Karol Kot (18 December 1946 – 16 May 1968) was a Polish serial killer. Kot terrorized Kraków, the city he was born and raised in, with monstrous crimes for two years before he was finally captured on July 12, 1966. Due to the seemingly random choices of victims, which included children and elderly people, Kot was remembered as the Kraków's vampire and a monster.
Kot had passed the school-leaving examinations in high school and planned to become a student at an Officer Candidate School. After the trial, in which he pleaded guilty of the crimes he was charged with, the killer was sentenced to death, which was announced on 14 July 1967. The death penalty was carried out on 16 May 1968 and Kot was executed at the age of 21.
Kot spent his whole life in Kraków. He and his much younger sister were looked after by their unemployed mother. He had no problems at school, although there was an unsuccessful attempt to enter a technical college for communications. Kot suffered a nervous breakdown because of failing one of the subjects at college. Eventually, he was allowed to study at another technical college, where he passed the school-leaving examinations.
In September 1964, Kot attacked for the first time. The victim was an elderly woman whom he stabbed in church. He drove the knife from behind when, unsuspecting, she knelt down to pray; she managed to survive. The second attempted murder occurred shortly after, on 23 September, when Kot spotted another elderly woman coming out of the tram. He followed her and stabbed her in the back when the time was right. This attack was also unsuccessful. Six days later, on 29 September, he killed an elderly woman whom he spotted near a church and followed her to Jan Street where he stabbed her to death, driving a knife from behind and aiming at the heart.
In April 1966 he attempted a murder of an 8-year-old girl. Kot came to the tenement in Sobieskiego Street and noticed a girl who came downstairs to collect letters from the mailbox. He grabbed her and inflicted 8 stab wounds to the stomach, chest and back. When he escaped, the girl managed to go home and shortly after was taken to hospital where the doctors managed to save her life.
Kot also tried to kill people by poisoning. He bought some arsenic and went to a bar (the Przy Błoniach), where he ordered some beer and a jelly, took a bottle of vinegar from the counter and sat at the table. When certain that nobody was looking, he inserted some arsenic into the vinegar bottle hoping that somebody would later use it and be poisoned. He often left bottles of beer or soda poisoned with arsenic out in the open in popular places but nobody ever drank. He once poured a large quantity of arsenic into a schoolmate's drink but the boy noticed a suspicious smell and refused to drink it. During the trial, the expert witnesses stated that the amount of arsenic used by Kot was enough to kill anybody who would drink the beverage.
Trial and sentence
Kot was charged with two murders, ten attempted murders and four acts of arson. Numerous expert witnesses were appointed to find the cause of Kot’s psychopathic behaviour. They discovered that Kot has shown strange inclinations since his early childhood. During the summer he would go to the slaughterhouse and watch the pigs being butchered. Watching it as well as drinking the pig’s still warm blood was a source of pleasure for him. Kot soon started to kill animals himself and he indulged in studying anatomy books and imagining wounds that can be inflicted on people.
After a series of psychological observations and examinations, the doctors asserted that Kot was completely sane and he can attend the trial with full consequences of his actions. The verdict was declared on 14 July 1967. Kot was declared guilty and sentenced to death as well as he lost citizen rights. The sentence was carried out on 16 May 1968.
When asked in an interview whether he was aware of the notion of murder being a crime and an evil deed, Kot shortly presented his moral standards. According to him, what determines moral appropriateness of people’s actions is the fact that they bring an individual satisfaction and a sense of fulfilled duty; he therefore considered himself a murderer, but not an evil person.
- "Kot Karol profile" (in Polish). killer.radom.net. 1999. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Snopkowski, Andrzej (1982). Trzy wyroki (in Polish). Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza. pp. 194, 198, 229, 242, 254. ISBN 83-03-00170-1.
- A. Chwalba, M. Muzyczuk, „Seryjni Mordercy: Był Sobie Chłopiec”, Discovery Historia, 2008. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Qv8Pp_WmE)(Polish)
- Sygit, Boguslaw (1989). Kto zabija człowieka: najgłośniejsze procesy o morderstwa w powojennej Polsce (in Polish). Wydawn. Praawnicze. ISBN 83-219-0469-6.