Category: Serial Killing
Location: Dusseldorf, Germany
Date: 1913 - 1930
Crime: Known as the 'Vampire of Dusseldorf', Kurten committed a series of sex crimes and murders against adults and children.
Biography: Kurten was the third of eleven children, born into a poverty-stricken family on May 26, 1883. His alcoholic father raged out of control and was continually sexually assaulting Kurten's mother and sisters. He soon followed in his father's footsteps and took to sexually abusing his sisters also. From a very young age, he began committing petty crimes and soon ran away from home. He claims that at the age of nine, he murdered two friends while they were swimming, but was never caught or charged. He spent time in and out of prison for various crimes, and eventually went to work with the local dogcatcher who taught Kurten how to torture animals. From there, he progressed to humans. His first murder for which he was charged with, was the strangling death of a 10-year old girl and he served eight years in prison. In 1921, he was released from prison and returned to Dusseldorf where he began the series of crimes for which he is best known. From February 1929 through November 1929, Kurten went on the attack and viciously murdered six people, most of whom were stabbed as many as 30 times. Then in early 1930, Kurten began a series of attacks with a hammer. None of his victims died, and one that he brought to his home, took out in to the woods and raped, ultimately lead the police to capture him. Once he was in custody, Kurten confessed to nine murders and seven attempted murders and in April 1931, he was convicted and sentenced to die by guillotine.