A Psycho-Legal Analysis and Criminal Trajectory of Female Child Serial Killer Beverley Allitt

Saskia Ryan, Dominic Willmott, Nicole Sherretts, Krzysztof Kielkiewicz


The paper presents a psychological analysis of convicted female serial killer Beverley Allitt with reference to psychopathological and social psychological explanations of her crimes. Whilst cases of female serial homicide such as that of Allitt receive a large amount of attention within popular culture literature, less theorising to date has attempted to psychologically account for her rare form of gendered violence. Whilst the present exploration provides psychopathological reasoning as the primary explanation for Allitt’s crimes, use of first hand interviews conducted with senior management that worked alongside her at the hospital where she killed are used to argue that the complexities of her behaviour are best understood through the application of varying approaches. The legal implications of her criminality and diagnosis are also discussed. The present analysis therefore offers a unique and contemporary insight into the criminal behaviours of a female child serial killer and impact of such more broadly, upon society as a whole. 

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