Richard Cottingham

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Richard Cottingham
Richard Cottingham.jpeg
Prison photo
Born Richard Francis Cottingham
(1946-11-25) November 25, 1946 (age 68)
Bronx, New York, U.S.
Other names The Torso Killer
Criminal penalty
Victims 6+ (85-100)
Span of killings
Country US
State(s) New York
New Jersey
Date apprehended
May 22, 1980

Richard Francis Cottingham (born November 25, 1946) is an American serial killer from New Jersey operating in New York between 1967 and 1980. He was nicknamed "the torso killer" due to his habit of dismembering his victims, usually leaving nothing but a torso behind. In one case, he dismembered two prostitutes in a motel room, taking the hands and heads with him before setting the room on fire. He was eventually convicted of murder in 1981 after being caught fleeing an attempted murder. Several books have been written about him including The Torso Killer and "The Prostitute Murders" (ISBN 1-55817-518-0) both written by Rod Leith, a newspaper writer and local historian who had covered Cottingham's case from the beginning. Officially Cottingham killed six people but he claims between 95 and 100 murders.[1][2][3] Cottingham is incarcerated in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey.


  1. ^ Keppel, Robert D.; William J. Birnes (2008). Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. CRC Press. pp. 65–96. ISBN 978-1-4200-6632-6. 
  2. ^ "Richard Francis Cottingham: "The Torso Killer"" (PDF). Department of Psychology, Radford University. Retrieved April 22, 2010. 
  3. ^

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