Peter Kürten (German: [ˈpeːtɐ ˈkyːʁtən]; 26 May 1883 – 2 July 1931) was a German serial killer known as “The Vampire of Düsseldorf” and the “Düsseldorf Monster”. He committed a series of murders and sexual assaults between February and November 1929 in the city of Düsseldorf. In the years before these assaults and murders, Kürten had amassed a lengthy criminal record for offences including arson and attempted murder. He also confessed to the 1913 murders of a nine-year-old girl in Mülheim am Rhein and a 17-year-old girl in Düsseldorf.
Described by Karl Berg as “the king of the sexual perverts,” Kürten was found guilty of nine counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for which he was sentenced to death by beheading in April 1931. He was executed in July 1931 at age 48.
Kürten became known as the “Vampire of Düsseldorf” because he occasionally made attempts to drink the blood from his victims’ wounds, and the “Düsseldorf Monster” both because the majority of his murders were committed in and around the city of Düsseldorf, and the savagery he inflicted upon his victims’ bodies.