Any study into the minds of the world’s biggest serial killers is likely to include the horrific acts of Andrei Chikatilo. The man who became known as the Rostov Ripper was ultimately responsible for somewhere between 52 & 56 murders and the majority of his victims were subjected to horrific acts of torture.
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on the 16th of October 1936 in the village of Yablochnoye in Ukraine.
He was born at the height of Stalin’s purges and his family were cripplingly poor at a time when Ukrainian farmers had to hand over all their crops as part of mass collectivisation. There was even a suggestion that Chikatilo was born into a world where Cannibalism wasn’t unknown amongst starving Ukrainians and there are claims that his brother Stepan was kidnapped and eaten.
Crucial formative years
Like many serial killers, Chikatilo seems to have developed some form of sexual repression from a very early age. Throughout childhood he was reported to be a chronic bedwetter and by the time he reached puberty, he had become sexually impotent.
Even when he married in 1963, Chikatilo couldn’t maintain an erection and it is believed that the couple conceived a son and a daughter only after he ejaculated externally and introduced the semen from this point.
The murders begin
In 1978, Chikatilo moved to the town of Shakhty near Rostov-on-Don and it was here that he committed his first murder in December of that year.
Chikatilo lured 9 year old Yelena Zakotnova to an abandoned house where he ultimately stabbed her to death before dumping her body in a nearby river.
Incredibly, the Rostov Ripper’s reign of terror could have been finished at this point after witnesses described a man resembling Chikatilo with the girl earlier in the day. Unfortunately another local man, Alexsandr Kravchenko who had a previous conviction for a similar murder was arrested instead.
The reign of terror gathers momentum
Chikatilo didn’t kill again for another two years and following a single murder in 1981, his urge for killing became uncontrollable.
After the murder of Lyubov Biryuk at the start of 1982, he was responsible for six further murders in the final six months of the year. By now, Chikatilo could only achieve orgasm through the act of stabbing and this appeared to be the catalyst for his acts.
Arrest and death
The increase in killings around the Rostov area attracted so much attention that a female lure was set up. Chikatilo fell into the trap and was arrested on the 13th of September 1984. Incredibly he was released due to insufficient evidence.
From this point he kept a low profile but eventually the urge to kill became overwhelming once again. His murders became more sporadic than before but police were still aware of the epidemic.
Finally, he was arrested in Novocherkassk in November 1990and this time there was no escaping punishment.
After a protracted trial Chikatilo was executed in 1994. He will forever be remembered at the Rostov Ripper but many will argue that the real crime was that he wasn’t brought to justice much sooner.