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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law on 06/02/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13218719.2019.1695517

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A Behaviour Sequence Analysis of Serial Killers’ Lives: From Childhood Abuse to Methods of Murder

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  • A.J. Marono
  • S. Reid
  • E. Yaksic
  • D.A. Keatley
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)126-137
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/02/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aim of the current research was to provide a new method for mapping the developmental sequences of serial killers’ life histories. The role of early childhood abuse, leading to types of serial murder and behaviours involved in the murders, was analysed using Behaviour Sequence Analysis. A large database (n = 233) of male serial killers with known childhood abuse (physical, sexual, or psychological) was analysed according to typologies and crime scene behaviours. Behaviour Sequence Analysis was used to show significant links between behaviours and events across their lifetime. Sexual, physical, and psychological abuse often led to distinct crime scene behaviours. The results provide individual accounts of abuse types and behaviours. The present research highlights the importance of childhood abuse as a risk factor for serial killers’ behaviours, and provides a novel and important advance in profiling serial killers and understanding the sequential progression of their life histories.