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Victim body mutilation in sexual homicides: Exploring Chinese sexual homicide cases

Abstract Little exists beyond medicolegal case reports on victim mutilation homicides, much less on those occurring in the context of sexual homicides. As limited information is available on sexual homicides that occurred in China, this study aims to explore the offending characteristics of sexual homicide offenders (SHOs) who mutilated their victims and to compare their modus operandi with non‐mutilation sexual murderers. The offender, victim, and offense characteristics of 82 sexual homicide cases (i.e., 31 mutilation and 47 non‐mutilation cases; 1988–2018), derived from police data of three regions and published case reports, were examined. In addition to the descriptive offender and victim characteristics of Chinese SHOs who performed victim body mutilation, findings indicate that offenders who mutilated their victims were more likely than those who did not mutilate the victim to have a previous sexual offense conviction. They were motivated primarily by sex and least motivated by financial gain. Victim abduction prior to the offense was more frequently reported in non‐mutilation sexual murders. These findings may offer some insights for police who need to prioritize their investigative strategies in cases of sexual homicide with victim mutilation.

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