These couples were so madly in love that it drove them to commit some of the most atrocious crimes in history. At this point in time, there have been so many couples turned criminals that they have their own term in psychology, referred to as the “Bonnie and Clyde syndrome.” Check out the stories of the most sordid couples and the heinous crimes they committed in the name of love.
David and Catherine Birnie
David and Catherine Birnie were a married Australian couple that became vicious murderers. The two met as children, she was twelve and he was fourteen. Both of them came from rather unfortunate backgrounds, but David’s was particularly heinous. His family home was extremely unkempt and his parents were raging alcoholics. There were also allegations of incest within his family. Catherine’s father attempted to keep her from David and she even ended up meeting another man and having seven children with him.
However, she ultimately reunited with David. The two ended up raping and murdering four young women. Their names were Mary Neilson who was aged 22, Susannah Candy aged 15, Noelene Patterson aged 31, and Denise Brown aged 21. Their fifth victim was able to escape and the murderous couple was finally caught. David committed suicide in 2005 by hanging himself in his cell, Catherine remains imprisoned to this day.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Ian Brady was a white supremacist who identified with Nazi ideals. He first met Myra Hindley in the early 1960’s. She was allegedly immediately infatuated with him and would prove to conform to any of his whims. Ian gave Myra multiple books by Hitler as well as other Nazi writings. Myra even bleached her hair blonde to better fit the Aryan aesthetic. Ian became obsessed with committing the “perfect murder” and ultimately he convinced Myra to assist him in 1963.
They abducted a sixteen-year-old girl named Pauline Reade. Pauline was a friend of Myra’s younger sister. Myra asked her to help her look for a lost glove. When they arrived, Ian was waiting. He raped Myra and then brutally murdered Pauline in a horrifying knife attack. They continued their spree for the next two years abducting, torturing, and murdering five more children. They were ultimately turned into the police by Myra’s sister and brother in law who saw Ian kill a teenage boy. They were both sentenced to life in prison.
He Never Told
While the bodies of their other victims were found, the whereabouts of the body of 12-year-old Keith Bennett was never discovered, and Ian Brady refused to tell. The mother of the boy, Winnie Johson, begged Brady to tell her, so she could have closure. But while held in jail, he refused, and she passed away never knowing.
Photo by William H Alden/Getty Images
In 2002, Myra Hindley died, while Brady was held and cared for at Ashworth Hospital, suffering from emphysema. 50 years after the murders, he was pronounced dead at the age of 79. Terry Kilbride, the brother of one of the victims, told SkyNews, “It needs celebrating, getting rid of him, like we did when Hindley went. We had a good drink.”
Dolly Oesterreich and Otto Sanhuber
Walburga “Dolly” Oesterreich married up and into wealth when she wed factory owner Fred Oesterreich in the 1910’s. Fred’s large factory in Milwaukee manufactured women’s clothing. Ultimately, the couple moved to Los Angeles. While the couple seemed happy at face value, Fred was a heavy drinker leading to constant fights behind the scenes.
Ultimately, his wife Dolly sought comfort in the arms of another man and took up with 17-year-old sewing machine repairman Otto Sanhuber. Otto worked at her husband’s factory and she used this as an excuse to entice him to her. She claimed her sewing machine was broken and Otto was sent to repair it. At the door, she greeted him in scandalous attire and seduced him. Allegedly, she referred to him as her “sex slave.”
Click next to find out what happens.
Forces Lover To Live In Attic
The two carried on their affair for some time with disregard to who saw them. Ultimately, neighbors commented to Fred that his wife was being unfaithful. Meanwhile, Dolly claimed to onlookers that Otto was her “vagabond half brother.” In order to continue her affair without anyone finding out, she moved Otto into the attic. Otto was apparently obsessed with his older lover and didn’t mind being confined.
All he had upstairs was a mattress, chamber pot, and an oil lamp. In addition to being her sex slave, Dolly also had him cook, clean, and other household duties. One night Dolly and her husband Fred got into a huge fight, hearing their yelling from his upstairs enclave, Otto came downstairs with two .25 caliber pistols and shot Fred three times.
Staged Murder Scene
The paramour couple staged Fred’s death to look like a robbery by taking his items, and then locking Dolly in the closet. The murder remained unsolved for some time until suspicions of neighbors began to unravel. Dolly ended up trying to seduce her lawyer, Herman Shapiro.
Herman began to realize his client was lying. The police soon found her husband’s supposedly stolen watch and two .25 caliber pistols. Dolly was arrested, meanwhile, Otto was still in the attic! Dolly even used her man-eating ways to have her new lover, the lawyer Herman, go feed her other lover in his locked-up abode.
After Herman met Otto he quickly realized what an insane situation he was getting into. Herman got Otto or “Bat Man” as he was referred to in the press, to leave and broke off his relationship with Dolly. Otto subsequently fled to Canada, changed his name and remarried.
He was ultimately caught and put on trial but got off due to the statute of limitations. Dolly was also tried for murder but there was a hung jury and she had charges dropped against her in 1936. She actually found a new lover and lived the rest of her life undisturbed until her death in 1961.
Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck
Raymond Fernandez was a career criminal and spent time in and out of prison. In the 1940’s he was doing time for petty theft and another prisoner introduced him to the world of voodoo and the occult. When Raymond was released, he decided to try and use his voodoo to attract women to him.
He would answer lonely singles ads, planning to seduce them, ensure their trust, and then rob them blind. He was actually successful with his plan until he met Martha Beck. Martha had two children in tow, Raymond told her he would stay with her if she got rid of her kids.
See what happens in the next slide.
Serial Killer Duo
Martha obliged and abandoned them at the Salvation Army. Raymond thought this meant that she was truly devoted to him. The couple immediately became a crime duo. Martha hated Raymond’s ploy with women and would become outrageously jealous and attack the women. They began murdering the women they were conning. In 1949, they murdered a widow and her two-year-old daughter.
The neighbors alerted the police and they found Raymond and Martha living in the widow’s home. They were immediately arrested and signed a confession. Authorities believe they killed at least twenty people. They were found guilty of their crimes, sentenced to death and executed in the electric chair in 1951.
Rosemary and Fred West
The deranged married couple Rosemary and Fred West, are arguably one of the worst serial killer couples of all time. They both hail from England where they had difficult upbringings, and they both alleged to have incestuous relationships with family members. Fred was briefly imprisoned for theft and he left Rosemary to care for Charmaine, his stepdaughter from a previous relationship.
Rosemary was an extremely violent woman and regularly beat Charmaine. At one point, Charmaine allegedly stopped crying in response to the beatings, which enraged Rosemary and she killed her. Fred was released from prison and Charmaine’s mother came to collect her however the girl was gone.
Murdered Their Own Child
Fred and Rosemary went on to have their own children together but their marriage was anything but normal. Rosemary had a sexual relationship with her own father, and Fred also encouraged her to prostitute herself. He built a special room for her fit with a peephole to watch. Ultimately, Fred began abusing his own daughters who were children at the time, they even filmed the abuse.
The couple also continued murdering others including one of their own daughters, neighborhood children, and eight other women between 1973 and 1987. The couple was finally caught in 1994 after police investigated the disappearance of one of their daughters. Fred confessed to ten murders. However, investigators tacked on eleven more murder charges to Fred after more remains were uncovered on his property. Rosemary never confessed but was still found guilty of ten murders. Fred subsequently hanged himself in prison. Rosemary was sentenced to life.
Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
Canadian couple Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka met in 1987 and married in 1991. Allegedly, Paul was bothered by the fact that Karla was not a virgin. Several months before they married, Karla wanted to “gift” her fifteen-year-old sister’s virginity to Paul. On Christmas Eve 1990, Karla drugged her sister with alcohol and the drug halothane. They then videotaped themselves raping the girl. At some point, Karla’s sister choked to death on her own vomit. They continued on their spree and raped and killed at least two more girls. Ultimately, Paul was connected through DNA evidence to several other rapes that had occurred.
They were subsequently arrested, Karla was being abused by Paul and had been badly beaten when taken into police custody. She confessed in exchange for a plea deal which sentenced her to twelve years. Later, video evidence emerged that Karla was a much more willing participant than she initially portrayed herself to be. Paul was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Karla was released in 2005 and has since remarried and had three children.
Charlene and Gerald Gallego
Another disturbed married couple for the list is Charlene and Gerald Gallego who raped and murdered nine young women between the years of 1978 and 1980. One of the poor victims was even a pregnant woman. As seems to be the par for course in these relationships, Gerald controlled Charlene who did whatever he said.
The two began to discuss having their own “disposable sex slaves.” They decided to act on these perverted thoughts and abducted young women, the youngest being thirteen years old. They repeatedly raped the women and then murdered them when they wanted to dispose of them and move on to their next victim.
End Of A Spree
Ultimately, Charlene and Gerald abducted a young engaged couple from a parking lot. They shot and killed the man and then raped and killed the woman. This time was different however as the kidnapping had taken place in public by the brazen duo. Friends of the unfortunate couple witnessed their abduction. They wrote down the license plate and called the police. Finally, the murderous duo was arrested.
Charlene subsequently pled guilty and testified against Gerald. She was sentenced to sixteen years and released in 1997. Gerald was convicted of murder in two states and sentenced to death. However, he died of cancer while imprisoned in 2002.
Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate
Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate met as teenagers in the late 1950’s. They were not your typical 1950’s couple however and were head for infamy. They were allegedly hopelessly in love, and Caril Ann was only fourteen years old. Her parents did not approve of her dating the nineteen-year-old Charles which led to an intense fight. During the debacle, Charles shot and killed Caril’s mom, stepfather, and even strangled her baby half-sister.
The couple then went on the run throughout the Midwest. For two months they murdered almost every single person they encountered. Ultimately, they were said to have murdered eleven people and two dogs. They were finally caught in January of 1958 in Wyoming. They were convicted of murder and Charles received the death penalty. Caril was sentenced to life but was paroled in 1976. She got out of prison and lives in Michigan.
Ray and Faye Copeland
Ray and Faye Copeland were an elderly couple who were the last people you would suspect for murder. Yet the two would hire drifters and have then buy cattle with fake checks they wrote. Ray would then mark up the cattle tremendously more than their actual worth. The elderly crime duo would promise to give the drifters money for helping their scam. However, when time came to pay up, Ray would kill them instead.
Ultimately another drifter contacted police after seeing human remains. Faye claimed abuse at the hand of Ray, and even said she was unaware of the murders. However, it was discovered that she made a quilt from the clothes of one of the men. The two became the oldest people ever in the United States to receive the death penalty. Ray was seventy-six years old and Faye was sixty-nine. Ray died three years later in 1993 and Faye lived until 2003.
Henry Lucas and Ottis Toole
Henry Lucas and Ottis Toole are definitely one of the strangest and most heinous serious killers in history. In the early 1970’s the two met at a soup kitchen and soon became lovers. It is still unknown when they actually embarked on murdering people. What is known, is that in 1983 Henry was arrested on weapons charges. He brazenly bragged about his murders to other inmates. Ottis denied involvement initially but soon confessed. The pair confessed to literally hundreds of murders. While they showed they definitely had firsthand knowledge of some of the crimes, some of the confessions were not believed.
They murdered people in various ways and their victims ranged in age, race, and gender. Henry was convicted of eleven murders and sentenced to death. Otis was convicted of five murders and sentenced to death. Ottis claimed that he was the one who murdered Adam Walsh, son of John Walsh now famous for America’s Most Wanted. Both of their sentences were later changed to life and both have since died in prison, Otis in 1996 and Henry in 2001.
Bonnie and Clyde
What would a list about murderous couples be without the most infamous – Bonnie and Clyde? Bonnie and Clyde allegedly first met at a friend’s home in Dallas and the two were almost immediately inseparable. Clyde was already a criminal who had been jailed multiple times, Bonnie’s first husband was also a career criminal and they had been separated for some time when she first met Clyde.
They soon embarked on a crime spree as they traveled around the Midwest area throughout the years between 1930 and 1934. Most of their crimes involved burglaries and robberies, but they also delved into the occasional murder. They were eventually accused of killing at least thirteen people. Historians believe that Bonnie gave up her normal life to a life of crime simply because she fell in love. The couple apparently anticipated their deaths, and they were eventually killed by police in a barrage of gunfire in 1934.
Suzan and James Carson
Hippie-esque couple Suzan and James Carson met sometime in the early 1980’s. James was previously married but began exhibiting super strange behavior so his wife left with their child. Suzan was also recently divorced with teenage sons. The two began getting heavily involved in drugs and mysticism which they claimed was “Islam.” Allegedly they referred to themselves as “vegetarian Muslim warriors.”
Their first murder was in 1981 and was their roommate a woman named Keryn Barnes. They claimed she was a witch and needed to be killed. They then moved to a marijuana farm where they also worked. Soon they embarked on a murderous spree where they targeted anybody they believed had an “evil energy.”
Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood
Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood were a young lesbian couple who met in Michigan at a nursing home where they worked. The two were into some particularly disturbing ways of being. Initially, the two engaged in rougher than usual sexual habits including choking but they soon found that they wanted even more violent stimulation. Soon they began murdering elderly women at the nursing home where they worked.
They first murdered a woman in 1987 and they continued on with four other murders. They brazenly bragged about their crimes to their co-workers who thought they were lying. Ultimately Gwendolyn ordered Catherine to commit a murder however she refused. The two eventually split and Gwendolyn moved to Texas. Catherine crumbled under the weight of her crimes and confessed to the police. Catherine’s confession got her a twenty-year sentence and Gwendolyn was sentenced to life.
Suzan and James soon ended up killing another worker on the farm by shooting him. Authorities were called to the farm but they had already fled. They discovered a man’s burnt remains. Suzan and James had left their belongings behind which included an anti-government manifesto that called for the assassination of Ronald Reagan.
Not long after the couple was hitchhiking and killed the man who offered them a ride after Suzan claimed he was a witch. Soon they were apprehended and even spoke at a press conference where they claimed they were attempting to break evil spells that had been placed on them. The couple was sentenced to life in prison where they both remain today.