 
He climbed the steps to the second floor and found Damilola slumped against a wall with blood pouring from his thigh.
Asked what happened, Damilola could only reply: 'I'm OK, I'm OK.'
While waiting for the ambulance, Mr Casal looked up and saw three small black youths standing in the road watching. 
One of them looked up at Mr Casal and made a gesture with his left hand across the thigh of his left leg. 
Damilola had been stabbed in the thigh just above his knee and bled to death from an injury to his femoral artery.
As a murder investigation got underway, Damilola's mother revealed that her son had complained of being bullied two days earlier.
Gloria Taylor said in a statement: 'Damilola had been in a fight.
'Damilola told me that boys at school had been beating him and his arms and shoulders hurt.' 
She had visited the school just hours before his death to meet the Headmaster to discuss the claims but was reassured it was only a 'low-level problem.'
Damilola had walked the same route every school day and appeared unlikely to have been targeted by muggers.
MrsTaylor told police: 'Damilola used to take only his schoolwork and drawings to school. I never gave him pocket money so he wouldn't have had any with him. 
'He didn't have any jewellery, not even a watch. Nor did he carry any valuables like a Walkman or mobile phone. I didn't have enough money for these sort of things.' 
The only thing that may have attracted the attention of the killers was his silver Puffa jacket of which he was so proud.
Police officers had also discovered the broken pieces of a glass beer bottle at the start of the blood trail. 
These were later reconstructed in the laboratory and a dagger-like shard was confirmed as the most likely murder weapon. 
A post-mortem examination also revealed a glass marble was lodged in Damilola's throat.
Although detectives investigating Damilola's death hit a wall of silence in the community, the team were given several names by youths in the Peckham area. 
Rumours had spread that a notorious local gang known as the 'Younger Younger Peckham Boys' were responsible. 
The group was known to menace the area, mugging younger boys for their valuables and pocket money.
One girl actually named Danny Preddie to police and claimed he had confessed to killing Damilola because of a fight after school the previous day. 
But initial investigation revealed tha tthe 12 year-old had been under 24 supervision at his home and a book recorded him being present that afternoon. 
The witness also admitted that more than a dozen youths had also bragged about it and added: 'Boys would say it just to look hard.'
Danny Preddie was just one of eleven boys arrested by police during their initial inquiries. 
Clothes were seized and homes searched but initial scientific examinations revealed no evidence to directly link any of the youths to the killing.
Faced with a possible stalemate, detectives were amazed and delighted when a teenage girl came forward to give crucial evidence. 
The witness -codenamed Bromley - was a compulsive truant at school and had a history of 'dishonesty, violent and disruptive behaviour' in the classroom. 
At first she claimed only to have heard secondhand that four youths - later known as Boys A, B, C and D - were responsible. 
But under pressure from police and with the offer of  £50,000 reward she claimed she had actually witnessed the incident from behind a parked car.
Detectives later admitted they were overjoyed to find their 'knight in shining armour' and concentrated the inquiry on the four youths. 
As a result they eliminated the brothers Ricky and Danny Preddie who had previously been prime suspects. 
With pressure mounting to lay charges, the police and the CPS agreed to go ahead and the trial began in January 2002.
In court Bromley was quickly exposed as a greedy attention-seeker who had,in the words of defence QC Lady Ann Mallalieu, 'taken the police for a bunch of mugs'. 
At one stage in her police interview, Bromley sang: 'Just give me the £50,000. Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme,gimme.' 
She ridiculed the justice system as she ran up a bill of more than £4,000 during a week-long stay in Surrey's Selsdon Park Hotel- formerly used by football teams on FA Cup final day. 
The girl spent hundreds of pounds each day on room service, bar bills and telephone calls before being thrown out for starting a fire.
Officers bought her a CD player, clothes, trainers and took her on jaunts to the seaside, amusement arcades and restaurants. 
She was even enrolled at an expensive independent school but walked out after just one day.
Her behaviour in court was so bad her evidence was thrown out by the judge, resulting in boys C and D being acquitted before the start of the defence case. 
The two remaining boys, 16 year-old brothers A and B, were cleared by the jury after their mobile phones placed them two miles from the scene within minutes the killing. 
In another twist, it emerged that they were seen with the Preddie brothers just minutes after the attack on Damilola. 
It was only a thorough reinvestigation by a different team of detectives in 2003 that forensic evidence was discovered proving a direct link to the Preddie brothers. 
Damilola's blood was found on the heel of a trainer belonging to Danny and on the cuff of a sweatshirt belonging to Ricky.
Two scientists withthe Forensic Science Service had missed the stains during the first investigation. 
Sian Hedges admitted the 'clearly visible' spot on Danny Preddie's trainer heel had not been picked up but could not explain the blunder. 
Supervisor Owen Gayle, independently missed a smaller 4mm blood stain on the cuff of a sweatshirt found in the home of Ricky Preddie, then 13.
A new examination of all suspects' clothes for fibres from Damilola's school jumper also pointed to the Preddie brothers and a street mugger known as Hassan Jihad. 
None of the original four defendants A, B,C or D were linked by any forensic evidence. 
The first investigation also ignored other circumstantial evidence pointing to the possible involvement of Ricky Preddie, who was left handed.
Doctors found two old healing lacerations on the palm of his left hand after his arrest which could have been caused by shards of glass.
Ricky Preddie had also been seen visiting the crime scene two days after the murder while grieving relatives paid their respects. 
Two new witnesses then revealed how the brothers confessed to the murder in the weeks after Damilola's death. 
Ricky Preddie boasted to one resident of a children's home how he 'juked' Damilola and told another his younger brother was trying to rob the schoolboy.
'He was telling us that Danny had been having an argument with Damilola,' the witness said. 
'He said it wasn't supposed to happen like that.
'He said it started off as a robbery for his jacket. It was a silver puffa. 'Because of the argument that happened, that's when Danny called Ricky. 
Ricky said he moved him up, poked him up. He didn't go out to kill him.'
The second trial also highlighted how Danny Preddie may have been given an alibi by lazy social workers at his children's home in Abbey Street. 
He had been to court on the morning of Damilola's death because he was caught unsupervised on a patio area near a wall used by residents to escape. 
Staff placed him on 24-hour curfew and the log book recorded him as being in the home within 15 minutes of the killing. 
Bizarrely this led to the prosecution calling into question witnesses and evidence they relied on at the original trial to exclude other suspects.
In his closing speech, prosecutor Victor Temple QC claimed the failure to monitor Danny had 'catastrophic consequences.' 
He said: 'People make mistakes. The scientists who missed the blood, the staff at Abbey Street who missed his absence, the search officers in this case who mistook exhibit references.
 'Their failings do no more than reflect the frailty and vulnerability of human nature.
 'But you may think the failure to monitor him infact led to catastrophic consequences for Damilola Taylor and his family.'
The Preddie brothers were cleared of murder at their first trial but convicted of manslaughter at the retrial in mid 2006. 
After six years and a £15 million investigation, the parents of Damilola Taylor had finally found justice for their son.
His father did not return to Nigeria and became a 'special crime envoy.'

Ricky Preddie (left) and Danny Preddie (right) were just 12 and 13
 years old when they killed Damilola Taylor
Ricky Preddie (left) and Danny Preddie (right) were just 12 and 13 years old when they killed Damilola Taylor
The beer bottle that became the fatal weapon used to end 
Damilola\'s life
The beer bottle that became the fatal weapon used to end Damilola's

The death of Baby P - Tracey Connelly, Stephen Barker and Jason Owen

Blond-haired, blue-eyed Baby P looks the picture of happiness but 
within months he was dead
Blond-haired, blue-eyed Baby P looks the picture of happiness but within months he was dead
Tracey Connelly turned her back on her son when his life could 
have been saved
Tracey Connelly turned her back on her son when his life could have been saved

Fifteen month-old 'Baby P' was left to die at the hands of his mother and stepfather because of catastrophic blunders by doctors, police and the same Haringey Borough Council who so disastrously failed to help nine year-old Anna Climbie ten years earlier. Rather than resign in shame, doctors and social workers have fallen over eachother to blame others and keep their jobs.

The famous picture of baby Peter Connelly shows a happy, smiling boy with blond hair and blue eyes. But by the time of his death he had suffered some ofthe most appalling abuse ever heard in a British court.
His injuries included a fractured spine which left him paralysed from the waist down,eight fractured ribs, bite marks, missing finger- and toenails, and bruises to his forehead, cheek, nose, lips, chest, shin,lower back andright buttock.
The fifteen month-old boy had also been punched in the face so hard he had swallowed one of his front teeth.
He had already been dead for several hours when paramedics arrived at [37] Penshurt Road, Tottenham, north London, at 11.30am on August 3,2007.
As they tried to rush him to hospital, his mother Tracey Connelly, then 26, demanded the ambulance wait until she collected her cigarettes.
Her boyfriend Stephen Barker, 31, and his brother Jason Owen, 35,calmly stood at the front door, apparently unconcerned.
The investigation that followed would expose a series of shocking blunders by careworkers, doctors and police over the previous eight months.
Born on1 March, 2006, Peter was only three months old when his natural father walked out after the mother began an affair with Barker, a racist thug obsessed with Nazi memorabilia and pornography.
Shortly after the new lover moved into the family home in Finsbury Park, north London,Peter was seen with bruises and scratches on his skin on a visit to his GP Dr Jerome Ikwueke.
Tracey Connelly deflected any questions byclaiming that the boy's skin 'bruised easily.'
But on December 11 Peter was taken to Whittington hospital with a head injury, bruising to the bridge of the nose, sternum, right shoulder and buttocks.
Asked about fingermarks on the boys body, the mother said they were from 'holding him and throwing him up in the air.'
She also claimed that the boy liked 'rough and tumble play' when she was under police questioning on suspicion of assault.
Haringey social services placed Peter on the 'at risk' register and visited the family home to find it filthy and smelling of urine - but had no idea Barker was living at the house.
It was decided to let the childstay with Angela Godfrey, a churchgoing therapist and Tracey Connelly's best friend, instead of a foster carer.
A month later on January 26, 2007, with no decision made on any charge against the mother, Peter was allowed back home.
The family was moved to a new flat in Penshurst Road, Tottenham, and Peter was visited regularly by social worker Maria Ward and health visitor Paulette Thomas.
Haringey Social Service accepted explanations from both Tracey Connelly and Angela Godfrey that the boy liked to 'headbutt things.'
Gilly Christou,team manager at Haringey Social Services, reported at a review meeting in March that 'he appears to have a high painthreshold.
' She added: 'It is concerning he does not seem to react to danger or pain. Only his mother can stop him, he does not seem to stop himself.'
On April 9, Peter was taken to hospital with a large swelling to his head and bruises to his eyes and cheek.
Despite the injuries - which Connelly claimed were caused by another boy pushing him into a fireplace -doctors focused on treating the boy for possible symptoms of meningitis.
The mother later explained: 'I had been told in March that if there were any more accidental injuries they were going to take him away.'
Social services took no action other than to buy the family a fireguard.
Then on June 1 the social worker made an unannounced visit to the home and found Peter with bruises under the chin and a red line under his eye.
Tracey Connelly claimed that another 18 month-old child had hit the boy during a squabble but was ordered to take him to hospital.
An examination by doctors revealed more bruising in 12 different areas of his body including a 'grip mark' on his leg.
The mother was interviewed by police four days later but again released on bail for the second time.
Disregarding the mounting evidence, it was decided jointly by police and social services to allow Peter home on condition his care was supervised by Angela Godfrey.
The police officer investigating both assaults, DC Angela Slade, did at first object to returning the child but it was decided there was not enough evidence to start care proceedings.
Peter's condition deteriorated even faster when Jason Owen and his 15 year-old girlfriend moved into the house in late June.
He lost weight and his scalp and ear infections became so bad that the childminder refused to look after him any more. His GP only prescribed anti-bacterial cream.
By the time Peter spent a night with his natural father, he had lost nails on his finger and toe.
The father,who cannot be named, told the court: 'Peter had a bandage on his left hand, his head was shaven and scarred and he looked very thin and withdrawn.
Tracey said he had pulled off his finger nail. She didn't seem that concerned.'
Fighting back tears, he told the court how he returned the boy to his mother the next day, Sunday July 30, adding:'As she walked away he screamed "daddy, daddy, daddy", so much so that she brought him back so I could say goodbye. That was the last time I saw him.'
Later that day Tracey Connelly covered up Peter's bruises with chocolate to fool the social worker during a scheduled visit.
The last chance to save Peter's life came on August 1, when Dr Sabah Alzayyat examined him at the Child Development Clinic in St Anne's Hospital, Tottenham.
She failed to spot his fractured ribs and ignored a series of bruises to his back and legs. Peter may even have already been paralysed by having his back snapped over a hard surface such as an adult knee or cot.
Dr Alzayyat later told the Old Bailey: 'He didn't look any different from any child with a common cold.'
The next day, August 2, 2007, Tracey Connelly was told the assault investigation against her was being dropped and offered a free trip to the seaside as a treat.
Peter spent that evening face down in his cot, wrapped tightly in a blanket 'like a cocoon' while his mother and stepfather celebrated.
He was already dead when Tracey Connelly finally got out of bed at 11am.
Because Connelly, Barker and Owen all denied all knowledge of the abuse it was impossible to prove who caused the fatal injury to Peter.
Only the 15 year-old girl staying at the home admitted witnessing the attacks during the trial at the Old Bailey.
She said: 'Stephen used to like hit Peter on the head and make him scream, and like squeezing his fingernails.
He used to pick him up by his throat and chuck him on the cot and hit his head and shake him.
'When he wouldn't sit still Steve would like shake him about, just make bruises on him, pinches and stuff, swing him round by his legs while he was screaming.
He had a bruise on his eye and that was because Steve used to do that stuff to him.
'He would put him on a computer chair and spin him round so he falls and hits his head.
Peter used to sit for hours with his head between his legs and whenever he used to get up because he was hurting Steve used to push his head down.
'Whenever he was crying he used to poke him in the head hard.'
Tracey Connelly, giving evidence at the Old Bailey trial in late 2008, denied witnessing any abuse at all.
Cross-examining her,prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC summed up the case in a sentence:'That child had been used almost like a punchbag by adults who were supposed to be looking after him.
You as his mother did nothing about it.'
Connelly,of Penshurst Road, Tottenham, north London, was cleared of murder on the direction of the judge but admitted causing or allowing the death.
She was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment for public protection with a minimum of five years before being considered for parole.
Connelly had already served nearly two yearson remand.
Owen, of Wittersham Road, Bromley, Kent, was cleared of murder on the direction of the judge and convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child.
He was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment for public protection with a minimum of three years behind bars before being considered for parole.
Barker, previously of[87] Arndale Close, Ferry Lane Estate, Tottenham, north London, was cleared of murder and manslaughter by jurors but convictedof causing or allowing the death of a child.
The verdicts, and the revelation that Peter had been failed by Haringey Social Services just like Victoria Climbie, led to a massive outpouring of public anger.
Part of the fury centred on the inability of the media to identify either Connelly or Barker, sparking a web hate campaign to name and shame the pair.
The reason for the news blackout was that Barker was also facing a second trial for raping a two year-old girl during the same period Peter was being abused.
Following his conviction in April 2009, he was given a life sentence and told he would serve a minimum of ten years behind bars.
Finally, on August 10, 2009 - just over two years after Peter's death, both Barker and Connelly could be fully exposed.
Overweight Tracey Connelly was brought up by a drug-addicted prostitute and was almost taken into care herself.
Connelly never had a full-time job and spent most of her time chatting online, giving herself the tag 'need choc got pmt.'
She was more devoted to her dogs, a German Shepherd called Ladyand a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Lucky, than her son Peter and three older daughters. Pornographic magazines and videos were found littering the house.
Police recovered a series of notes made by Connelly which displayed only self-pity for herself.
In one she wrote: 'Life is bullshit.... I'm fed up with letting people down.
'All my life I have messed up. When will I ever get it right. Sometimes I wonder why I am here as I always feel I'm useless and worthless.
People should stay away from me as I have always messed up everyone who's close to me. I'm a jinx to all I know.'
In another message she said: 'Jason speaks to me like s***, Steve don't back me up.
Jason pisses me off, Steve laughs about it. Steven starts changing the way he speaks tome. Steve stops kissing me and hugging me.
We have sex that goes wrong, Steve stops saying he loves me. He shouts at me and makes pig noises.'
JasonOwen -nicknamed 'Fat Boy' as a child - was accused of raping a girl of 11 when he was only 13.
He was also a member of the National Front and had been investigated for a suspected racist attack on an Asian family.
After the death of Peter Connelly, he helped Barker get rid of the bedsheets and Babygro by dumping them in the canal.
Owen then went on the run from police and hid for nearly two weeks in Epping Forest with the 15 year-old girl.
He was finally arrested and interviewed on August 15 and blamed Barker for the injuries,claiming that his brother had admitted trying to 'toughen him up for when he was older.'
Owen was given conditional bail but was locked up half-way through the trial after detectives heard he was trying to apply for a passport to flee the country.
Sadistic Stephen Barker had no previous convictions despite being suspected of absuing two other children in the past.
The 6ft4 in, 18 stone thug and his brother Jason Owen are also thought to have terrorised their own grandmother into handing over her cash.
Police found hunting knives and Nazi memorabilia including swastika-decorated helmets and daggers in the house he shared with Connelly, alongside martial arts weapons and a crossbow.
Questioned by police,Barker said: 'If anyone says that I admitted killing Peter they are lying and now trying to cover their own a***.
There are lots of things that I could tell you about Jason and what he's done in the past and what he's like but I'm scared to because I really believe he will try to have me killed.'
He also told his sister during a prison visit: 'Six weeks with Jason and he's f***ing ruined my life.'
Neo-nazi thug Stephen Barker was said by the prosecution to have 
caused the fatal injuries to Baby Peter
Neo-nazi thug Stephen Barker was said by the prosecution to have caused the fatal injuries to Baby Peter
Jason Owen, older brother of Stephen Barker, was living at the 
house in the last six weeks of Baby Peter\'s life
Jason Owen, older brother of Stephen Barker, was living at the house in the last six weeks of Baby Peter's life

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


  • Jill-Lyn Euto, an 18 year old student, was found stabbed to death in her sixth-floor apartment at 600 James St, Syracuse, NY on 28 January 2001. No arrests have been made.[47]
  • Evelyn Hernandez, and her 5-year-old son Alex, last heard from on 1 May 2002 at her residence in San Francisco, California. Her wallet was found several days later, in South San Francisco. Hernandez was nine months pregnant at the time and on 24 July 2002 her torso was found floating in San Francisco Bay. Her unborn child and her son Alex have not been found. The case was profiled twice on America's Most Wanted during the summer of 2003.[48]
  • Rashawn Brazell, disappeared after leaving his home in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, United States, on the morning of 14 February 2005. His dismembered body parts were later found in garbage bags. America's Most Wanted profiled the case three times, on 29 September 2005; 1 April 2006; and 9 December 2006.[49][50]
  • Gail DeLay, age 49, was murdered sometime between July 23 and 24, 2005, in her Dallas, TX, apartment. She was found on the morning of Sunday, July 24 by a friend. She had been severely beaten. Delay was a freelance artist, illustrator, and motivational speaker and had been a volunteer with the SPCA for 18 years. Dallas police investigated and quickly ran out of leads.[51][52][52][53]
  • Robert Wone, age 32, was murdered on August 2, 2006, in his friend's Washington, D.C., apartment. He was "restrained, incapacitated, and sexually assaulted" prior to his death. The only individuals present in the apartment at the time were its three residents, all friends of Wone. They have denied involvement and insisted that an intruder committed the crime. Authorities claim that there was no evidence of a break-in, the apartment appeared to be washed cleaned, the three residents appeared freshly showered, and the evidence was not consistent with the residents' accounts. In addition, the residents tampered with the crime scene, waited an inordinate amount of time to call 911, and exhibited strange behavior when paramedics and police arrived. Authorities believe that either some or all of the three house-mates murdered Wone and engaged in a cover-up.[54][55]
  • Lane Bryant shooting – on February 2, 2008, a gunman trying to rob a Lane Bryant store killed five women (a manager and four customers). The shooter has not been apprehended, although police do not consider it a "cold case" yet.