From the late Middle Ages to the modern era, the Czech lands have been plagued by some notorious individuals. Here are ten of the most frightening cases.
The Czech Bathory: Kateřina of Komárov (15??–1534)
Similar to more well-known Elizabth Bathory, Kateřina of Komárov was a woman of noble roots with a notable bloodlust. She satisfied her violent urges by terrorizing the serfs in her domain during the 16th century. After admitting to murdering 14 people, she was imprisoned in the White Tower at Prague Castle where she died in 1534.
Soldier of Misfortune: Martin Roháč (15??–1571)
Roháč was a Czech soldier during the 16th century. He holds the grim record for the most victims – 59. It is alleged he killed to both rob people and for pleasure. He also allegedly committed cannibalism, murdering three pregnant women and eating their yet-to-be-born infant children. He was executed in 1571 in a slow and brutal manner. First he was tortured with flanges, trodden on by horses then broken on a wheel and left to die.
Killer to the End: Martin Lecián (1900–1927)
Lecián, who was found guilty of killing 10 people, was the center of a great deal of publicity. Some journalists praised his career of robbery and murder. Lecián even allegedly inspired copycat killings. The murders were committed over the a period of three months in 1927. After being caught, the investigation took four months and the trial six days. Lecián tried to make a break for it, killing a prison guard in the process. Because of this, Lecián’s appeal for clemency was rejected and he was execute din October 1927.
Dangerous Deliveries: Svatoslav Štěpánek (1911–1938)
Štěpánek was executed in 1938 for the murder of three people – two women and a boy. In the case of both of his female victims, they went to Štěpánek’s house to make a delivery. The first was delivering milk and the second, who was warned not to enter Štěpánek’s flat ,had brought food. In both instances he shot the victims in his doorway then butchered the bodies. He was caught because the mother of the second victim went to Štěpánek’ s house to see what had happened to her daughter. Štěpánek tried to kill himself but was stopped by a passerby. In his garden the remains of a little boy, who had been an earlier victim, were also found
False Hope: Hubert Pilčík (1891–1951)
Pilčík’s sickening crimes have an added heartbreaking dimension in that he targeted people attempting to escape from communist Czechoslovakia. The total number of his victims is unknown. In the end he was found guilty of killing five people, who were the last people he arranged to smuggle out. In truth he robbed and killed then, mutilating the bodies. The remains of one of his last victims were found which led to his capture. In an additional twist it was alleged that Pilčík was an informant of the StB: the communist secret police.
Editor’s note: One of the most chilling scenes included a young, 12 year old girl that Pilčík captured and hid away in a pigsty. There, she was belted down and her head was placed into a double-walled box to muffle any possible screaming. She was raped repeatedly.
Life of Crime: Václav Mrázek (1925–1957)
Mrázek’s life of crime started early. Born into a poor family, he turned to theft to bring in money for his family. His violent inclinations may have been stirred while he was part of an armed convoy to Romania and Bulgaria. From 1951 Mrázek started preying on women to satisfy his violent sexual urges. Mrázek was caught in connection to another crime. He had stolen from a mine where he worked. The police conducted a search of his house and found a pistol which matched the firearm used in the murders. He was executed in 1957.
The Best of Sušice: Marie Fikáčková (1936–1961)
Fikáčková committed her horrendous crimes in the obstetrics ward where she worked. When two newborns under her care died from severe injuries, she was arrested. She later confessed to attacking 10 newborns in total. The reason Fikáčková gave for the murders was that the children’s crying bothered her. The murders were covered up for years.
Two Day Terror: Josef Kott (1957–Present) and Michael Kutílek (1951–Present)
From 2nd to 3rd May, these two men went on a 48 hour murder spree, which resulted in the death of four people. Two of the murders they claimed were in connection with satanic rituals. They attempted to kill a fifth man – a British truck driver. But the man survived and was able to identify them. One curious fact – their murder spree began on the day the death penalty was abolished.
Deadly Care: Petr Zelenka (1976–Present)
Called the Heparin killer, Zelenka was convicted of murdering seven patients in a hospital in Havlíčkův Brod where he worked as a nurse. He later claimed that he was only responsible for five deaths and that the police had beaten the confession out of him. Zelenka got his name because he allegedly gave heparin, an anticoagulant, to people in his care. In large doses the drug causes internal bleeding. One reason he gave for the murders was an attempt to ‘test’ doctors . He subsequently changed his confession. Zelenka is currently serving a life sentence . Several doctors have disputed the verdict, arguing Zelenka could not have killed the patients with heparin.
In the Woods: Viktor Kalivoda (1977–2010)
At first, Kalivoda gained minor fame as a contestant on the Czech version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Later, he was better known as the ‘forest murderer’. In a short space of time, he claimed three lives. The first two victims were an elderly couple whom he shot 13th October 2005. Three days later he killed a man out walking his dog. In 2006 he was sentenced to life, never providing a motive for the killings. Four years after being sentenced, he committed suicide.
Any other cases we missed?