Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp916-sebu-469141 July 16, 2003 13:38 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2003 (
Emotional Loneliness in Sexual Murderers:
A Qualitative Analysis
Anthony R. Beech,
and Stephen D. Webster
This study compared levels of emotional loneliness between sexual murderers
and rapists who had not gone on to kill their victim/s. All participants were life-
sentenced prisoners in the United Kingdom. Assessment consisted of a semistruc-
tured interview and was subjected to grounded theory analysis. This approach is
deﬁned as the breaking down, naming, comparing, and categorizing of data. As
such, it is distinguished from other qualitative methods by the process of constant
comparison. This continual sifting and comparing elements assists in promot-
ing conceptual and theoretical development. The results of this process found
that sexual murderers, compared to rapists, reported signiﬁcantly higher levels
of grievance towards females in childhood, signiﬁcantly higher levels of peer
group loneliness in adolescence, and signiﬁcantly higher levels of self as victim in
KEY WORDS: sexual murderers; emotional loneliness; grounded theory.
It is difﬁcult to assess the number of sexual murders committed in any one
year. This is because, historically, when a sexual offence is committed in the
context of a murder, it is the murder charge that is pursued (Brownmiller, 1975:
MacDonald, 1971). Over 200 men within the prison system in the United Kingdom
have committed a murder with an apparent, or admitted, sexual motivation (Beech,
Oliver, Beckett, & Fisher, 2002). Here there is forensic evidence suggesting a sex
offence may have taken place. For example, a victim was found with clothing
removed, exposing sexual parts of the body, bite marks to the breasts, bruising
to the genital area, insertion of objects into body cavities, evidence of oral, anal,
Prison Service, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, East Acton, London, United Kingdom.
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Prison Service and University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at School of Psychology, University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom; e-mail: email@example.com.
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation