Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome

You’ve heard of groupies right? You know, the flighty ladies who are always there to meet One Direction when they fly into Heathrow, and take any given opportunity to staple themselves to Harry Styles’ trouser leg.

What if I told you that this notion doesn’t only apply to teenyboppers, but also to convicts? No, that’s not the name of a new-age Sex Pistols. I’m talking murderers, rapists and thieves of the highest order.

Letter to prisoner

There’s a scientific term for people – mainly women – who send fan mail to prisoners whom they have never known as a person but simply read about their convictions and offences in the media because they find violence attractive, is Hybristophilia. With over 100 women in Britain alone currently engaged to man on death row, is this crazy arousal more widespread than we’d like to think?

When you reflect upon the utterly terrifying nature of women who throw themselves at guilty prisoners and beg for anything from attention to sex to marriage, it makes you consider why on earth this mail has been allowed to reach the criminal. Or, at the very least, why they haven’t been tracked down and slung under lock and key themselves. Their efforts are not fruitless either.

SKG (Serial Killer Groupie – actual term) freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy (oi! Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!) for some god forsaken reason accepted a marriage proposal from Richard Ramirez – dubbed “The Night Stalker”, horrific murderer of 13 people and claiming he wanted to sit next to his master Satan in hell – on his trial day, following years of writing him love letters. She  swore to commit suicide when he is executed, and they actually had time to procreate – yes, this monster was actually allowed to produce a child – before his enforced death. He still lives today, as does his hybristophiliac wife, and we have been awaiting his execution day since the 90s.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Richard Remirez tattoo

Someone’s tattoo of Richard Ramirez on their body. I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly terrified of humans.

Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Scott Peterson – who notably received his first marriage proposal by post just hours after murdering his pregnant wife – are among vile killers who receive passes from hybristophiliacs. There’s no conclusive evidence as to what triggers the condition known as “Bonnie and Clyde” syndrome, but it’s presumed these women get their kicks from their partners violent offences and then by having the power to make basic decisions about the relationship they commit to because their other half is in prison.

There are two types of hybristophiliacs:

Passive hybristophilia

This type doesn’t see the non-criminal wanting to take part in any crime, they’re just attracted to the people who commit them. They truly believe that although the object of their affections may have killed numerous people, they will never harm them. They often like to be put in a vulnerable position, finding it seductive.

I mean,  on an empathetic level, I definitely have a thing for naughty bad guy Loki of Thor/Avengers fame, but I’d like to think this is mostly down to his nice hat, not bloodthirsty personality.

Passive hybristophilia, worryingly, hits home a little for me. NOT in the murderous sense obviously, but how many times have you found yourself making an excuse for something ridiculous a partner has done, and truly believing that they’re not purposely hurting you and can’t help it?

Scary. Maybe this condition doesn’t hit as far from home as we’d like to think…

Aggressive hybristophilia

The aggressive hybristophiliacs are those who get involved in the crimes. Anything from assisting with cover ups (hiding bodies, really. Shivers up my spine much?) to planning and committing them alongside their lover. Needless to say, they believe that their literal partner in crime would never harm them – a case that has been proved entirely untrue via various hybristophiliac situations. Just look up the story of Avril and Rose.

Is your mind blown as much as mine? I certainly hope so. What scares me is that for the sake of this strange thing we believe is “love”, I know I’ve happily made excuses for a boyfriend who later became the bain of my life through his bad and pathetic behaviour. I can’t believe I ever did it, but I know I’m not the only one guilty of this. Could there be an element of hybristophilia in all of us?

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  • Anon

    I have a half sister who my family have disowned. She was already a fucked up mess anyway but she ended up having a brief relationship with someone in prison. I don’t know what he was in for or for how long but it sickened us all, especially as she was having an affair with this man behind her husband’s back. Why anyone would want to be with a man in prison- whatever reason he’s in- worries me.

  • Pilar

    This is an interesting subject.
    It is possible for someone to be interested in ‘Dangerous characters’ I mean, Come on, Haven’t all women been attracted to the archetypical ‘Bad Boy’ before??? I know I have and through my experience have found some of them can’t help it or it’s all they know. But who is to say they can not get as lonely as everyone else?
    I am the sort of girl that accepts the idea of ‘Different Strokes-Different Folks’
    It may not appeal to me specifically but most of us, in the general sense, can sympathise. Whether is the ‘Danger’ Factor, the mystery of the motive or just for the sake of loneliness and getting joy out of receiving a letter through the post (Lets face it, email maybe faster but it just doesn’t give you the same thrill of penmanship and an envelope).

    Loneliness can be a cruel mistress and we all know how the devil makes work of idle hands (or mischief lol) but think of the admiration that a uniform can give and how a life of ‘playing by your own rules’ (as such) can express a similar reaction.

    Heck if someone like; Robert Downey Jnr, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, George Clooney (and a whole list of others) can still have ‘fans’ after their convictions why can’t the rest of the world experience the same thing?

  • This is always an interesting subject. I find it bizarre. There is also the website that helps you “connect” with prisoners…