Running head: PETER KURTEN
PeterKurten was a German serial killer commonly known as DusseldorfVampire. Kurten surrendered to the police in 1931, but before that,he had killed nine people. He was born in 1883 and raised indifficult conditions. Kurten did not have essentials in his earlylife, and he started killing people in 1913[ CITATION CLS16 l 1033 ].Theserious nature of Kurten’s crimes led him to be christened asDusseldorf Vampire. He gave himself up to the police after a longsearch and was executed shortly after surrendering.
of the Criminal
PeterKurten was born in Koln-Mulheim in Germany, and was the eldest amongthirteen children. Because of extreme poverty and struggle, Kurtenstarted engaging in criminal activities at a tender age. His fatherwas an alcoholic and had sadistic behaviors. The father could abuseKurten’s mother and children in their tiny house. Peter stayed withhis family in a small apartment during his entire childhood days. Hedid not just lack the necessities of life, but was also sexuallyassaulted. The side effects of the sexual assault led Kurten toengage in an unhealthy sexual escapade with a neighbor who was adogcatcher, at a tender age of nine. The sexual activities that Peterpracticed made him go to extremes, and he started engaging inbestiality, an act normally reserved for dogs. Kurten said that hedrowned two school friends when he was nine years old[ CITATION Lin13 l 1033 ].Heinitially pushed one friend into the river, and the other one divedin to help, but in the process, Kurten held them both under wateruntil they drowned to death. When the bodies of the deceased werefound, it was dismissed as an accident, since they were justchildren.
Nature/Nurtureof the Crimes and Precipitating Factors
Overthe years, Kurten matured sexually, and he was endeared to otheranimals like goats, sheep, and cows to satisfy his sexual desires. Heexperienced sexual pleasure when he stabbed the animals to deathduring sex with it. At the age of 16, started engagingin petty crimes, and he eventually ran away from home to escape thesexual abuse from his father. Kurten’s father was arrested fordefiling his thirteen-year-old daughter, and jailed for three years.Meanwhile, Kurten served short prison sentences for petty offenses.He () did not last long before getting re-arrested sincehe went on to commit the same crimes that kept leading him to jail.Peter’s experience in jail slowly eliminated his desire to sexuallymolest animals. With every arrest Kurten’s hate towards thesociety grew stronger[ CITATION Poo12 l 1033 ].Hefelt that the society was unfair to him and he needed to act on that.Anger and depravity escalated within him, and he discovered pleasurein brutal sexual activities while under solitary confinement. Thesebrutal sexual activities further elevated his fantasies, and hestarted breaking prison regulations to earn solitary confinement.Kurten’s stay in prison ironically transformed him into an evenworse criminal.
WheneverPeter was released from prison, he engaged in more brutal sexualassaults, the first case to be documented involved ten-year-old KleinChristine. Kurten sexually assaulted Christine and later stabbed herin her home in 1913. During the time of the assault and murder,Christine’s parents worked in their bar below her room. When theincident happened, Christine’s uncle was the first suspect becausehe had apparently had a recent argument with Christine’s father. returned to the scene the following day and wascaptivated by what he saw[ CITATION Sch12 l 1033 ].Hewas especially glad that his act caused immense agony, trouble anddamage to the locals. Fortunately, Christine’s uncle was acquittedfrom the case. Kurten made sure he attended all the court proceedingsso he could enjoy the pain and agony his actions had caused others.
Petergot a chance to serve in the military service at the beginning ofWorld War 1. Since he never liked rules and discipline, he later leftthe barracks. Kurten was then captured and jailed until 1921, thelongest jail period he ever served. His long stay in prisonunfortunately only fuelled the growth of his sadistic tendencies.Kurten moved to Altenburg when he was released from prison. InAltenburg, he met and married a prostitute, who had been in jail forkilling her lover. They lived a quiet and normal life for four yearsand got employed as a molder. He was very active andeven joined a trade union. Kurten’s attempt to live a normal lifewas cut short when he went back to his old ways. Kurten’s sadistictendencies re-emerged and escalated from small crimes to arsonattacks. With time, he no longer practiced petty crimes, but onlyengaged in sexual assaults, and brutal murder. Maria Kuhn, a victimof Kurten’s stabbing, survived a gruesome attack that caused her 24wounds. did not stop, and in 1929, he killednine-year-old Rosa Ohliger, by stabbing her 12 times. He also triedsetting the victim’s body on fire to erase any evidence.
Rosa’sbrutal attack was not the last, and it was among Kurten’s manyattacks on women and girls for over 15 months. Kurten then stabbed amechanic named Scheer and went to the crime scene five days later toexamine his ‘marvelous’ work. It is quite ironical that he eventalked to the police at the scene of Scheer’s murder. The brutalmurders attracted the German Press, and when detectives thought thatthe attacker might be drinking the victims’ blood, he was nicknamed“Dusseldorf Vampire.” Despite media attention, the search forthe killer went cold. However, Stauberg, a disabled person confessedto the killings and he was taken to an asylum. It was thought thatthe nightmare was over when Stauberg confessed to the killings. Thepolice later realized that they had captured the wrong culprit when awave of stabbings and strangulations began in August 1929. The brutaldeath of the two foster sisters, Louise Lenzen and Gertrude Hamachercaused panic and it was all Kurten’s doing. He then assaultedanother woman, Gertrude Schulte who managed to survive his attack andreported him. There were more attacks daily, and the people ofDusseldorf became worried. Kurten also assaulted Wanders and Meurer,who were lucky to survive the ordeal. Despite the description givenby people that survived the attacks, the police could not getpotential suspects. went on with his attacks and washappy that no one suspected him.
Kurtenreceived media attention, and in 1929, he contacted a newspapercompany to inform them of the location of his latest victim, GertrudeAlbermann. He had assaulted and murdered Gertrude then later dumpedher body under the rubble. There were more of Kurten’s assaults andmurders until the spring of 1930. The public was angry at theauthorities for their failure to nub him[ CITATION Mic12 l 1033 ]. Theevents that saw the arrest of Kurten started in 1930. He had offeredto house Maria Budlick, an unemployed woman with an intention ofgetting intimate with her. Maria’s refusal to have sex with Kurtenmade him assault her in a forest.
Throughoutthe course of Kurten’s attacks, he maintained a close relationshipwith his wife, and when he finally got arrested, he wanted to ensurethat she would be financially secure.informed his wifeabout every crime he had committed hoping that she would turn him into the authorities and get the reward. His wife did exactly what hehad hoped for.
Outcomeof the Case
Peter’strial started in 1931, being accused of nine murders and sevenattempted murders. Despite the fact that he seemed like anintelligent businessman he proved guilty after thorough questioning.The defense team presented evidence gathered from crime scenes andtestimonies from survivors. Kurten pleaded guilty to the chargesagainst him and blamed his actions on the nature of his childhood.After a 90 minute deliberation by the jury the verdict on Kurten wasa death penalty. Kurten was later executed in Germany in 1931.
PeterKurten started with petty crimes, but soon escalated his criminalacts to humans. He was a sadist who enjoyed imparting pain on others.He also blamed the society for his problems and decided to assaultand kill people for fun. 1931 was the year Kurten paid for hisatrocities.
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