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Paraphilia generally refers to sexual crimes such as cannibalism, voyeurism, erotophonophilia, fetishism etc. Although researches suggest a higher number of paraphiliac men yet, the number of paraphilic females is growing at a concerning rate.[1] Some of these paraphilias have criminal elements but some are not directly harmful to the victim. One of the most extreme forms of paraphilia is erotophonophilia which is more commonly known as lust murder. In this type of crime, offenders are more likely to repeat their acts, that too in a brutal and sadistic manner. Lust murder is not a typical sexual behaviour, which is why more study and awareness is required in this regard.

Concept Explained

Richard, baron von Krafft-Ebing a German neuropsychiatric defined lust murder as “A connection between lust and desire to kill.” Lust murder can be defined as a distinct subcategory of homicide, sexual killing. Lust murderers usually mutilate their victim through the displacement of organs e.g. – rectum, genital, breasts from the victim’s body.[2] Killing the victim is an intrinsic part of lust murder. Lust murderer can be organized or disorganized, however, in both cases the cutting, beating, wounding of the victim is done on those parts of the body which the offenders find to be sexually stimulating for him.[3] Till now the world has seen plenty of these kinds of cases. A person who causes the death of another by doing an act, bodily injury to cause death is known to have committed culpable homicide. Lust murderers also commit such acts knowingly that it will cause the death of the victim. In Bangladesh, it is a punishable offence under the Penal Code 1860.[4] Some serial killers can be shown as examples of heinous lust murder executers. Rodney Alcala was born in Texas, like many other serial killers he also had his signature way of executing crimes i.e. beating, biting, strangling to death were his way of committing an offence. He murdered eight women where most of them were under-aged.[5] William Goerge Bonin who is also known as free-way killer, kidnapped, raped and murdered fourteen boys in between the year 1979-1980, all of the victims were teenagers.[6]

Psychological Aspects

Lust murderers are generally motivated by their ultimate sexual satisfaction which finally ends by killing the victim. Their crimes become heinous and sadistic as they keep doing it one after one. Their imagination takes a vicious face as they become more aggressive towards each of their next targeted person. According to several experts, male rapists who are sadistic show antagonistic feelings towards women and they usually attack strangers.[7] Some of the rapists enjoy maltreating a victim. The organized type of offender is very cunning, methodical and above intelligent. They make a plan and execute it with thorough finishing, often the victim’s body is removed from the crime spot as they do not wish to keep any evidence left behind. On the other hand, the disorganized offenders have below-average intelligence, are socially inadequate and loner type. Their fantasies do not allow them to act consciously and often the crime scene is found disorganized.[8] Studies by the FBI revealed that sexually sadistic murderers often indicate narcissism and psychopathy.[9] Lust murderers are usually socially isolated, they also find it difficult to establish normal sexual relationships. A relating criminological theory with lust murder can be the ‘Routine Activities Theory,’ which was developed by Cohen and Felson. According to them the crime occurs due to the presence of three components, those are- i) Motivated Offender ii) Suitable target iii) lack of capable guardian.[10] When these three things are present, it becomes very easy for the offender to execute the crime. Nevertheless, it is quite difficult to understand the psychology of a criminal-minded person who is both psychotic as well as emotionally disordered. More studies are being carried on worldwide to get a prompt result for understanding these type of offenders.

Lust Murder and Other Paraphilias

Sadism and lust murder: Sexual sadism can be described as acts where a person achieves sexual gratification through inflicting pain on another. The Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012 can be an example in this regard. Nirbhaya on 16th December 2012 was going home with her friend in a bus which had almost no passengers on, she was then brutally raped, tortured and thrown out of a moving bus by the rapists.[11] The offenders were getting sexually more stimulated through inflicting pain on her which finally led her to death. Another example is the Noakhali gang rape case, it was one of the most horrific incidents of 2020. A video depicting a woman being tortured and raped went viral on the internet where the survivor was seen begging the offenders for saving herself.[12] The offenders got more heinous watching her in pain and continued their vile act. A sadistic act may or may not lead to the death of a victim.

Necrophilia and lust murder: Necrophilia is a type of paraphilia, it denotes sexual desire towards corpse.[13] A recent example of necrophilia is the case of a 20-year-old Bangladeshi boy named Munna, a morgue assistant who was found guilty of having sexual intercourse with dead bodies in the morgue. He in total had sexual intercourse with six dead bodies at the morgue kept for autopsy.[14] On the other hand, necro-sadists usually murder their target for the very purpose of having post-mortem intercourse.[15] When it relates to lust murder this behaviour becomes repetitive, over the time it becomes a way to fulfil their sexual desire through the corpse.

Cannibalism and lust murder: Cannibalism or anthropophagy is a kind of homicide where the body parts of the victim are eaten or prepared for consumption.[16] In sexual cannibalism the assailant sexualizes eating another person’s flesh. Some lust murderers are also known to have eaten some body parts of the victims; this type of sexual violence is known to give the assailant extreme sexual pleasure. Anthony Morley, who was a trained chef in the United Kingdom killed his boyfriend and cooked his flesh with herbs for eating.[17] This was one of the gruesome acts in the history with which the world has been encountered.


Lust murderers have diverse behaviour which makes them different from the typical criminals. Lust murderers not only suffer from various disorders and social anxiety, but they are also harmful to the society and family they live in. Lust murderers can go to any extend for turning their imagination into reality. When these persons manifest themselves to the highest level, they can be both dysfunctional as well as criminal. So, there should be a separate law for these kinds of offenders as do not have the traditional criminal mind. As well as a rehabilitation centre should be established by the state where these kinds of offenders who have psychological issues can be treated. Lastly, consciousness relating to these kinds of people around us can be a principal key for a secured surrounding. It may help to reduce the availability of targeted victims around the offenders and to get a safe environment to live in.

Writer: Nur-A Ariya Alam, LL.B (Hon’s) 3rd Year, East West University


[1] Edwards, Roxanne Dryden ‘Facts you should know about paraphilia’ (Paraphilias, 28th August) < > accessed 16 August 2021

[2] Purcell and Arrigo, The Psychology of Lust Murder Paraphilia, Sexual Killing, and Serial Homicide (Nikki Levy 2006) 25

[3] Vernon Geberth, ‘Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques’ (Anatomy of a Lust Murder, 5th May) <> accessed 18 August 2021

[4] The Penal Code 1860, section 299

[5] Erin kelly, ‘The Horrifying Story of Rodney Alcala, The Serial Killer Who Won ‘The Dating Game’ During His Murder Spree’ (All That’s Interesting, 26 July 2021) < > accessed 20 August 2021

[6] CDCR, ‘Executed Inmate Summary – William George Bonin’ (California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation) < > accessed 20 August 2021

[7] Freda Adler and others, Criminology (9th edn, McGraw-Hill Education 2018) 231

[8] Ibid n(3)

[9] Mark Griffiths, ‘Thrilling Killing and the Disgust of Lust Erotophonophilia and the psychology of sexual homicide’ (Psychology Today, 29 August 2013) <> accessed 20 August 2021

[10] Ibid n(7)195

[11] HT correspondent, ‘2012 Delhi gang rape case: What happened on December 16’ (Hindustan Times , 20 March 2020) < > accessed 21August 2021

[12] ‘The Daily Star’ (Noakhali Gang Rape Victim: Delwar raped her several times before, 7th October) <> accessed 22 August 2021

[13] Anil Agarwal, ‘Necrophilia ‘ [2016] 4(2) Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine

[14] ‘Necrophiliac morgue worker arrested in Dhaka’ (Dhaka Tribune, 20 November 2020) < > accessed 22 August 2021

[15] CatherineE Purcell and BruceA Arrigo, The Psychology of Lust Murder Paraphilia, Sexual Killing, and Serial Homicide (Nikki Levy 2006) 21

[16] Marlies Oostland, ‘Frontiers in psychology ‘ (Kin-Avoidance in Cannibalistic Homicide, 31st August) < > accessed 25 August 2021

[17] Guy Birchall , ‘The Sun’ (MAN-EATERS 10 of the world’s grizzliest cannibal cases from Jeffrey Dahmer to Luka Magnotta, 3 October 2017) <> accessed 25 August 2021


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