A small boo-boo or the birth of a serial killer?
A study suggests that bumps to the head can lead to neural injuries that alter the brain structure and increase the risk of violent offending
More than half of criminals may have suffered a head injury that could be fuelling their offending, a new review by British brain experts suggests.
Specialists from the universities of Oxford, Exeter, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield, and the Centre for Mental Health, have called for prisoners to be checked for signs of brain injuries.A review, published on Tuesday in The Lancet Psychiatry, suggests that bumps to the head can lead to neural injuries that alter the brain structure and increase the risk of violent offending.The authors claim that up to 60% of people in custody have suffered head injuries in the past. They said helping prisoners receive treatment could prevent further offending, and called on schools and doctors to help identify young people who have suffered head injuries before they go on to commit crime.
However, some experts said it was difficult to say definitively whether trauma caused criminal behaviour.Ryan Aguiar, a consultant clinical neuropsychologist at Ashworth Secure Hospital in Liverpool, said: “Crime is a much more complex condition that is brought about by a myriad of social, environmental, personality, mental health and situational circumstances. Head injury is only one among many and not even a first among equals.”
Peter McCabe, the chief executive of Headway, said: “The vast majority of people who sustain a brain injury will not be involved with the criminal justice system. However, some of the effects of brain injury ... can lead people into difficulty with the law and evidence suggests over-representation of brain injury in offender populations.”
– © The Daily TelegraphSerial killers who suffered head injuries
Glen Edward Rogers “The Cross Country Killer” – As a toddler Rogers would rock back and forth, continually banging his forehead.
Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker” – Ramirez sustained a significant injury to his head when a dresser fell on top of him causing him to suffer from epileptic seizures.
John Wayne Gacy “The Killer Clown” - Gacy was beaten unconscious by his father, and he was struck in the head with a swing, which it resulted in his suffering from blackouts.
Fred West “The Gloucester Road Murders” - Aged 17, West suffered a fractured skull in a motorbike accident which caused him to black out frequently.
David Berkowitz “Son of Sam” - Berkowitz ran into the road outside his childhood home and was struck by a car. A few months later, he ran into a wall and again suffered from head injuries.
Albert Fish “The Werewolf of Wysteria” - Fish fell from a cherry tree, which caused severe head trauma.
Ed Gein “The Plainfield Butcher” - Gein came from an abusive family and would later claim that his violent alcoholic father would beat him about the head.
Gary Heidnek - aged six, Heidnek fell out of a tree while playing which resulted in his skull being oddly shaped.
Alexander Pichushkin “The Chessboard Killer” - Pichushkin’s personality changed when he fell backwards off of a swing.
Robert Joe Long “The Classified Ad Rapist” - Long suffered serious head injuries in his early years.
Peter Sutcliffe “The Yorkshire Ripper” - Sutcliffe was born five days premature and was starved of oxygen at birth.
Arthur Shawcross “The Genesee River Killer” – At 16 Shawcross was hit in the head with a sports discus.
Henry Lee Lucas “The Highway Stalker” - Lucas claims to have received numerous head injuries between the ages of five and 10.
Dennis Rader “The BTK Killer” - Rader stated that as an infant, his mother had accidentally dropped him on his head. He had stopped breathing and had turned blue. - murdermiletours