Read 100 Most Infamous Criminals Online

Authors: Jo Durden Smith

100 Most Infamous Criminals

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Sada Abe

Idi Amin

Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Jean Bedel Bokassa

Cesare Borgia

Andrei Chikatilo

Josef Fritzl

Fritz Haarmann

Ivan the Terrible

Bela Kiss

Ilse Koch

Joachim Kroll

Peter Kürten

Henri Landru

‘Lucky’ Luciano

‘Count’ Victor Lustig

Chizuo Matsumoto, aka Shoko Asahara

Jacques Mesrine

Dr. Marcel Pétiot

Issei Sagawa

The Utoya Island Spree Killer: Anders Behring Breivik

United States

Alberto Anastasia

Joe Ball

Ma Barker

David Berkowitz

Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono

Billy The Kid

Lizzie Borden

Jerry Brudos

Ted Bundy

Al Capone

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Mark Chapman

Caryl Chessman

D. B. Cooper

Dean Corll

Juan Corona

Jeffrey Dahmer

Geza de Kaplany

Albert DeSalvo

John Dillinger

Albert Fish

John Wayne Gacy

Carmine Galante

Ed Gein

Belle Gunness

Gary Heidnik

William Heirens

Jesse James

Robert James

Reverend Jim Jones

Ted Kaczynski

Ed Kemper

Meyer Lansky

Leopold and Loeb

Louis Lepke

Timothy McVeigh

Charles Manson

Walter Leroy Moody

Herman Mudgett, aka HH Holmes

Bonny Parker and Clyde Barrow

Richard Ramirez

Gary Ridgway

Charles Schmid

‘Dutch’ Schulz

‘Bugsy’ Siegel

Richard Speck

Brenda Spencer

Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate

Robert Stroud

Dr. John White Webster

The Walnut Avenue Abductor: Phillip Garrido

Wayne Williams

Aileen Wuornos


Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

William Burke and William Hare

John Christie

Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen

Claude Duval

Ruth Ellis

John Haigh

Neville Heath

Jack the Ripper

The Kray Twins

Lord Lucan

Dennis Nilsen

William Palmer

Michael Ryan

Jack Sheppard

Dr. Harold Shipman

George Joseph Smith

Peter Sutcliffe

Dick Turpin

Fred and Rosemary West

The West Yorkshire Murders: Stephen Griffiths


Jack Donahoe

Ned Kelly

Katherine Knight

William Macdonald

‘Chopper’ Read



Sada Abe

hen a police inspector walked into a Tokyo inn room on the afternoon of May 20th 1936 to check out the identity of the occupant, he didn’t expect to find 31-year-old Sada Abe. And even after she’d announced who she was, he refused to believe her. Then, though, she took out of her bodice a paper parcel and unfolded it – and the evidence was unmistakable. For it contained the severed genitals of her dead lover, Kichizo Ishida.

The naked body of restaurant-owner Ishida had been found by a chambermaid two days before in a room in the equivalent of a modern love-hotel. Carved onto his thigh and written in blood on a bedsheet were the characters
Sada, Kichi Futari-kiri
Sada and Kichi, inseparable forever
). The word
had been written on his left arm. His penis and testicles had been cut off.

Sada was a waitress at Ishida’s restaurant; and the police soon put out a warrant for her and circulated her photograph to the press, which ran the details of the crime as frontpage news. When she was finally arrested – having written two letters of farewell, as well as a long emotional message to her dead lover, as it turned out – the newspapers printed special editions. Sada was suddenly the hottest story in the entire country.

Sada Abe was the last child of a prosperous mat-maker in Kanda. But she was an incorrigible and promiscuous teenager, and at 18 her father sold her to a brothel in Yokohama as a geisha. She worked in the sex business, one way and another, through her twenties; and ended up in Tokyo as the kept woman of a rich middle-aged man. It was then – perhaps out of boredom, perhaps out of a need to earn extra cash – that she took a job as a waitress in Ishida’s restaurant.

Ishida was married, with children, but he was also an inveterate womanizer; and it wasn’t long before the two of them were secretly meeting for increasingly frenzied sex-sessions anywhere they could. Sada was insatiable – doctors later suggested she must have had a medical condition – but in Ishida she’d met her match. They began to push at the boundaries, obsessively searching out new ways to pleasure each other. She would throttle him with a sash cord to just this side of insensibility, so that a new flow of blood would travel to his penis, ballooning it and producing in both of them staggering, heart-stopping orgasms. Finally, they went too far.

It’s possible that a sedative Sada had bought for Ishida – who’d been complaining of insomnia – had weakened his resistance. But Sada, in interviews with the police, claimed that she’d meant to kill him. She said:

‘I loved him so much, I wanted him all to myself… I knew that if I killed him no other woman could ever touch him again, so I killed him.’

About the cutting off of his genitals, she added:

‘[They] belonged to someone I loved. Everything of Ishida’s had become mine.’

Sada – who by then had spawned a new Japanese word, Sada-ism – was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but was released under an amnesty in 1941. She moved away from Tokyo under an assumed name, and got married. Then, in 1947, she was rediscovered by a journalist, and the whole story was retold in garish detail in a best-seller,
The Sex Confessions of Sada
. In a subsequent magazine interview with a well-known author, Sada said that she had only ever loved one man, Kichizo Ishida. The author later described what she’d done as:

‘total love… for her to cut off his member as a keepsake was the ultimate feminine act.’

The last time Ishida’s genitals were seen was at a post-war department-store exhibition sponsored by – among others – the Department of Health and Welfare. Since then a full-scale biography of Sada has appeared, as well as several films about her and Ishida’s liaison: among them the erotic masterpiece of Nagisa Oshima,
In the Realm of the Senses


Idi Amin

hen Milton Obote in 1962 became the first prime minister of newly-independent Uganda, he had to forge his country’s forty independent tribes into a new national unity. This required finesse, but also, on occasion, brutality; and for brutality he increasingly relied on the deputy-commander of his army, a semi-literate ex-heavyweight champion and sergeant in the King’s African Rifles: Idi Amin.

Amin was a Muslim from a minority tribe, an outsider with no loyalties to any particular power bloc – nor, indeed, to Obote. For in 1971, he took power himself in an army-led coup; and almost immediately started killing the officers who had helped him. Gathered together in groups under various pretexts, they were variously bayonetted to death, crushed by tanks or blown up by grenades thrown into rooms locked from the outside. The severed head of the murdered chief-of-staff found a home in Amin’s freezer. When two Americans, one a journalist, got wind of this wholesale slaughter, they were simply disposed of.

Idi Amin took power in 1971

Amin was soon demanding massive injections of cash from Britain and Israel. He got none; and within a year, with all its stocks of dollars and pounds reserved for Amin’s own use, Uganda was bankrupt. Only money from Colonel Gadaffi in Libya kept it afloat – and this meant having to toe Libya’s political line. Amin, then, began a prolonged tirade against the state of Israel. Israeli engineers working on construction projects were thrown out of the country; and an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization was opened in Kampala instead. Amin, warming to his task, started to express his profound admiration for Adolf Hitler; and even set up a domestic version of Hitler’s Gestapo, the State Research Bureau, filled with hundreds of highly-paid killers.

Gadaffi’s money, though, was not enough to guarantee the loyalty of all those Amin had to buy. So in August 1972, he announced that he’d had a visit from God; and God had told him that Uganda’s Asian population, most of them professionals, merchants and shopkeepers, were at the root of the country’s economic troubles. He gave them ninety days to leave the country; and when they fled, he handed over their businesses and shops to his cronies – who inevitably ran them into the ground. Once more they had to be paid; and the only commodity Amin had left to deal in was the lives of his fellow-Ugandans.

Amin was eventually exiled to Saudi Arabia

Ugandans have a profound respect for the bodies of their dead – and this is what Amin began to trade on. His State Research Bureau were licensed to kill anyone they chose, and then to offer their services to their victims’ families as body-finders for as large a fee as they could charge. The families were told that their sons or husbands had been arrested and were feared dead. They were then led, sometimes hundreds of them a night, to the dumping-grounds, in a forest outside Kampala. (Unclaimed – and therefore profitless – bodies were simply dumped into Lake Victoria.) When the French Embassy complained about the constant gunfire coming from the Research Bureau’s headquarters, Amin and his Bureau chief invented a new variation of the production line: one kidnapped prisoner was offered his life in return for bludgeoning another to death with a sledgehammer. Then he took the second prisoner’s place…

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