School of Criminology

Congratulations to Zena Rossouw on successfully defending her MA thesis

April 10, 2024

Big congratulations to Zena Rossouw, who successfully defended her MA thesis entitled “Stranger Danger: Analyzing Offender Behaviours Based on Victim Approach Tactics in Sexual Homicide”


Perpetrators using a ruse in sexual homicide may experience delayed detection and provide the offender with an opportunity for a subsequent attempt if the initial effort fails. This study explores associations between victim characteristics and offender behaviours in sexual murderers targeting stranger victims using a "con" approach versus alternative methods (blitz or surprise). The results from the logistic regression revealed that "con" approach offenders had more male victims, targeted vulnerability, and displayed post-crime organization. Their crimes more often

involved fellatio and lower rates of victim beating when compared to other approaches. The

cluster analysis identified three groups: "Abandoners," "Relocators," and "Eclectic." "Abandoners" don't move the victim's body and sometimes use a con approach. "Relocators" always move the body and occasionally target vulnerability. "Eclectic" offenders target both genders, exhibit diverse behaviours, prey on vulnerability, almost half involve fellatio, and often use a con approach. The implications for investigations are discussed.

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