Serial killer says he cut off the breasts from one of his victims because he wanted the 'sensationalism'
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A serial killer who garnered a reputation for mutilating and raping his victims admitted that he cut off one victim’s breast because he wanted to create ‘sensationalism’ around his crimes.
Richard Cottingham is known to have killed at least 17 young women and girls during a period of 13 years between 1967 and 1980, but has admitted to many more killings over the years, some of which have been proven true.
During his active years, he was nicknamed both the ‘Times Square Killer’ and the ‘Torso Killer’ because of the location in which he abducted a number of his victims and his penchant for gruesome mutilation.
In 1980, he was convicted of several murders and sentenced to multiple life sentences as well as then being found guilty of a number of abductions and rapes whilst in prison, where he has also admitted to dozens of other murders, although some of those claims are unproven.
Cottingham committed his first murder in 1967 at the age of 20, although he has also claimed that he began killing as a teenager.
His second murder was only proven in June 2022 thanks to DNA evidence, at the time thought to be the oldest criminal case to be solved using DNA evidence.
Throughout a 13-year killing spree, he killed women and children between the ages of 13 and 33, often abducting them and mutilating them after death.
Cottingham has spoken widely about his killings, often seeming to make claims that could not be true regarding the scale of his killings.
He was interviewed by journalist Nadia Fezzani for a French documentary in 2011 - which you can see in the video above - where he made yet more claims about the nature of his murders.
Cottingham told Fezzari that he started killing in 1965, when he would have been a teenager, and claimed to have killed more than 85 but less than 100 victims.
Speaking in prison, he said: “I wanted to be the best at whatever I did. And I wanted to be the best serial killer."
Of the sexual nature of many of his murders, he added: “I’ve probably done anything a man would want to do with a woman.
“Obviously, I must be sick somehow, normal people don’t do what I did.”
In one killing in particular, that of 25-year-old Jean Rayner in 1980, he was asked why he mutilated her body afterwards by cutting off a breast, stating that he wanted to ‘do something different’ and ‘create [a] sensationalism’.
Cottingham said: “She was already dead, it wasn’t something that she was alive. I wanted to create some sensationalism.
“It’s not hard, it’s just a body – it’s not a living person anymore.”
He added: “I was doing this for years. Hardly a week went by without something happening.”
When asked if he would have continued to kill had he not been caught, he said: “Definitely.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org