The Schizophrenic Murdering Artist

Richard Dadd was a young British painter of huge promise who fell into mental illness while touring the Mediterranean in the early 1840s. He spent over forty years in lunatic asylums, dying at Broadmoor in 1886. During that time he painted, producing mesmerizingly detailed watercolors and oil paintings of which The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke is now the most well known.

Among the symptoms of Dadd’s illness – which sounds today like a form of schizophrenia – were delusions of persecution and the receipt of messages from the Ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. Dadd was commanded to kill his father and did so in the summer of 1843. After an equally well planned escape to France, the artist was eventually admitted to the Criminal Lunatic department of Bethlem Hospital in Lambeth (now the Imperial War Museum) and it was here that he painted the Fairy Feller. According to the inscription on the back of the canvas it took him nine years to complete, between 1855 and 1864.


Images of serial killer Robert Napper as a child with his siblings. Napper earned the name the ‘Plumstead Ripper’ in his adulthood when he raped, murdered and mutilated three victims. The most notable murder he committed occurred in Plumstead, where he stabbed and killed 27 year old Samantha Bissett, before targeting her four year old daughter. The daughter, Jazmine, was sexually assaulted before she was smothered to death.

Napper was arrested and charged for these murders but was convicted only of manslaughter. The reason for this was that Napper was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, as well as being found to have Asperger’s syndrome. This lead to hospitalisation in Broadmoor for an indefinite period of time.

In July 1992, 23 year old Rachel Jane Nickell was brutally murdered after being sexually assaulted, stabbed a total of 49 times and mutilated. Her 2 year old son, Alex, was with her at the time and, although he remained unharmed, was discovered clinging to his mother’s lifeless body after witnessing the entire attack.

Later that same year, a man named Colin Stagg who frequently walked his dog in the same area was named as a suspect, despite a lack of evidence linking him to the crime. In order to coerce him into confessing, the police set up a ‘honey trap’ in which a female officer disguised herself as a woman with an interest in Satanism and made contact with Stagg. However, despite being subtly prompted by an undercover decoy, he did not admit to committing any crime. A judge later condemned this course of action by the police, labelling it as “deceptive conduct of the grossest kind.” After this point, the case began to turn cold. In 2000, the case was again reviewed and authorities began to acknowledge that the perpetrator could be linked to other criminal offences. Additionally, the victim’s clothing was sent for testing once more. The availability of DNA technologies had since emerged, which allowed certain articles of clothing to now be examined which previously could not be. A sample of tape which had been attached to Rachel’s skin was found to contain male DNA, despite being kept in storage as evidence for 12 years. This was enough to rule out close family members.

Attention turned to a man named Robert Napper, a convicted murderer and rapist already renowned for the 1993 killing of a woman and her daughter in similar circumstances. After this incident, police had seized a red painted toolbox from his possession which was tested after tiny flecks of red paint were found in a sample of Nickell’s son’s hair. The red paint coating the toolbox and the flecks found in Alex’s hair proved to be a match. In November 2007, Napper was charged with the murder of Rachel Nickell and detained indefinitely at Broadmoor Hospital the following year, which has housed the likes of Peter Sutcliffe, Charles Bronson and Ronnie Kray. Colin Stagg received £706,000 in compensation after being wrongfully implicated and publicly outed as a murderer.


Kenneth Erskine , also known as the “Stockwell strangler” , is a British serial killer. Like most murderers , Erskine had a bad childhood. His parents abandoned him , he attended various special schools and by age 12 , he was homeless. His crimes , at first , were minor. He would commit burglaries , he was so successful at this that he was able to open 10 bank accounts with the proceeds. 

In the space of just over 3 months , Kenneth is confirmed to have murdered 7 elderly people , though he is suspected of killing four more. He would break into their homes , strangle them and, sometimes , sexually assault them. In many of his later murders , he stole money and possessions from their homes. Erskine was caught when a victim managed to sound an alarm whilst he was being throttled. A psychological evaluation of Kenneth showed that he has a mental age of a seven year old , while also suffering from schizophrenia and anti social personality disorder. He was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in Broadmoor hospital , and charged with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. During his trial he was caught masturbating , he fell asleep several times and also started to snore.

  During his time in Broadmoor Hospital , where he still resides , he has been attacked on several occasions , one of these incidents includes a patient attacking him with a home-made blow torch. He has made “friends” with Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe , and came to his rescue when a patient started to strangle him with a pair of headphones. Kenneth is unlikely to be released before 2028.

I live fairly close to a famous psychiatric hospital which is also for the criminally insane… now you might think this is cool and I’m not going to lie, I think it’s cool but…

Every Monday around 10 am you can hear the sirens, when they’re practising for a possible emergency and schools from time to time do practices, have a mock lock down, just so everyone knows what to do in case someone escapes.

And yes that is all good… just every Monday I freak out a little, thinking what if you hear the sirens another time, when you’re not supposed to…

And a few minutes ago, I swear I heard the sirens but… I’m sure I just hallucinated… or I really hope so…

Photographs of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe’s injuries following an attack by James Costello, a fellow inmate at Parkhurst Prison. He was attacked with a smashed coffee jar and sustained four wounds which required 30 stitches in total.

Sutcliffe was known as The Yorkshire Ripper, and was convicted of murdering 13 prostitutes after he experienced auditory hallucinations, that he interpreted as the voice of god, telling him to do it. He is currently serving a life sentence in Broadmoor Hospital, and unlike the majority of life sentence prisoners in the UK, he is expected to serve a whole life tariff and has been told he will never be released on probation. 

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Team Paradise LP - Worlds 2010

I’m a fan of Team Paradise. This video isn’t the best angle/quality but it highlights some really nice things. I went to watch Worlds in 2010 and I will tell you that whenever Team Paradise got on the ice for practice or competition, I could not take my eyes off of them. It is clear that these skaters are great individually. They might not always have the best performances but their programs are creative and different, and they’re really exciting to watch.

1. From what I understand, whip intersections are pretty hard to get called. The ends really have to “whip” and it can’t just turn into a V intersection. I’m not sure if they got this called (it looks okay to me) but I give them props for not doing a triangle or a box as one of two intersections, as most other teams do. I’m sure it at least got some decent GOEs (but this is from far away, maybe it was scratchy, who knows).

2. Those spirals! I looove love love that first big, deep inside edge they take. Love it. (Also interesting to see something other than the back spirals they usually do!)

3. I thought the Haydenettes had good 135s. Then I saw Team Paradise’s 135s. It really highlights how strong the skaters are as individuals.

4. I think Team Paradise has some of the most interesting and daring step sequences out there. Loops are really hard to get called (and I don’t know if Paradise gets them called) but I love that they still try. They also do triple twizzles at a few points in this program. Last time I checked (I admit I’m not 100% up-to-date on IJS, so correct me if I’m wrong), doing a triple twizzle won’t get you a higher level for the steps than if you do a double, so I guess they just do triples to challenge themselves and enhance the steps visually? I don’t know, but I like it.