The minds of killers and psychopaths

Criminologist David Wilson with Blackshaw's marketing manager Sue Blackshaw and HospiceCare fundraiser Rebecca Taylor.
Criminologist David Wilson with Blackshaw's marketing manager Sue Blackshaw and HospiceCare fundraiser Rebecca Taylor.
0
Have your say

He can tell us about what goes on in the minds of psychopaths and killers and is one of Britain’s leading criminologists.

Professor David Wilson is a celebrity academic, and one of the most controversial in his field, whose work involves researching the lives of serial killers to understand the reasons behind their murdering sprees.

And it was for this purpose that Professor Wilson came to Alnwick’s Blackshaws last week.

He was talking about his new book, Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer, in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland.

Mary Ann Cotton was a prolific serial killer in the 1870s, but her crimes were not well known.

Professor Wilson said: “Cotton was executed in 1973 for the murder of her stepson.

“Because she was only convicted of one murder and wasn’t well defended in court there wasn’t much going on in her story and there wasn’t much known about her as a serial killer.

“What I have been able to show is that if she had been found not guilty there were three more cases waiting in the wings.

“I then started looking at her life history and found that she had probably killed around 17 people. It makes her, in British history, the third most prolific killer.”

Professor Wilson was also involved in the manhunt for Raoul Moat who went on the run in Rothbury in July 2010.

“I worked with both the media and the police, but I am unable to talk about the police involvement.

“In a sense with the media I was trying to explain his behaviour.

“I used him to talk about crisis of masculinity.

“Moat was this kind of failed stereotypical hegemonic man.”

Around 200 people listened to Professor Wilson on Friday.

He added: “I really look forward to these events.

“HospiceCare is a very worthy cause and I get a really good reception from the staff at Blackshaws, it is always wonderful.

“I am delighted to come back here and would love to come again, the question is will people have had enough of me talking about serial killers?

“Hopefully we will raise a lot of money for charity.”

On Friday, Professor Wilson was also in demand from the media as Mark Bridger was convicted of the murder of April Jones.

His book is available to buy now.