In Brief

China executes ‘Jack the Ripper’ serial killer

Gao Chengyong murdered and mutilated 11 women and girls, the youngest aged eight

A serial killer known as the “Chinese Jack the Ripper” has been put to death by authorities in a secretive execution, state media reports.

Gao Chengyong, who ran a grocery store with his wife in the city of Baiyin, central China, lived a chilling double life as a murderer whose reign of terror lasted more than a decade.

Local authorities in Baiyin confirmed that the 54-year-old was executed this morning, after ten months on death row, says state news agency Xinhua.

The Chinese government does not normally reveal details of its executions, which are conducted behind closed doors, but most of those sentenced to death meet their fate by firing squad or lethal injectives, the BBC reports.

Between 1988 and 2002, the father-of-two raped, murdered and mutilated at least 11 women and girls, the youngest aged eight.

He would frequently sever body parts, including parts of the reproductive organs, during his grisly attacks, leading the media to dub him the “Chinese Jack the Ripper” after the 19th-century killer notorious for surgically mutilating his female victims.

At the height of the murders, “women in Baiyin would not walk alone in the streets without being accompanied by male relatives or friends”, the BBC reports.

He was finally cornered 14 years after his spree ended, thanks to a chance DNA breakthrough.

In 2015, police took a swab from Gao’s uncle following a minor brush with the law. The sample was flagged as a partial match to that obtained from the scene of some of the murders, indicating that the killer must be a relation.

The clue eventually led detectives to Gao, who was arrested at his grocery store in August 2016.

The middle-aged shopkeeper “was described by acquaintances as a quiet man, emotionally detached from his family”, the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

Police said Gao, who confessed to the killings under questioning, had “a sexual perversion and hates women”, CNN reports.

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