10 Evilest Women in History
Although true crime podcasts, movies, and TV documentaries are now spending more time than ever chronicling the sickest and twisted crimes of history, there are still many more men profiled than women. While it’s true that men have higher arrest rates in every category of crime, there are still some women who commit crimes that could rightly be considered some of the worst in history.
Whether it’s brutal torture or murder of dozens of innocents, history is littered with women that commit crimes and are either caught or have faded away into legend. Here are some stories of the evilest women in history.
1. Miyuki Ishikawa
One reason why female serial killers haven’t been discussed as much as their male counterparts is because typically these twisted women prey on a more vulnerable section of the population.
In particular, Miyuki Ishikawa, a midwife in Japan who was responsible for the murder of between 85 and 169 babies in the 1940s. Ishikawa was the director of a hospital in the Kotobuki district. She became convinced that all the babies born to her poorer patients would only drive the family further into poverty. Feeling unable to help them, she neglected dozens of babies until they died.
Later, Ishikawa and her husband attempted to extort payment from the parents of children she killed. They explained to the parents that it would be cheaper to pay her to kill the baby rather than raise the child themselves.
Surprisingly, Ishikawa was only sentenced to four years in prison when caught.
2. Mary Tudor
Mary Tudor, who later was known as Bloody Mary, was the daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She ascended the throne of England after the death of her younger brother, Edward.
After a brief period of instability where her cousin Lady Jane Grey claimed the throne, Tudor was declared the queen regnant and promptly sentenced her young cousin to death. During her attempt to revert England to Catholicism, she was responsible for the burning of over 300 Protestants for being heretics.
In the end, Tudor died alone, after several false pregnancies which were likely just symptoms of ovarian or uterine cancer.
3. Aileen Wuornos
One of the most notorious serial killers in recent American history is Aileen Wuornos. She was a former sex worker and victim of abuse who was charged with the murder of six itinerant men that she met while hitchhiking.
Police tracked Wuornos down and convinced then-girlfriend Tyria Moore to help them bring her into custody. She was charged with six counts of murder and was sentenced to the death penalty for each separate case.
After 10 years on death row — where her appeals lawyers tried to introduce evidence that she was mentally incompetent — Wuornos was executed on October 9, 2002.
4. Juana Barraza
Nicknamed “The Old Lady Killer”, Juana Barraza spent her early years as a Mexican wrestler, before turning to a life of crime in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Barraza’s victims were all older women. She would befriend them and gain their trust by posing as a government social worker before brutally murdering them. It’s estimated that she killed between 24 and 49 people.
Initially, the police were reluctant to classify these cases as the work of a serial killer. However, when Barraza was caught fleeing the home of her final victim, fingerprint evidence linked her to the other murders.
Barraza is currently serving a 759-year sentence in prison.
5. Elizabeth Bathory
Even centuries after her death, Elizabeth Bathory is still one of the most prolific serial killers in history.
Although it’s hard to separate myth from reality, what we do know is that Bathory was a 16th-century countess born to the ruling family of Transylvania. After the death of her husband, rumors began to spread about Bathory’s sadistic behavior towards her young female servants and wards. She somehow became convinced that drinking the blood of young girls would preserve her youth. Therefore, Bathory would torture and kill the girls before using their blood to her benefit.
Although Bathory was never put on trial, she was walled up in a tower with no windows until her death in 1614.
6. Delphine LaLaurie
In the American South during the 1800s, the welfare of slaves was not at the forefront of anyone’s mind. That’s why wealthy, thrice-married Delphine LaLaurie was allowed to carry on with the torture and abuse of her black slaves for years. Well, until a fire revealed her hidden torture chamber, which was full of men and women who were chained up awaiting further torture.
Although LaLaurie was never charged with a crime, apparently her neighbors were civic-minded enough to incite a riot. This riot prompted LaLaurie and her husband to flee to Paris, where it’s reported she died in 1842.
7. Charlene Gallego
Charlene Gallego was one of a pair of serial killers who operated in the Sacramento area between 1978 and 1980. Along with her husband Gerald, Charlene was responsible for the torture and murder of 10 victims, most of whom were young women that they abducted.
Although Gerald was sentenced to the death penalty, Charlene took a plea deal that would allow her to only serve 17 years in prison. She was released in 1997.
In later interviews, Charlene referred to herself as one of her husband’s victims. She moved back to the Sacramento area and lives under an assumed name.
8. Karla Homolka
Karla Homolka is another serial killer, like Charlene Gallego, who committed horrific crimes either with or because of her husband, Paul Bernardo. In fact, Bernardo was already a prolific rapist when they married in 1991.
Bernardo became obsessed with Homolka’s 15-year-old sister Tammy. Together, they drugged and raped her, at which point she choked on her own vomit and died. Within a year, the couple had abducted, raped, and killed two other girls.
Eventually, evidence led police to the couple and a case was built against them. Homolka, after pleading out, moved to Guadeloupe. She would move back to Canada with her new husband and three children in 2014.
9. Amelia Dyer
Another serial killer whose prolific record is still unconfirmed to this day is Amelia Dyer.
Born in 1837, Dyer made her living adopting the unwanted infants of unmarried mothers. Originally, she cared for the children entrusted to her — and even gave birth to two of her own. Eventually, the children started dying in her care. It’s believed that the first deaths were due to negligence. Later, Dyer started intentionally murdering the children. It’s estimated that she killed at least 300 babies that were given into her care.
Dyer was hanged in 1896. It’s thought that her actions helped to spur on much-needed child protection laws in Britain.
10. Myra Hindley
Another British serial killer who committed unspeakable murders with a partner is Myra Hindley. She committed what came to be known as the Moors murders because some of the bodies were found in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor.
Hindley, along with her boyfriend Ian Brady, killed five children between the ages of 10 and 17 during a period from June 1963 and October 1965. Hindley was found guilty of two murders. As such, she was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences, plus seven years for harboring a criminal.
After being charged, Hindley made it her life’s mission to appeal the sentence and proclaim her innocence. Hindley claimed that she only committed the crimes because Brady was blackmailing her.