Partners in crime is more than just an expression. It is also a true description of some of the most notorious killers in modern history, where spouses, brothers and sisters joined forces to commit absolutely heinous crimes. Check out this list of the most vicious families of our generation – partners in crime to the very end.
10. Fernandez and Beck
Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck became know as “The Lonely Hearts Killers” in 1949. They were arrested and put on trial for the murder of 20 women between 1947 and 1949. Both faced the death penalty for luring lonely women to their deaths. They were both subsequently found guilty and were executed by electric chair. The 1970 movie The Honeymoon Killers, the 1996 movie Deep Crimson, the 2006 movie Lonely Hearts, and an episode of the TV series Cold Case were all based on this case.
9. Burke and Hare
Burke and Hare were the infamous serial killers who sold corpses to Dr. Robert Knox in Edinburgh for dissection. Contrary to popular belief, Burke and Hare were not grave robbers. Although common practice at the time, digging up corpses would have involved too much effort and besides the fresher the bodies they delivered to Professor Robert Knox (on a no questions asked basis) the better. Their chosen method of murder was to restrict their victim’s breathing by covering the nose and mouth while the other restrained them. This left no suspicious marks on the body and provided the anatomy students with fresh undamaged cadavers. This method later became known as ‘Burking’.
They murdered at least 16 people in just under a year before being caught, although the figure could have been as high as 30. When caught, Hare made a deal and confessed, resulting in Hare being let off and Burke to be hanged for their crimes. Full story here
8. The Papin Sisters
Christine and Lea Papin were the famous french maids who murdered their employers wife and daughter in Le Mans, in 1933.They beat the 2 women to death with a hammer and pewter pot, but also gouged out their eyes with a kitchen knife and their fingers. Both confessed to the murders. Christine, who was believed to be the instigator was sentenced to death, which was later revoked to just life imprisonment and Lea being the lesser involved in the horrific crime, received a 10 year prison sentence.
7. Brady and Hindley
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who were also know as the Moors Murderers, sexually assaulted and killed 5 children between the ages of 10 and 17. These young victims were murdered between July 1963 and October 1965 and were buried on Saddleworth Moor. The pair were arrested within days of each other in October 1965. They were eventually tried and convicted of all 5 murders for which they both served life sentences.
6. The Krays
Reggie and Ronnie Kray were the biggest perpetrators of organized crime in London in the 1950’s and 60’s. Made famous for their celebrity connections and violent crimes, including torture and murder. They were eventually arrested and convicted of various crimes to which they both received life sentences.
5. Leopold and Loeb
Nathan Freudenthal Leoplold Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb were 2 wealthy, well to do, university students who murdered a 14 year old boy in 1924. Their motive, that they wished to commit the perfect crime. They kidnapped the boy from school in a rented car, then killed him in the backseat with a chisel, intending to collect a ransom from his wealthy parents. After evidence pointed to them being involved in the murder, their alibis started to break down and they soon confessed. They were both sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and 99 years for the kidnapping.
4. Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole
Henry was first incarcerated after confessing to stabbing his mother to death and then raping her corpse. Sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment, he was released after serving only 10. A sexual sadist and necrophiliac, he enjoyed sex with live and dead animals. Partnered with the transvestite, cannibal and paranoid schizophrenic Ottis Toole in 1976, the pair killed hitchhikers at random. They parted ways when Henry began living with Ottis’s 7 year old niece Becky Powell. Eight years later, her 15 year old body was found stuffed in pillowcases, dismembered and scattered around a field. The exact number of his victims is not known but he is linked to killings in 18 states, has confessed to 300, and is still on death row in Texas.
3. Fred and Rosemary West
Rosemary Pauline “Rose” West is a British serial killer, now an inmate at HMP Low Newton, Brasside, Durham, after being convicted of 10 murders in 1995. Her husband Fred, who committed suicide in prison while awaiting trial, is believed to have collaborated with her in the torture and murder of at least 10 young women, many at the couple’s home in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England.
The murderous couple bound their victims, raped them, killed and dismembered them and then buried them around their home. This took place at what is now known as The House of Horrors, 25, Cromwell Street, Gloucester, over a 20 year period from 1967 to 1987. Both were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment however, Rosemary always maintained her innocence. Authorities believe that they had both killed more than 20 women but couldn’t gather enough evidence to charge them with more murders.
2. The Menendez Brothers
Joseph Lyle and Erik Galen Mendez were known for the so called Shotgun Murders where they killed their wealthy parents in Beverley Hills in 1989. They were made famous by the highly publicised trials that followed. Numerous different stories were thrown about court in their defense such as their father abusing them. But what it really boiled down to was money. They wanted it and their parents stood in their way, so they shot them. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment for the shootings.
1. Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde are of course the most famous criminal duo to date and they committed their crimes during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The kinds of crime they normally committed with their gang included armed robberies, usually on small gas stations, but they were also notorious for the murder of 9 police officers and several civilians. Subsequently, they were both shot and killed in a police ambush in 1934.