Peter Kürten dubbed The Vampire of Düsseldorf was born on May 26, 1883. Like most serial killers, he had a rough childhood having 12 siblings and a father who constantly abused and raped his mother and sisters. He also suffered several beatings throughout his childhood.
As a kid, he made friends with a local dog-catcher who taught him how to masturbate and torture dogs. It is believed that he also engaged in bestiality during this part of his life.
His sexual urges developed rapidly, and within five years he was committing bestiality with sheep and goats in nearby stables. It was soon after that he “became aware of the pleasure of the sight of blood” and he began to torture animals, achieving orgasm stabbing pigs and sheep.
The terrible pattern of his life was forming. It only needed one more depraved influence to transfer his sadistic urges from animals to human beings. He found it in a prostitute, twice his age, a masochist who enjoyed being ill-treated and abused. His sadistic education was complete and they lived together for some time. (source)
As a grown-up, Peter confessed to having committed his first actual murder when he was 9 years old. He drowned two of his friends while they were swimming by holding their heads underwater until they died.
His first provable murder, however, was that of 13-year-old Khristine Klein during a burglary gone wrong. Peter sexually assaulted the girl and then killed her. Peter would be in and out of prison for several years but not because of murders but because of theft, arson and minor sexual assaults.
One of the more sadistic murders he committed was that of the Lenzen foster sisters Gertrude (5 years old) and Louise (14 years old). Peter asked Louise to buy him cigarettes and while she was away, he raped Gertrude then cut open her throat. When Louise returned, she suffered a similar fate and was decapitated.
According to a later interview by Dr. Karl Berg:
Peter’s primary motive was one of sexual pleasure. The number of stab wounds varied because it sometimes took longer to achieve orgasm; the sight of blood was integral to his sexual stimulation. (source)
He had a wife but he confessed that she was merely a companion. He gets his sexual desires taken care off by killing people. He would also often return to the scene of the crime because this, too, give him sexual gratification.
These murders would continue until November 1929 but because of the inconsistency in Peter’s choice of victims and weapons, the authorities believed that there were several killers.
After the November murder, Peter still continued raping and assaulting women beating them up with a hammer but not entirely killing them in the process. On May 14, 1930, Peter committed two fatal mistakes. He “saved” a woman named Maria Budlick from a stranger and brought her to his home which would be his first mistake. He fed her but later took her into the woods where he raped her. The second mistake was that he didn’t kill her. On May 24, Peter was arrested.
He confessed to 79 offenses and was charged with 9 counts of murder and 7 counts of attempted murder. He was found guilty and was given the death sentence. On July 2, 1931, Peter Kürten was executed by guillotine.