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The most infamous serial killers the world has ever known. Clockwise from top left: Luis Garavito, Javed Iqbal Umair, Jack the Ripper, Mikhail Popkov, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, K.D. Kempamma and Chisako Kakehi. Image Credit: File / Archives

Dubai: They're merciless, some of the most deranged creatures on earth. They're "serial killers" who committed numerous murders.

Their murder weapon of choice may vary. But one thing holds them common: An abnormal form of psychological gratification. In most cases, alongside the murders they committed, there's also sexual assault, robbery, cannibalism, extreme love of money/property.

The murders usually take place over more than a month, including a significant period of time between them — and may even go on for years.

There are different levels of insanity at work in the mind of these killers.

In light of the suspected serial murders committed by a woman, in Kerala, India seen behind the murder of six members of the family, we compiled a list of the most deranged people who committed some of the most horrendous acts of human savagery:

1. "The Beast": Luis Garavito

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Luis Garavito Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

He is the world's deadliest serial killer, who earned his moniker as "The Beast". Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos (born January 25, 1957), is a Colombian rapist and serial killer. He is also known as Tribilín (named after the Disney character "Goofy").

In 1999, he admitted to the rape, torture and murder of 138 children and teenagers. He is currently inside a maximum security, geographically isolated prison in Colombia.

He lives separately from the other prisoners, for his own protection. He only takes food and drinks given to him by those he knows. His guards describe him as relaxed, positive, and respectful.

The Beast raped, tortured and murdered anywhere from 100 to 400 boys, all between the ages of six and 16. His official number of victims rests at 138, the number he confessed to in court.

Victims: 138 proven (up 400 claimed)

2. Jack the Ripper

In 1888, Jack the Ripper terrorised the Whitechapel neighbourhood of London. He may be a name that everyone knows, but no one can be certain of his true identity. Whoever he (or she) really was, Jack the Ripper was definitely deranged.

Jack the Ripper went on killing spree by slitting the throats and abdomens of at least five prostitutes and leaving them for dead. The original Jack the Ripper, inspired a number of movies.

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Douglas Tait in "Jack The Reaper". Image Credit: Youtube Screengrab

Sometimes, he would even remove the woman’s uterus and take it as a sort of prize.

The true identity of Jack the Ripper, also known as "The Whitechapel Murderer" may never be known. His name has metamorphosed into another term “Ripperology” — the study and analysis of the murders — which has certainly inspired quite a few “what if” novels.  "Jack the Ripper", has been turned into several films, with varying story lines.

Victims: 5

3. Javed Iqbal Umayr

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In 2015, a court in Pakistan has sentenced Javed Iqbal, then 42, to death for murdering 100 children in the country's worst serial killing rampage. Image Credit: Youtube Screengrab

Javed Iqbal Umayr (8 October 1956 – 8 October 2001), was a Pakistani serial killer who was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of about 100 boys.

He initially confessed to killing 100 children in a letter sent last year to police. He admitted having strangled the children, dismembered their bodies and placed them in a vat of acid.

During his trial, Iqbal testified that he was only a witness to the killings. He said his earlier confession in a letter sent to police was intended as a message to the parents of the missing children, whom he accused of  neglect.Some of Iqbal's victims had been missing for more than six months before their parents reported their disappearance to police. The trial generated strong emotions in Pakistan, where such cases of serial killings are rare.

Victims: 100 

4. Samuel Little

The FBI considers Samuel Little, who has confessed to nearly 100 murders and is serving multiple life sentences in a California prison, as the most "prolific" serial killer in the US.

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Samuel Little Image Credit: Screengrab

The former boxer, also known as Samuel McDowell, Little was first arrested in 2012 at a homeless shelter in Kentucky and extradited to California to face drug charges.

He confessed to 93 homicides between 1970 and 2005 Little, 79, has been in prison since 2012 for the murders of three women, but told detectives last year that he had killed 90 more across the US over a period of 35 years.

The FBI said that crime analysts and investigators believe all the confessions are credible, with 50 of them being verified so far — thus making Little the most prolific serial killer in US history.

Victims: 100

5. "The Werewolf": Mikhail Popkov

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Mikhail Popkov: At various points between 1992 and 2010 in Angarsk, Irkutsk, and Vladivostok — a distance of some 3,900 km — Popkov, dressed in his police uniform, lured victims with the promise of a free ride and sexually assaulted them. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Mikhail Popkov (born March 7, 1964) is a serial rapist-killer and termed as one of Russia's most prolific serial killers — for the brutal nature of his crimes.

He was active for two decades in Angarsk, Irkutsk and Vladivostok, from 1992 to 2010. Popkov's crimes were motivated by suspicions that his wife had committed adultery. His victims were all women between the ages of 16 and 40 apart from one male, a policeman.

The murder weapons he used included knives, axes, baseball bats, and screwdrivers and mutilated the bodies so grotesquely that Russian media ascribed the crimes to "The Werewolf" and the "Angarsk maniac".

Popkov was convicted of 22 murders in 2015, and confessed to 59 additional homicides three years later.

On December 10, 2018 he was convicted for 56 of the 59 additional homicides. For three killings, the police could not find proof. Popkov received a second life sentence.

Victims: 81 (22 convictions, addition 59 confessions)

6. "Killer Clown": John Wayne Gacy

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John Wayne Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the river. Image Credit: Wikipedia

John Wayne Gacy is an American serial killer who earned the nickname “Killer Clown” because of his job attending children’s birthday parties and charitable events as “Pogo the Clown.”

Gacy was convicted of raping, torturing, and murdering 33 teenage boys over a six-year period. He would lure them to his home, kill them via either strangulation or asphyxiation, then bury them on his property.

Gacy was executed in May 1994.

Victims: 33

7. 'The Black Widow of Kyoto': Chisako Kakehi

Chisako Kakehi (born in 1947) was sentenced to death for the murders of several men, including her husband. Between 1994 and 2013, at least seven men that Kakehi either dated or married died, leaving her alone.

Japanese woman Chisako Kakehi, who was arrested in Kyoto on November 19 on suspicion of poisoning her husband with cyanide in the latest "Black Widow" case. Image Credit: AFP

To this day, Chisako Kakehi, Japan’s most notorious "black widow", insists she’s innocent. She claims that she’s not a serial killer but has been "doomed by fate" – though it's also possible that she is a ruthless murderer who systematically killed at least eight men for insurance money: she received around $7 million in insurance payouts.

Kakehi was arrested in 2014, after an autopsy on her fourth husband, Isao Kakehi, revealed traces of cyanide poisoning. 

She initially pleaded not guilty. But during her 2017 trial, Kakehi confessed, stating on the witness stand that she had no intention of hiding the guilt and wanted to kill her husband out of deep hatred.

Two days later, she retracted her confession, claiming to not remember having said it. Her lawyers subsequently argued that she suffered from dementia and could not be convicted due to diminished responsibility.

Kakehi claimed she has no idea how to kill someone. Police found a small bag of cyanide compounds in a plant pot she ditched at a recycling center near her home.

Victims: 7

How deadly is cyanide?
Cyanide is a deadly poison that binds to iron in blood, preventing it from carrying oxygen to cells. A lethal dose kills in minutes.

However, this toxin is so common in nature that the body detoxifies small amounts. It's found in seeds of apples, cherries, almonds, and apricots.

Hydrogen cyanide is a chemical weapon. It's said to smell like almonds, although the truth is, the odor of almonds is that of the cyanide they contain.

8. 'Holy Water Cyanide Mallika': K.D. Kempamma

K.D. Kempamma, known as “Cyanide Mallika” is India's first convicted female serial killer. Commencing with her first murder in 1999 Kempamma killed 6 women over the next 8 years, 5 between October and December in 2007.

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KD Kempamma, a 45-year-old at the time of her arrest, was given the moniker “Cyanide Mallika” as she killed multiple people in and around Bangalore in cold blood using potassium cyanide. Image Credit: Youtube screengrab

She befriended victims from female temple devotees and portrayed herself as a deeply pious woman. After gaining their confidence, she would call them to another temple, ask them to dress in their best clothing and jewellery and give them "holy water" with cyanide to drink.

She was caught by police trying to dispose of the jewellery and confessed under interrogation. She was the first woman to be sentenced to death in Karnataka.

Victims: 6

9. "Night Stalker": Richard Ramirez

For more than a year during the 1980s, Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez terrorised neighbourhoods throughout Los Angeles with his murderous spree. Nicknamed “Night Stalker,” Ramirez would break into homes and brutally murder his victims, sometimes raping them first. 

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The so-called 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez Image Credit: File

He shared Polaroid photos of his victims, including Vietnamese women he had raped. In some of the photos, Mike posed with the severed head

His victims ranged from early 20s to a 79-year old woman. His weapons of choice: Handguns, knives, a tire iron, a machete, and even a hammer. Ramirez, who claimed to be a Satanist, never expressed any remorse for his crimes

He was sentenced to death. The judge who upheld Ramirez's 13 death sentences remarked that his deeds exhibited "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding".

Ramirez died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row.

Victims: 13

Unsolved: Cyanide-laced Tylenol murders

In 1982, cyanide-laced Extra-strength Tylenol capsules killed seven people in the Chicago, US. This murder remains unsolved to this day. It’s an unprecedented public health scare that led to major industry changes and one of the first massive product recalls in the United States, exactly 37 years ago on October 5.

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A drugstore clerk removes Tylenol capsules from the shelves of a pharmacy September 30, 1982, in New York City after reports of tampering. Seven people in the Chicago area were killed that year by Tylenol that had been poisoned with potassium cyanide. Image Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images/AFP

Investigators made the connection between the poisoning deaths and Tylenol, the best-selling, non-prescription pain reliever sold in the US at that time.

The gelatin-based capsules were especially popular because they were slick and easy to swallow. Unfortunately, each victim swallowed a Tylenol capsule laced with a lethal dose of cyanide. Johnson & Johnson established that the cyanide-lacing occurred after cases of Tylenol left the factory.

Someone, police theorised, must have taken bottles off the shelves of local grocers and drug stores in the Chicago area, laced the capsules with poison, and then returned the restored packages to the shelves to be purchased by the unknowing victims.

To this day, however, the perpetrators of these murders have never been found. CCTV cameras were not in wide use when the tampering took place.

Victims: 7