We are curious about the lives of serial killers – a morbid fascination drives us to learn more about what makes these cold-blooded killers tick and how they live their lives behind closed doors.
Scarily enough, we normally don’t get to see how they choose to live until they have committed their horrendous crimes. Then these homes become even creepier than before.
For many of their victims, this was the last place they took their last breath…
8. Jeffrey Dahmer
Apartment 213, 924 North 25th Street, Milwaukee
Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, murdered and dismembered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He would strip the bodies of flesh and store these parts in his fridge at home so he could consume them later.
The front door to Dahmer’s apartment which his victims walked through…
In August ’91, Tracy Edwards accepted $100 to ‘keep Dahmer company’ but when he got to Dahmer’s apartment, he noticed a foul smell and a 57-gallon drum. Edwards was then cuffed and Dahmer told his intended victim that he wanted to cut his heart out and eat it, all the while holding a knife to Edwards’ chest.
However, Edwards managed to convince Dahmer that he needed the bathroom and that he could be trusted not to run away. When Dahmer uncuffed him, Edwards punched him in the face and ran.
Edwards returned to Dahmer’s apartment with police. When hunting for the key to the handcuffs, investigators discovered photos of dismembered bodies and a severed head in the fridge.
Interior of Jeffrey Dahmer’s home…
After his arrest and subsequent trial, the public were so outraged, he stood trial behind a sheet of bullet-proof glass. He also had to be brought to court in a wheelchair as the shackles on his ankles were too heavy for him to walk.
In 1984, Dahmer was beaten to death in prison by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
Police removing a refrigerator from Dahmer’s apartment that contained the head, heart and partial skeleton of a victim…
7. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
57 Bayview Drive, Port Dalhousie, Ontario
Convicted serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka both raped and murdered at least three women. The married couple gained worldwide media attention during 1991 to 1992 for killing Ontario teenage girls.
On Christmas Eve 1990, six months before they were married, they drugged Homolka’s 15-year-old sister Tammy and videotaped themselves as they assaulted her in the basement of Homolka’s family home. As her parents slept upstairs, Tammy began to choke on her vomit but the couple couldn’t revive her.
Karla and Paul are pictured at home (also pictured) on their wedding day in 1991.
She was rushed to St. Catharines General Hospital without having regained consciousness and the cause of death was accidental due to intoxication. Both Bernardo and Homolka moved out shortly after to allow the parents time to grieve – but they hadn’t finished their sinister killing spree just yet…
Shortly after their wedding, Bernardo kidnapped Leslie Mahaffy on June 15th, 1991, then took her back to their new home in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. Here the couple tortured the girl before Bernardo strangled her to death. The pair decided the best way to dispose of the evidence would be to dismember the body and then encase each part in cement. Bernardo used his grandfather’s circular saw to cut the body and went to dump the evidence in Lake Gibson, 18 kilometres from their home.
Almost a year later on April 16th, 1992, they kidnapped 14-year-old Kristen French and over the three days of Easter weekend they filmed themselves torturing and killing her with a noose. They dumped her body in a ditch a 45-minute drive away from their home.
The evil couple appear happy celebrating Christmas at home together.
Bernardo had been questioned by police several times over his stalking of other women, the death of Tammy Homolka’s death, and several other rapes in the area. The police find made an arrest in 1993 when his DNA matched with evidence found at a crime scene.
After Bernardo’s arrest, Homolka told investigators that she was unwilling to murder anyone and she had been badly abused by her husband. She struck a deal with the prosecution and was sentenced to 12-years for manslaughter for a guilty plea bargain. Homolka scored only 5/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, whereas Bernardo scored 35/40. Many believed that Homolka was another one of Bernado’s victims and she should have not been charged at all.
The bedroom where the couple had tortured two of their teenage victims.
What Homolka had forgotten to do was destroy the shocking videotape of the murders that clearly proved she was a more than willing participant alongside her husband. Behind bars and knowing it was too late, Homolka just had to sit and hope nobody ever played the tape. Unfortunately for her, the tape had been found and her real involvement in the murders unravelled.
Although, as she had made a plea deal she still only served 12-years instead of life. In 2007, she was released and moved to Quebec where she remarried and had a son. More recently in 2012, a journalist found Homolka was living in Guadeloupe, under the name Leanne Bordelais, with her husband and their three children. She will now be 46-years-old.
Bedside table where the torture tape sat that revealed Homolka’s true involvement in the crimes.
Paul Bernardo is now 51-years-old and remains behind bars at Millhaven Institution in Bath, incarcerated in the segregation unit. He is not eligible to apply for parole until 2018.
Outraged locals attacked the home of Bernardo and Homolka. They smashed through the windows and wrote ‘You’ll pay’ in paint on the walls. The home has since been demolished and a newly built house has been fixed in its place.
Their home finally being demolished…
6. DENNIS NILSEN
23 Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, London
Former soldier and policeman, Dennis Nilsen strangled at least fifteen boys and young men in London between 1978 and 1983.
After keeping their corpses and sleeping with them beside him in bed for several days because he was “lonely”, Nilsen would dispose of the remains of his victims by either burning them on a bonfire or cutting them up and flushing them down the toilet.
The one bedroom apartment was last on sale for $390,000
Nilsen was actually partly responsible for the discovery of his grim pursuits. He wrote a letter of complaint to his estate agents, complaining that he and his fellow residents of the rented digs found the living conditions “intolerable” because the drains were blocked. Despite the fact, he had blocked the drains himself with the remains of his own victims.
The home where he killed his victims pictured in 1982…
Then in 2013…
A maintenance company named Dyno-Rod were called out to investigate and that was when the grisly discovery was made. On opening a drain cover, Michael Cattran found a flesh-like substance and several small bones. Nilsen suggested that people had been flushing the remains of their KFC as Cattran and his supervisor left for the evening.
When they returned the following morning, all trace of evidence had been removed presumably in a last minute panic by Nilsen. However, he had overlooked cleaning the main pipe leading to the drain which still contained more remains.
The home was not the cleanliest…
Police were called and, on entering Nilsen’s flat to make inquiries, they immediately identified the smell of rotting flesh. When asked about the smell, Nilsen told the police he wanted to confess.
He is currently serving a life sentence at HMP Full Sutton maximum security prison in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, and is 70-years-old.
5. Stephen Port
59-70 Cooke Street, Barking, London
41-year-old Stephen Port hunted gay men on the dating app Grindr, lured them back to his apartment in Barking, London, before drugging them and killing them in cold blood. He would spike their drinks with lethal doses of the GHB drug and then have sex with them as they lay unconscious. He is responsible for the deaths of four young men and multiple sexual assaults.
The bedroom where Port would assault his victims…
His victims were 23-year-old Anthony Walgate, 22-year-old Gabriel Kovari, 21-year-old Daniel Whitworth, and 25-year-old Jack Taylor. All of their bodies were found close to Port’s apartment although their deaths were made to look like a self-administered overdose or a suicide.
Items found at his home included a bottle of ‘Amsterdam Gold’ poppers on the bedside table, another bottle of poppers inside the fridge, an empty bottle of baby oil, a dildo, condoms and lubricating gel in a bedroom drawer and a large number of DVDs, including pornography in a living room cabinet.
Although the body of his first victim was found outside Port’s front door, and the other three in a graveyard close by, the Metropolitan Police neglected to link the deaths. They were criticized for not thoroughly investigating the deaths of the four young men properly and were accused of homophobia.
The front entrance to the apartment…
4. John Christie
10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London
Born in 1899, Yorkshireman John Christie was unable to ever speak loudly after he was injured as an infantryman during the First World War. Following his discharge, he turned to crime, soon racking up a criminal record for theft and assault.
10 Rillington Place…
His record went unchecked when he was accepted for service with the War Reserve Police during the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. He moved from petty crime to murder – between 1943 and 1953 he had murdered eight known victims.
The kitchen alcove where Christie hid the bodies…
Christie would force his victims to fall unconscious by either strangulation or with domestic gas, he sexually assaulted some as they helpless before him. He hid the bodies of three of his victims in an alcove of the kitchen at his home (pictured above) – 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London. Then in 1953, he moved out, leaving his own wife, Ethel Christie (played by BIFA award winner Samantha Morton), buried under the floorboards.
Tragically for Welshman Timothy Evans, he had already crossed paths with John Christie and this proved to be fatal for him. In 1947, he met his wife Beryl and the happy couple moved into the top floor of 10 Rillington Place. Sadly for them both, Timothy’s heavy drinking turned the marriage into a nightmare and just two years later Beryl seeked help from John Christie, as she wanted an abortion.
Beryl died. A postmortem showed she had been strangled to death and all fingers were pointing towards her own husband. In 1950, Timothy was put on trial for the murder – he was found guilty and hanged at Pentonville Prison.
The garden where bodies were found…
Finally in 1953, John Christie’s crimes were revealed when new tenants uncovered the bodies at 10 Rillington Place. Christie was arrested and convicted of murder, for which he was hanged.
37 years later, the Evans family set out to clear Timothy’s name. In 2003, it was officially declared “the conviction of Timothy Evans is now recognised to have been one of the most notorious, if not the most notorious, miscarriages of justice.”
“There is no evidence to implicate Timothy Evans in the murder of his wife. She was most probably murdered by Christie.”
3. Dorothea Puente
1426 F Street, downtown Sacramento, California
Dorothea Puente became known as the Boarding House Killer as she killed her elderly tenants, many who were mentally ill or disabled, and cashed in their Social Security checks. She then buried the bodies in the yard at her Sacramento, California home. Her evil crimes made her around $5,000 a month.
In 1960, Puente was arrested for running a brothel and was sentenced to 90 days in the Sacramento County Jail. Following her release from jail, she found work as a nurse, and began caring for disabled and elderly people in private homes. Not soon after she began to manage boarding houses of her own for the elderly.
1988 police dug up bodies from the yard…
Suspicion was aroused when neighbors noticed Puente had hired a local homeless alcoholic, known only as ‘Chief’, who she made her personal handyman. They noticed Chief was doing a lot of digging for no reason in the garden – then not long after he had been he completely disappeared.
On November 11th, 1988, police inquired after the disappearance of one of Puente’s tenants, a man named Alberto Montoya, who suffered from schizophrenia. At the boarding house, they discovered disturbed soil on the property, when they looked further they uncovered the first body.
The house is now open to tourists with a mock mannequin of Puentes…
John Cabrera, the Sacramento Police Department’s lead homicide detective, said that when he walked through the home during the investigation he knew there had been a death. He told the
He told the Sacramento Bee, “I pulled the carpet and saw there were stains. I knew right away it was body fluid.” Seven bodies were eventually found, and Puente was charged with a total of nine murders, convicted of three and sentenced to two life sentences. Seven bodies in total were found buried at the property.
A sign outside the home reads “Trespassers will be drugged and buried in the yard…”
Prosecution argued that Puente deserved the death penalty. They told the court, “These people were human beings, they had a right to live-they did not have a lot of possessions-no houses-no cars-only their social security checks and their lives. She took it all… Death is the only appropriate penalty.”
Although the jurors bought into her little old lady act and declared, “Executing Puente would be like executing mine or your Grandma.” Puente was charged with a total of nine murders, convicted of three and sentenced to two life sentences.
Full tour of the home…
2. John Wayne Gacy
8213 Summerdale, Norwood Park Township, Cook County
John Wayne Gacy killed at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois. All of Gacy’s murders were committed inside his own Norwood Park Township home – 26 bodies were found hidden in the crawlspace.
Dressed as ‘Pogo the Clown’…
Gacy was dubbed “The Killer Clown” by the media as he was cherished in the local community, often attending charitable events, parades and children’s parties dressed as “Pogo the Clown”. Gacy later remarked to surveillance detectives: “You know… clowns can get away with murder.”
A family man. His wife knew nothing of his activities…
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 17th, 1942, he was the only son and the second of John Stanley Gacy senior – a World War I veteran. As a child Gacy Jnr was overweight, his alcoholic and violent father would often taunt him about his appearance. He could never win his father’s affection or approval and often would be beaten unconscious during one of his rages.
Emotionally he was tormented, as his father would taunt him with names like “sissy”, “Mama’s boy” and that he would “probably grow up queer”. During his time in fourth grade, Gacy began to suffer blackouts and his seizures would often cause him to be hospitalized. Although his father often accused him of faking his illness, often berating him as he stood beside his own hospital bed.
He married his wife, Carole, in 1972, but three years and two children later he told her that he was bisexual and there would be no more sexual intercourse between them.
To get his kicks he then began luring victims back to the address by either force or deception, and all were strangled to death – apart from his first victim who he stabbed.
Gacy buried 26 bodies within the crawl space of his home where he would often pour quicklime to speed up the decomposing process. Four more bodies belonging to victims were found discarded in the Des Plaines River.
Fully stocked bar at the family home. Drinks were shared between Gacy and his young victims…
In 1978, Gacy visited a Des Plaines pharmacy where he met 15-year-old part-time employee Robert Jerome Piest, he mentioned that his firm hired teenage boys and that they should meet and discuss a future opportunity. Piest was never seen again and the pharmacy owner told the police Gacy was the last person he was seen talking to.
Police arrived at Gacy’s home and noticed a foul smell coming from under the floorboards. They decided to investigate and found the most disturbing crime scene they had ever come across.
Gacy confessed to the murders and even drew diagrams of his basement to show where the bodies were buried. He later returned to the home with detectives to point out where other bodies had been disposed of including by a garage and a BBQ pit.
During the trial Gacy tried to convince the court-appointed doctors that he suffered from multiple personality disorder. Three psychiatric experts appearing for the defense at Gacy’s trial testified they found Gacy to be a paranoid schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder.
Convicted of 33 murders, Gacy was sentenced to death by lethal injection on May 10th, 1994.
Detectives removing bodies from the home…
1. Fred and Rose West
25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester
Fred and Rose West met at a caravan park when she was around 16-years-old. The couple went on to become two of the most sinister serial killers of all time. Together they committed at least 12 murders between 1967 and 1987 in Gloucestershire, England, and all the victims were young females. The bodies of their victims were then buried under the patio or at the basement of their home.
Cartoons on the walls in the basement where the bodies were buried…
Rose worked as a prostitute at her husband’s insistence, and often while he watched. She regularly fell pregnant by both her husband and her customers, giving birth to eight children in total, as well as looking after Fred’s daughter and stepdaughter from previous marriages. They moved to 25 Cromwell Street to accommodate their growing family – this soon became known as ‘The House Of Horrors.’
Boarded up windows so onlookers couldn’t see the evil inside…
In 1973, the pair were fined for the indecent assault of beauty queen Caroline Roberts, who was abducted and raped before escaping their house. Soon the couple realized that if they wished to continue their crimes, their victims should not be allowed to live to tell the tale.
Their usual tactic was to offer a woman on the street a lift home, take her back to their house and murder her, before burying her body in their cellar or back garden. Rose West’s gender was crucial in allowing the pair to commit their crimes; women traveling alone at night were more likely to accept a lift from a couple than from a single male driver.
Pictures inside the home show young and beautiful women…
Finally, in 1995, they were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Fred killed himself while in custody pending his trial and Rose will live out the rest of her days behind bars.
The ‘House of Horrors’ has since been demolished…