Read what third year Criminology and Psychology student Nicola Dicks has to say on Professor David Wilson’s new series Killer Psychopaths which aired on Channel 5 last night (Tuesday 10th February): 

The 10th February 2015 saw the debut of Professor David Wilson’s new series Killer Psychopaths. As a criminology student David Wilson is already well known to me, and indeed is currently leading the applied criminology module that third years must take. For those not from the university, Wilson may still be recognised; he is a frequent commentator of criminal events, giving his analysis on news channels and also on daytime TV shows such as This Morning. More recently he was the face of ITV primetime show Bring Back Borstal, playing the role of the Governor in the social experiment.

The first episode of this new series focused upon killer Joanna Dennehy, a deeply disturbed woman that over the course of nine days murdered her boyfriend, neighbour, her landlord and attempted to kill two others. Dennehy showed no remorse for her actions, saying that she wanted to kill to see what it felt like and wanted to know if she was as cold as what she thought she was. Her case was unusual in that she was the lone perpetrator of these crimes, going against the stereotypes of most serious crimes being committed by males, or at least being influenced by them. Consequently Dennehy was given a whole life sentence- only the third to be given to a female murderer in the UK, the other two being for Myra Hindley and Rose West.

Wilson was very thorough in the description and explanation of Dennehy’s actions and was engaging and easy to follow. I watched the show with someone who isn’t normally interested in shows such as this, yet they found it equally as interesting as I did. I liked how throughout Wilson would link the case to psychological ideas, such as the nature vs nurture debate: whether Dennehy was born evil or whether she was as a result of her situation and environment. Footage was also shown of Wilson at key sites in the case, such as where some of the bodies were found, adding to the emotion of the programme. There were also interviews shown by the victims’ children and also the ex-partner of Dennehy and the father of her children. It was fascinating learning more about what Dennehy had been like previously, and looking at the warning signs that may have pointed to her carrying out a murder in the future. Reconstructions were also used throughout the program, at times quite graphic, such as Dennehy stabbing someone through the heart. The person I was watching the show with didn’t really enjoy the reconstructions, thinking that they were unnecessary and not realistic enough, (hopefully not a sign of their dark side coming through!). I also liked that the show focused on a psychopath that is not so well known and hope that this continues throughout the series.

I am looking forward to watching again next week. What did you think of the first episode of #KillerPsychopaths? Join in on the conversation over on Twitter.

Find out more about studying Criminology at Birmingham City University here

Catch Killer Psychopaths, the six part series on Channel 5 every Tuesday at 9pm

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