Top 10 Most Notorious European Serial Killers Ever

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Top 10 Most Notorious European Serial Killers Ever

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
And you thought Americans had it bad when it came to serial killers! For this list, we'll be looking at infamous murderers in European countries. Our countdown includes Jack the Ripper, Anatoly Onoprienko, Alexander Pichushkin, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Most Notorious European Serial Killers


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Notorious European Serial Killers.

For this list, we’ll be looking at infamous murderers in European countries.

Who do YOU think is the most notorious? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Anatoly Onoprienko [aka The Beast of Ukraine]

Ukraine

Though most widely known as “The Beast of Ukraine,” Onoprienko was also called “The Terminator,” and “Citizen O.” After his arrest in 1996, he admitted to killing 52, dating back to 1989. He targeted families as well as any potential witnesses. Police found a slew of evidence in his home, including weapons and items he stole from his victims. He’s gone on record saying that he felt no remorse for his crimes. While in prison, Onoprienko issued a press release saying that his goal was to achieve a world record for killing. In 2013, he died of a heart attack at the age of 54.

#9: Karl Denke [aka The Forgotten Cannibal, The Cannibal of Ziębice]

Prussia

Church organist Karl Denke appeared to be a kind, well-liked, upstanding member of the community. What people didn’t know was that he killed at least 42 homeless and/or traveling people over the course of 21 years. As the nicknames suggest, he consumed his victims, but he didn’t keep the remains all to himself. He owned a food shop selling meats, the ingredients of which we don’t want to think about. Denke was finally caught in 1924. However, he took his own life before he could be questioned or convicted. Upon searching his residence, police found many various body parts.

#8: Henri Désiré Landru [aka The Bluebeard of Gambais]

France

This unassuming Parisian swindler seduced and killed women during World War I. Also referred to as “France’s Lonely Hearts Serial Killer,” he took advantage of wealthy wives left widowed by their husbands dying in the war, and placed dating ads in newspapers. Despite being a husband and a father, Landru was romantically involved with almost 300 women. Though no bodies were ever found, he was found guilty of 11 murders. It’s believed that he murdered over 70 more women. In February 1922, he was executed by guillotine.

#7: Mikhail Popkov [aka The Werewolf]

Russia

Ex-policeman Mikhail Popkov used his occupation to lure his victims, offering them late-night car rides. He admitted to targeting women he saw as immoral, killing them for going out partying. One of the survivors, who was 17 at the time, said she was violently attacked and left for dead. Since his arrest in 2012, Popkov has confessed to killing over 80, all women except for one policeman. However, these are just the murders he can remember. He’s widely regarded as Russia’s worst serial killer and reportedly bragged to a cellmate that he’d killed more people than Andrei Chikatilo.

#6: Mariam Soulakiotis [aka The Woman Rasputin, The Killer Nun]

Greece

Mother Superior Mariam Soulakiotis was a nun who embezzled the dowries of wealthy women joining the convent. The abbess allegedly killed 177 men and women at the Keratea convent. She led the Old Calendarist sect, which is separate from the Greek Orthodox Church for its practices. Soulakiotis strictly imposed abstinence and fasting among the members of the convent, leading to many deaths, both youths and adults alike. Police arrested the nun for her shocking crimes in 1951. She received life in prison in 1952, dying two years later.

#5: Alexander Pichushkin [aka The Chessboard Killer]

Russia

Pichushkin’s crimes went uninvestigated until the body of a retired police officer was discovered in 2005. He also killed a co-worker who left a note for her parents, naming him as the person she’d be with. A metro ticket was found on her body and police saw Pichushkin on the station’s surveillance footage. Eager for recognition, he made a full confession to the media. After his arrest in June 2006, police found a chessboard with 62 spots filled, leaving two spots open. He was also called the Bitsa Park Maniac due to his frequent victims left in Moscow’s Bitsevski (aka Bitsa) Park.

#4: Niels Högel

Germany

As a nurse, Högel deliberately put his patients into cardiac arrest in order to save them in front of his colleagues, but many did not survive. Over his 15 years of employment at two hospitals in northern Germany, it’s suspected that Högel killed as many as 300 patients, a third of which he confessed to. In 2018, he was found guilty of 85 of them, while he was already serving a life sentence for two he caused by lethal injection. He’s regarded as Germany’s worst serial killer in modern history.

#3: Elizabeth Báthory [aka The Blood Countess]

Hungary

The legendary Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed is labeled by the Guinness World Record as the most prolific female serial killer in history. The story goes that she killed virgin females, believing that bathing in their blood made her appear younger. She’s been called a vampire, and a cannibal. Though the lore that surrounds her is mostly speculated, we do know that she was essentially put on house arrest until she died. She and several of her servants were found guilty of imprisoning and murdering over 600 females. In this case, the truth is much more horrific than fiction.

#2: Peter Sutcliffe [aka The Yorkshire Ripper]

England

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sutcliffe murdered 13 women and attempted to murder seven. Since most of victims were sex workers, few were concerned about their deaths, and officials didn’t bother investigating. However, the public was outraged when a teen’s body was found at a playground in 1977. Due to her age, she was deemed the first “innocent,” since she didn’t lead the same lifestyle as the previous victims. Sutcliffe was dubbed “the Yorkshire Ripper,” because of the similarities between the injuries on his victims and that of Jack the Ripper. Despite being interviewed by police several times, Sutcliffe wasn’t caught until 1981.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Harold Shipman [aka Dr. Death], England
Britain’s Most Prolific Mass Murderer


Michel Fourniret [aka Ogre of the Ardennes], France & Belgium
Hunted Women with His Wife

Andrei Chikatilo [aka The Butcher of Rostov], Russia
Killed Over 50 Women & Minors

Monster of Florence, Italy
Italy’s Unidentified Son of Sam


#1: Jack the Ripper

England

Arguably the most infamous serial killer of all time, Jack the Ripper was the elusive perpetrator behind the Whitechapel Murders in the late 1800s. The number of victims is still unknown, though five were identified — known as the “canonical five.” The unidentified serial killer was believed to have a medical background given the surgical precision used to remove his victims’ organs from their bodies. Some body parts were taken, and others were left at the crime scenes, but a number of these remains were sent to police along with taunting letters. Theories about his identity continue to circulate to this day.
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