Updated: Jun 7

About the Author:

Prof.(Dr.) Priya Sepaha

Director, Law Colloquy,

Author, Trainer, blogger, Youtuber

This paper has been published in:

Academic International Conference on Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

(AICILS 2016, Oxford) United Kingdom

Criminal profiling is used as an investigative aid in judging any criminal through the systematic observational process by analysing the crime scene, the victim, the forensic evidence and the known facts of the crime. Worldwide it is being increasingly used to assess the criminality and causation of crime.

Causation of crime plays a very important role to gauge any criminal. Among all the theories of crime, the psychodynamic approach plays a significant role in analysing any criminal. This approach was first applied in ‘Jack the Ripper’ case in 1888 to understand the nature of crime and criminal. Since then it has found acceptability in many countries. However, it is not prevalent in India.

Unawareness about the categories of mental illness leads to confusion about its classification. Criminal profiling helps to understand the exact category of mental illness. This study aims to explore the relevance of criminal profiling in case of mentally ill criminals particularly with respect to Psychopaths by reviewing the 10 case studies of psychopaths.

On the basis of comparative study and analysis of modes operandi of these cases, an attempt has been made to explain the need of criminal profiling in the cases related to psychopaths, especially in India. By identifying the most common psychological and crime-related factors, the study attempts to use criminal profiling process to classify the types of mental illness particularly psychopaths.

Psychopathy is one of the most dangerous mental diseases. Unfortunately, there is little awareness about it in India. Psychopaths are generally associated with sexual criminals rather than mental criminals. Many cases reported in India give a clear indication of psychopathy but those were misinterpreted by the legal system, for instance, Nithari Case, Cyanide Mohan Case, Devendra Sharma case, Auto Shankar Case and so on. Psychopaths always commit brutal crime because they enjoy pain. Whenever any heinous crime is committed mostly the criminal is considered to be a monster. Although it should be first examined whether the criminal is mentally ill and subsequently the type of mental illness from which the person is suffering. Criminal profiling uses this technique in order to accurately identify the disease. Psychopaths are very clever and generally successful in deceiving the police and other investigative agencies. Detail study and investigation is needed to examine psychopaths. Sexual crime and crime committed by the mentally ill are generally confused because of a similar pattern. Criminal profiling is a tool which is helpful in identifying the pattern of a criminal and accordingly the nature of the disease of the criminal.

In UK and USA criminal profiling is used for identification of mentally ill criminals particularly psychopaths. Special Laws pertaining to psychopathy have also been enacted. There is an urgent need in India also to give prominence to the use of criminal profiling in the investigation of a case related to mentally ill criminals particularly psychopaths.

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