An examination of serial murder in Australia

20 Dec 2007

Building on earlier research undertaken at the Australian Institute of Criminology (Pinto & Wilson 1990), the current research explores the serial murder phenomenon in Australia using data collected as part of the Institute's National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP). Results show that between July 1989 and June 2006, there were 11 groupings of serial murders identified in the NHMP, committed by 13 known serial murder offenders, with a total of 52 known victims. This represents one percent of the total number of homicides in Australia over a 17 year period. The paper reports on the characteristics of offenders and victims, including the offenders' modus operandi. The analysis found that the profile of serial murder in Australia is similar to that found in international research. In at least two of the groups of serial murders the victims had been reported as missing to police. It is important to note that the paper reports on known homicides. The paper suggests that further research on the profile of long term missing persons and serial murder victims should be undertaken as well as exploring offenders who commit multiple murders on separate occasions, to identify what prevented them (apart from law enforcement intervention) from committing additional murders.

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