Doctoral Researcher Ewa Stefanska, together with Professor Anthony Beech (pictured, right) and Daz Bishopp, has published a paper in the Journal of Criminal Justice which explores offence pathways of non-serial sexual killers, with a focus on whether the pathways of those with a previous conviction for rape or attempted rape differed from those who had no such convictions.


A total of 129 non-serial male sexual killers of females aged 14 years or over, who had been convicted and served a custodial sentence within the UK Prison Service, were included in the study. Multidimensional Scaling Analysis, TwoStep cluster analysis and Chi-square analysis were used to evaluate cognitive problems, sexual and behavioral interests, modus operandi and crime scene characteristics.

The study provided support for the existence of three different pathways to offending: deviancy, grievance and sexually driven. Offenders with a previous offence for rape/attempted rape clustered significantly into the sexually driven group. The authors conclude that sexual killers who fit more closely into the sexually driven group were found to have treatment needs similar to sexual aggressors who have not killed. In addition, the authors propose that more consideration should be given to how cases are selected for study in order for research to better advance our knowledge of sexual homicide.

The paper has been presented at the 33rd Annual Research and Treatment Conference in San Diego as well as the Sexual Homicide Conference in Scotland early this year.

Stefanska, E. B., Carter, A. J., Higgs, T., Bishopp, D., & Beech, A. R. (2015). Offense pathways to non-serial sexual killers. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 99107.