By Adam Lynes
An Australian teenager raped and murdered his neighbour after researching how someone becomes a serial murderer. Stani-Reginald, displaying clear signs of premeditation, planned his crime for months in advance as part of his ‘education’, a Sydney court heard in April this year. After he murdered and disposed of his victim, the now twenty-one year old returned home to continue his reading on how to become a serial killer.
In March 2011, the teenager violently raped then used a cord to strangle accounting student Tosha Thakkar, 24, a neighbour in their Croydon boarding house. He then proceeded to stuff her body into a suitcase, hail a taxi and then dumpit in a canal. Despite the killer planning his crime months in advance, he did not take into account the CCTV footage that would implicate him in Thakkar’s murder and he quickly came to the attention of the Police.
Upon the authorities closing in on the wanna-be serial killer, they combed through Stani-Reginald’s computer and found nearly 10,000 website visits from searches including backpacker killer Ivan Milat, US cult leader Charles Manson and the infamous British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, better known as the “Yorkshire Ripper”.
The case of Stani-Reginald shares striking similarities to the British serial killer Stephen Griffiths. Griffiths, who was studying for a PhD, was found guilty for the murder of three women in Bradford, England, between 2009-2010. Upon his arrest, it became apparent that Griffiths was also heavily influenced by other serial killers spending much of his time researching individual cases. Specifically, Griffiths was inspired by the murders of Peter Sutcliffe, who committed most of his murders in the Bradford area during the 1970s.
Griffiths and Stani-Reginald bring attention to an important issue, which is the increasing glamorisation of the serial killer in the media. Through this representation, and the overwhelming media coverage during periods where an active serial killer is on the loose, it is little wonder a small number of individuals are inspired by such cases and may wish to emulate such crimes for themselves. Will the media change the way in which such offenders are portrayed? Or will the lucrative selling point of the serial killer result in their increasing glamorisation?
Teenager Daniel Stani-Reginald, who raped, murdered and stuffed Indian student in a suitcase sentenced to 45 years, Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2013
Keith Soothill, Moira Peelo, Brian Francis,Jayn Pearson, Elizabeth Ackerley, Homicide and the Media: Identifying the Top Cases in The Times, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 41, Issue 5, pages 401–421, December 2002