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Several common themes run through the acts of murderers known as “rippers.” Most salient is that they violently mutilate or literally rip their victims open and often dismember them. Most, but not all, ripper murderers select prostitutes as their victims. Jack the Ripper, in late 19th-century London, was particularly proficient at mutilating and disemboweling his victims. Often, these types of murders are committed in an uncontrollable rage leading to exceptionally violent acts. For example, in the 1970s, Peter Sutcliffe, the “Yorkshire Ripper,” mutilated his victims and left bite marks, later used to link him to the crime. Rippers may also engage in cannibalism.

Ripper murderers take advantage of their victims' accessibility as well as their lifestyles, which often make them difficult to track. For instance, prostitutes ...

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