3 Shocking Crimes in European Modern History


Murder of James Bulger


Birna Brjánsdóttir

3 Shocking Crimes in European Modern History

Celebrating the premiere of Anatomy of a Murder’s third season, about a serial killer who is taking revenge against a specific group of people, we present you with some of the most shocking crimes in European history. These evil deeds could be easily part of a series plot!

Murder of James Bulger

Probably the most heinous and remembered crime in Britain’s modern history, the murder of James Bulger shocked an entire generation. James Bulger, three-years-old at the time, was murdered in February 1993 by two ten-year-old boys who lured him away from a Liverpool shopping arcade while his mother was distracted. The boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables led the toddler to a railway track. They used bricks and sticks to beat and torture him and finally killed him by repeatedly dropping a 22lbs piece of steel railway track on his head.

Thompson and Venables were tried and convicted, becoming the youngest murderers ever in British history.

Murder of Birna Brjánsdóttir

Iceland is known as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Its crime rate is amongst the lowest and murder is so rare that when it happens, it shocks. Birna Brjánsdóttir lived with her father in the Reykjavík suburb of Breiðholt. On Friday night, 13 January 2017, she went out with friends to Húrra, a club in the city centre; she left alone three hours after them. After a friend and co-worker at Hagkaup called her parents and it became apparent she had not returned home or contacted them, first her mother and then the police appealed for help finding her; the search over the next week was the largest manhunt in Iceland, 800 people volunteering.

On 22 January her body was found washed up near the Selvogsviti lighthouse on the coast of the Reykjanes peninsula, more than 40 km (26 miles) away from where she disappeared. She was naked and the autopsy established her cause of death as drowning, but bruising also indicated she had been strangled and hit in the face. In September that year, a Greenlandic fisherman, Thomas Møller Olsen, was found guilty of her murder.

Murder of Meredith Kercher

Meredith Kercher was a British student on exchange from the University of Leeds while she was murdered in Perugia, Italy. Kercher was found dead on the floor of her bedroom. By the time the bloodstained fingerprints at the scene were identified as belonging to a man called Rudy Guede, police had charged the victim’s flatmate, an American student also on exchange called Amanda Knox, and Knox's boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. The following prosecutions of Knox and Sollecito received international publicity, with forensic experts and jurists taking a critical view of the evidence supporting the initial guilty verdicts.

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Meredith Kercher

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