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TEENAGE MURDER RAGE DROVE ME TO WRITE BEST-SELLER; Child abuse terror for angry Carol.


SCOTS writer Carol Anne Davis has told how her desire to murder drove her to become a best-selling author.

In the same week that pervert father David Smillie was jailed for three years for sexually abusing his daughter, Carol confessed that she spent her teenage years plotting to kill a family member who abused her.

Only the support of teachers, who told her she could become a successful writer, stopped her from acting out her violent fantasies.

Instead, she managed to channel her rage into writing chilling novels about dangerous sex and death.

Her latest book, Women Who Kill, is a profile of the sickening lives of female serial killers, including Myra Hindley, Rose West and 12 other so-called 'thrill killers', who derived sexual excitement from murder.

Dundee-born Carol, 39 - who is estranged from her family and says she wouldn't even go to their death beds - has made a new life in Wiltshire with her husband of 17 years, Ian, a computer engineer.

She said: "I spent a lot of time as a child wanting to kill someone in my family who was abusing me and, by my teens, I had a more free-floating rage and could very easily have become a killer.

"I understand how the female serial killers I've been writing about did all those terrible things, a lot more than a middle-class person from a nice, loving background.

"In my novels, there are terrible tortures and gruesome murders that some people can't even bear to read.

"I fantasised about killing all through my childhood, I was a very withdrawn child, and just lived in my head thinking about murder.

"I only just escaped being violent. If I hadn't had positive reinforcement from my English teachers, I would have ended up a killer.

"But from the age of eight I was told I had a real writing gift. They called me the master story teller and asked me to read out my work every week. So, even though horror was taking place in my life, there was a tiny part of me that said: 'You're not rubbish, you can be someone.'

"That's what separated me from becoming a killer - that one, tiny thread that I could cling to.

"My mother pressured me into leaving school at 15, saying that education didn't matter for girls. My father said: 'Bring in some money.' So I went from job to job and never lasted longer than a year at anything.

"I thought I'd go mad, so I did night classes and got two A levels, put myself through university and even got a post-graduate degree."

Carol spent a year researching her latest book, interviewing the priest who heard Myra Hindley's confession, talking to police and social workers.

"I became increasingly distraught doing it and eventually I didn't want to go out," she said. "If you spend every moment focusing on these horrific cases, you do end up with a very bleak view of human nature.

"I felt a great sadness and there was a feeling of not wanting to be part of this world because there is so much hatred and weakness.

"I sat in my study all day and didn't go out, and had ghastly nightmares when I was researching the Rose West case.

"My husband jokes that, since I became obsessed with female serial killers, he's had to sleep with one eye open. He's only slightly interested in the subject, probably because he didn't have an unhappy childhood.

"I don't think he's ever felt the level of rage that I've experienced."

In nearly all the cases of female serial killers, lust for murder and sexual excitement went together.

Carol explained: "Quite a few were thrill killers, where power is the first motive and sex comes close behind. Two Americans I wrote about, Gwen Graham and Cathy Wood, used killing as an aphrodisiac.

"In thrill killings, the relationships between the killers, if there are two of them, is starting to break down.

"So abducting girls and having sex with them gives new excitement, something to talk about afterwards, and something to strengthen the flagging bond between them.

"The sex is very brutal. They only see the victims as sexual objects they can control. Some of them were tortured over days.

"Rose West was probably one of the worst because, it is believed, some of the victims were abused for up to a week - naked, chained and tortured in a cellar.

"The victims' faces were totally bound, with just a small tube coming out their noses so they could breathe.

"It's really, really chilling, the one that got to me most.

"After finishing the book, I spent a lot of time watching comedy videos and reading comic books until I felt I'd got my equilibrium back."

Carol hopes her book will help us detect female serial killers and cut short their gruesome campaigns.

She said: "Female serial killers aren't that different to men. There's a very similar pattern. They're abused throughout their childhood, try very hard to get love from their abusive parents, become increasingly withdrawn, start to experiment with unusual forms of sex, become very promiscuous and then start killing.

"If you took those children away from their homes earlier and gave them love and self-belief, they wouldn't go on to murder."

Though Carol is happily married and says she has love in her life now, she refuses to have children.

She said: "My own desperately unhappy childhood has put me off.

"I look at young mothers and they look exhausted and miserable.

"My childhood was so deficient, I'd have to spend 24 hours a day with my own child, him or her, to have all the things I never had, and the idea of a child being there all day is abhorrent to me."

Women Who Kill is published by Allison and Busby pounds 16.99.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 15, 2001
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