Types of Female Serial Killers
Females make up only a small minority of serial killers. This is thought to be because sexual gratification is a primary motive of repeated murder, and women are far less likely to kill for this reason. However, there are a few specific ‘types’ of killer that women are more likely to fall under than men.
1. The 'Black Widow’ killer
Named after the species of spider that kills its mate after being fertilized, women who are 'black widows’ get into numerous relationships or advertise for a partner only to kill their lovers for their money or when they become an inconvenience. Black Widows may put adverts in lonely hearts columns to attract partners, or simply marry multiple men in order to extract their wealth. When they are no longer percieved as useful, the husband or partner is murdered by the black widow so they can move onto someone else. Poison is a common method they use to dispose of their partners. Famous black widow killers include Belle Guinness and Nannie Doss.
2. The 'Angel of Death’ killer
An 'Angel of Death’ is someone employed by or trained in the medical profession who kills (instead of heals) their patients. Women who fall under this category are usually nurses in charge of small children, and their crimes are often discovered after a long string of strange deaths occur during their tenure. Death is common enough at a hospital, but when multiple patients die under the charge of a single nurse (especially when the cause of death is unrelated to the reason why they hospitalized) it can be a cause for great alarm. These women often have extreme interpersonal problems, and kill their victims to attract attention or to “ease” the percieved suffering of their patients. They often kill using smothering, or with overdoses of drugs like morphine or insulin. Famous Angel of Death killers include Genene Jones and Beverly Allitt.
3. Team Killers
The most common type of female serial killer is the “team killer”, or a woman who commits murder alongside a male partner. These situations are often referred to as 'folie a deux’ (madness for two) scenarios, due to the fact the two partners influence the other to kill whereas they would not have done so as individuals. The vast majority of the time, the male killer (usually her lover/partner) acts as the dominant, aggressive instigator while the female killer encourages his fantasies and offers her assistance as proof of her love. While she may also feel sexually aroused by the act of murder, what motivates the female team killer is the approval of her partner in helping him act out his desires. He manipulates her, while she grows dependant on him. The female killer may or may not directly kill someone, though she often assists in kidnapping and body disposal. Famous team killers include Myra Hindley, Karla Homolka, Carol Bundy, and Charlene Gallego.