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China's Jack the Ripper executed after string of 'despicable' crimes

Gao Chengyong robbed, raped and murdered 11 women and girls between 1988 and 2002

Gao Chengyong stands trial in the Baiyin Intermediate People's Court on March 30, 2018. AFP
Gao Chengyong stands trial in the Baiyin Intermediate People's Court on March 30, 2018. AFP

A serial killer dubbed China's "Jack the Ripper" for the way he mutilated several of his 11 female victims was executed on Thursday, three decades after the first murder.

A court in the north-west city of Baiyin, Gansu province, which handed him the death sentence in March last year, announced on China's Weibo micro-blogging site that it had been carried out.

China's supreme court had approved the execution, it said.

Gao Chengyong, 54, robbed, raped and murdered 11 women and girls between 1988 and 2002 in Gansu and the neighbouring Inner Mongolia region.

In March 2018 he was found guilty by the Baiyin City Intermediate People's Court and handed death sentences for both robbery and intentional homicide, and lesser sentences for rape and dishonouring corpses.

Gao targeted young women wearing red and followed them home, often cutting their throats and mutilating their bodies, according to state media reports. The youngest victim was eight years old.

Some victims had their reproductive organs removed, the Beijing Youth Daily said when Gao was arrested in 2016.

"To satisfy his perverted desire to dishonour and sully corpses, many of his female victims' corpses were damaged and violated," the court said on Weibo when he was convicted.

"The motives of the defendant's crimes were despicable, his methods extremely cruel, the nature of the acts vile and the details of the crimes serious."

Police had been hunting Gao for years.

"The suspect has a sexual perversion and hates women," police said in 2004 when they linked the crimes for the first time and offered a reward of 200,000 yuan (Dh110,000) for information leading to an arrest.

"He's reclusive and unsociable, but patient," according to the police profiling at the time.

A lead in the case came when police collected and tested the DNA of one of Gao's relatives over a separate minor crime, the China Daily had reported.

Police concluded the killer they had been hunting for 28 years was a relation, and Gao's DNA matched the murderer's.

The original Jack the Ripper was a serial killer active in east London in the late Victorian era, who is widely believed to have murdered five women, mutilating several of them. Those killings have never been solved.

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Updated: January 3, 2019 01:58 PM

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