Every criminal act is committed by a criminal and in seeking to understand the workings of the criminal mind and its motivations, investigators have increasingly turned for assistance to what is now popularly known as psychological profiling. This investigative discipline is based on the belief that a criminal does not just leave physical clues at the scene of the crime but that he also leaves psychological clues. By careful examination and consideration of these clues the skilled profiler endeavours to build up a picture of the likely offender. A skilled profiler combines common sense, observation, background knowledge and geographical factors with a sound knowledge of psychology in his efforts to profile a killer.
Module 1 gives an introduction to profiling, this is an essential part of the course and requires concentrated study if the learner is to gain maximum benefit from working through the case studies.
Our first case study takes us to Argentina and Buenos Aires of the early 1900s and a study of the infamous ‘Big Eared Pest’, the child killer Santos Godino.
In case study 2 we will go back to Germany in the 1930s and examine the case of Peter Kurten, ‘The Monster of Dusseldorf’, and the groundbreaking work of Professor Carl Berg.
In case study 3 we move to the United States of the 1940s and the incredibly accurate profile of George Metesky, ‘The Mad Bomber of New York’ by Manhattan psychiatrist Dr. James Brussel.
Case study 4 brings us to war time London and Sussex in England in the 1940s and the case of John George Haigh, ‘The Acid Bath Murderer’.
Case study 5 takes us back to the United States where we once again meet Dr. James Brussel in the investigation of a series of murders committed in Boston of the 1960s by Albert de Salvo, ‘The Boston Strangler’.
Case study 6 takes us back to Yorkshire of the 1970s where Dr. Stuart Kind helped to bring an end to the reign of terror of Peter Sutcliffe, ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’.
For case study 7 we return to the United States and Chicago of the 1970s where we encounter John Wayne Gacy and his alter-egos, Pogo and Patches the Clown and the gruesome murders of more than thirty young men and boys.
For case study 8 we return to London of the late 1970s and early 1980s, to Muswell Hill, London, where we examine the serial murders committed by Dennis Nilsen, ‘The Muswell Hill Killer’.
The old mill town of Hyde, Cheshire some five miles from the centre of Manchester provides the 1990s setting for case study 9 which examines the murderous medical practice of ‘Doctor Death’, alias Doctor Frederick Harold Shipman.
Our final case study takes us to Stirling, Scotland in 1996 where we encounter disgraced scout master and jobless shopkeeper, Thomas Hamilton, who in a murderous frenzy slaughtered sixteen children and a teacher at Dunblane Primary School.
At the end of each case study the learner is required to use the information contained in the study material and any other information they have collected, either from further reading, research on the internet or other media, to complete a profiling sheet. The learner will then use this information to compile a detailed pen portrait of the offender(s) studied.
In the conclusion to this course we examine some of the differences in definition of and approach to profiling, and consider more recent developments such as computer aided geographic profiling.
At the end of this last module the learner is invited to carry out research in the media and on the internet to draw up a profile of Raoul Moat.