December 17, 1955
|Other names||The International killer|
The Sock killer
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment (currently serving in Leopoldov, Slovakia)|
|Victims||9 killed, 1 wounded|
Span of crimes
|7 June 1990–4 March 1992|
|Country||Slovakia, Germany, Netherlands|
Ondrej Rigo (born 17 December 1955) is a Slovak serial killer and necrophile who targeted women in Bratislava, Munich and Amsterdam from 1990 to 1992. Currently serving a life sentence for nine murders and one attempted murder in Leopoldov Prison in Slovakia, Rigo is a schizoid personality disorder sufferer and an antisocial psychopath while also being a necrophile, finding pleasure in having intercourse with women with mutilated heads. Rigo remains the Slovak murderer with the highest number of victims and he is also the most prolific serial killer in modern Slovak history. He is eligible to apply for parole in 2019.
Ondrej Rigo has a brother, living in Germany, and a daughter. According to an article in Slovak newspaper SME Rigo is of Roma ethnicity. Even as an adult, Rigo was a short man. When he was 14 he was taken into a youth corrective institution and later into an orphanage together with his siblings. They stayed there for a year, having been taken from their mother after their father's arrest. Rigo's mother died in 2000 after being hit by a car. Learning of her death is the one time he remembers crying in his life. His father died during a burglary. Rigo claims he liked both parents.
|“||(My) parents were good, they didn't beat me.||”|
|— Ondrej Rigo recalls his childhood in 2007.|
He was married two times. His first marriage was during military service (compulsory in Czechoslovakia at that time), but "when we returned to Bratislava she started to become jealous. You know, an Easterner (note: meaning from Eastern Slovakia, a culturally and linguistically distinct region of the country), so she returned to Poprad. I went with her to say goodbye at the station," recalls Rigo. Little is known about his second marriage. The woman he was with in the movie theatre on the night of his last murder is being referred to as his "partner".
In Bratislava, Rigo worked in Hotel Carlton, where he was arrested. Before that he worked as a fireman in a heater room in Pravda newspaper and in a hospital on Bezručova street and a hospital on Šulekova street, having also completed his gasman certificate (plynárske skúšky in Slovak).
Before his first murder, Rigo had already been convicted of crimes 11 times. He was a criminal from an early age, focusing mainly on home burglaries. The last time he was in police custody in Slovakia (at that time Czechoslovakia) was from September 28, 1989 to December 9, 1989 because of unauthorised leaving of the Republic.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain and end of communism in Czechoslovakia, people were allowed once again to travel freely in Europe and Rigo continued with his crimes abroad. On December 9, 1989, the same day he was released from prison, and a mere three weeks after the start of the Velvet Revolution, he traveled to Vienna without any valid passport. There, he acquired a fake Yugoslavian passport in the name of "Nedo Ikic". Later, he traveled to West Germany to meet his brother. In Bavaria he asked for asylum using his fake passport. He was, however, sentenced by the German authorities to two months in prison for forging documents. He spent his sentence in a prison in Bad Reichenhall. After his release from prison, Rigo escaped from a refugee camp and traveled to Munich where he continued his burglaries and started his killing spree.
An important factor in Ondrej Rigo's conviction was his consistent modus operandi:
- His attacks occurred during the night or very early in the morning
- He wore his socks on his hands at all times during the attacks in order not to leave any fingerprints
- He would sneak into apartments in the basements, on the ground floor or with easy access via the balcony, usually entering through a window
- He would always pick women sleeping alone (except in the case of Anna P. and her son Juraj N.) and beat them to death with a metal rod, wooden stick or a rock, always hitting the head
- The murder weapon is always left at the crime scene
- After killing the victim he would cover the victim's upper body with a blanket. Then he would copulate with the body both vaginally and anally. Sometimes, he would mutilate the body some more during intercourse
- He smoked at the crime scenes and threw cigarette butts on the floor
- Usually, he robbed the victims of some easy to carry valuables
|Munich, West Germany|
|Helena S.||40||8 June 1990|
|llke Z.||28||1 August 1990|
|Maria van der W.||58||27 September 1990|
|Terézia Reveszová||88||6 October 1990|
|Anna Páleníková||40||3 January 1991|
|Juraj Nitriansky||14–16||3 January 1991|
|Jana B.||31||9 January 1991|
|Helena Nováková||79||late January 1991|
|Henrieta Odlerová||22||14 July 1991|
|Matilda Urbanová||67||4 March 1992|
After arriving at Munich, Rigo murdered twice in three months. His first victim, Helena S. (40), probably surprised Rigo while he was burglarizing her apartment. "He killed her and got aroused sexually," recalls Anton Heretik, author of Rigo's psychological evaluation during investigation. On the night from June 7 to June 8, 1990, he sneaked through a partially open window into the ground floor bedroom of Helena S. at an unspecified location in Munich. Rigo smashed her head with a 2.5 kilogram metal pipe, wrapped the upper part of her body in a blanket and copulated with her. Before leaving he stole some easy to carry valuables according to some sources, while according to others he stole nothing at all. He disposed of the murder weapon directly beneath the bedroom window.
On the night between 31 July and 1 August 1 1990, Rigo sneaked through the partially open balcony door and into the Munich apartment of Ilke Z., 28, murdering her, again using a metal pipe. Rigo stabbed her in the neck with a screwdriver, most probably during the act of copulation. He performed both vaginal and anal intercourse with her. Afterwards, he covered up the body and searched the house for valuables, finding a golden necklace and an unknown amount of German marks, which he stole. The murder weapon and a man's sock was later found by the German police at the crime scene.
In October, Rigo left Munich for Amsterdam to visit his sister Helena. Maria van der W. (58) was a woman living alone in Amsterdam with cats. During the night of September 27, 1990, Rigo sneaked into her ground floor apartment through a partially open balcony window and killed her with a stone weighing over 5.5 kilograms (probably a pavement cobblestone). He stripped the body naked and copulated with it. Again he robbed his victim, stealing a camera, a women's wristwatch, two boxes containing coins and some other valuables. In the kitchen, he found a bottle of slivovica and drank it. Later in court, one of the witnesses would testify that Rigo had a liking for this particular drink.
Rigo left for Bratislava, Slovakia the day following the murder. His killings continued with the murder of Terézia R. (88) inside a retirement home in Bratislava, on October 6, 1990. He murdered her with his fist while she was sleeping. The retirement home reported prayer books, rosary and 4000 Slovak Crowns as missing. Underneath the balcony, the police found some Dutch coins and cigarette butts with Rigo's biological material on them.
On January 3, 1991, early in the morning, the bodies of Anna P. (40) and her son Juraj N. (14-16 depends on the source) were found inside a ground floor flat in a dormitory, at an unspecified location in Bratislava. Rigo entered the apartment through a window around midnight. The son was sleeping beside his mother when Rigo crushed their heads with a wooden stick. Anna P. tried to protect her son. Afterwards, Rigo copulated with her body. Anna P., who emigrated to Switzerland in 1982 with her son and husband, was in Bratislava with her son just for a few days for New Year's.
Jana B. (31) became the first person to survive Rigo's attack on January 9, 1991, when she managed to fight him off after being attacked in her probably first-floor Bratislava apartment on Kutuzovova street. Her quick decision to fight coupled with a poor weapon choice on Rigo's part allowed her to come out of the confrontation only with some wounds. Rigo gained access through a ventilation window above the door. After the unsuccessful attack, he quickly fled the apartment. Jana B. noticed that Rigo's light-blue pants were hand-sewn in the crotch area which later helped in identifying him. The police indeed found such pants in his closet. The same night before this attack, Rigo entered through another window in the neighborhood, but it led only into a small locked storage room.
Three weeks after his last kill and two weeks after the attack on Jana B., at an unspecified date, he murdered Helena N. (79) near Záhradnícka street in Bratislava. This was on the same street as the last murder scene according to some sources, or very near the last murder scene, according to others. Rigo removed a net from the kitchen window of this ground floor apartment, killing Helena N. with a piece of concrete.
Henrieta O. (22) was attacked on July 14, 1991. Rigo gained access to her Bratislava apartment through the window, which she probably left open because it was a hot summer. She was playing on her guitar late into the night. Rigo smashed her head, raped her and robbed her, leaving her for dead. Henrieta O. however survived the attack but died 18 days later. Together with Henrieta O. there was also her grandmother sleeping in another room of the apartment. She was practically deaf and didn't hear Rigo raping her fatally injured granddaughter.
The last victim, Matilda U. (67), was murdered on March 4, 1992, in the center of Bratislava in a porch house in Obchodná street. That night, Rigo was in movie theater Dukla (today known as YMCA) on Šancová street together with his girlfriend. They were returning home together when he suddenly told her that he had to take care of something and got off the trolleybus. He didn't come home until morning.
According to an article in Časopis Šarm, there is another unnamed victim from Bratislava, killed with a knife, which was never proved to Rigo. The victim was a woman found in the morning by her son sleeping in his child's room. The murder is considered unsolved as of 2008.
Rigo gave some of the items he stole from his victims to his unnamed daughter.
Arrest and sentencing
|“||He was still in trance, like a snake who just swallowed its prey. There were traces of blood on his shoes and trousers and inside his locker there were jewels belonging to the victim.||”|
|— former investigator JUDr. Jozef Vachálek recalls Ondrej Rigo's arrest|
Ondrej Rigo was arrested by the Slovak criminal police on March 4, 1992, only hours after his last murder. He was arrested by Vachálek and probably some other policemen in Hotel Carlton on Hviezdoslavovo Square in Bratislava, where he was employed as a cloakroom attendant. At the time of his arrest he was still without his socks on, which he used in the attack.
Later, he would claim that the blood on him was syrup and that his sperm found on the victims was arranged by a prostitute from an erotic club. He explained his footprints beneath the balconies and cigarette butts by claiming he was there by chance and had to pee or that he was curious and took a look through some windows. He explained his possession of jewelry by saying that women often gave him gifts.
Jana B., the only survivor of his crimes, clearly saw Rigo's face because inside the apartment where she fought with Rigo, there was some light from a streetlight outside. She would later actually attend his trial wearing a wig to remain unnoticed. The criminal police of Germany, Netherlands and Czechoslovakia investigated Rigo's murders separately. It was only after his arrest that they started cooperating on the case.
Ondrej Rigo was sentenced on December 7, 1994 by the City court of Bratislava after a trial that lasted 10 days. A senate headed by Peter Šamko sentenced him to life imprisonment in the "third class", which means highest security prison in Slovakia. When details of his crimes were read to him in court, Rigo did not react in any way. He was sitting rigidly and leaning a bit forward, his face showing no emotion throughout the trial. His file consisted of 5500 pages.
As explained by Šamko, the sentence was chosen based on directly or indirectly proven nine murders, based on especially brutal way in which he committed the murders and based on the fact that possibilities of his resocialization are quite limited and the prognosis is bad. There was also DNA evidence presented to the court consisting of blood analysis and analysis of semen from the victims' vaginas, as well as testimonies of 194 witnesses (including witnesses from Germany and Netherlands).
Rigo never pleaded guilty to any of the murders and he does not feel guilty.
Rigo has appealed the first-order court's sentence. In his appeal, he claims he is innocent, without giving any kind of proof.
Rigo's appeal process at the Supreme Court of Slovakia started on February 27, 1996. During his finishing speech, the representative of the General Prosecutor Office of Slovakia Ivan Segeš proposed to confirm the life imprisonment sentence because Rigo's guilt has been proven once again in the appeal process. On February 28, 1996 the senate of the Highest Court of Slovak Republic denied Rigo's appeal and confirmed his sentence. There is no other appeal possible.
Personality and psychopathological profile
According to court appointed psychologist Anton Heretik, author of Rigo's psychological profile during the trial, Rigo is a psychopath. "He does not accept any social norms, he is lacking empathy and behaves very impulsively. At the same time he is a schizoid personality, unable to create relationships with others. He has strange thoughts and hobbies, he is a loner. He is a combination of schizoid and antisocial psychopath, creating a very dangerous type of criminal", claims Heretik.
According to his psychological profile, the strangeness, lack of hospitality and language barrier in a foreign country could have influenced his later behavior. Rigo was found by the psychologists to not be a sadist.
According to Rigo's investigator Jozef Vachálek, "(he) had low IQ and seldom talked".
While incarcerated in Ilava prison, Rigo behaved according to the norms most of the time, but according to pedagogist Daniel Blaško from Ilava prison, he would "often react too aggressively". "Chances for his correction are zero", says Blaško. According to him, it was difficult to communicate with Rigo, because he seldom said a coherent sentence.
The Slovak artist Jana B. is the only person to survive an attack by Rigo. She attended karate classes for several years. Jana B. was attacked around 2:30 in the night while sleeping in her apartment on Kutuzovova street in Bratislava's third district on January 9, 1991. She returned home an hour after midnight and went to sleep. Rigo gained access to the apartment via a ventilation window above the door. A ladder was found leaning against the "pavlač".
"I was woken up by a hit to the head and I saw a man standing by my bed. At first I thought I'm dreaming, because I was living alone but when I received another hit to the head I woke up and the wooden shaft from a hoe Rigo stole outside, on the building's yard, broke, because it was moldy," she recalls. Jana B. jumped from her bed and started defending herself immediately with the broken piece of wood. When Rigo walked to the door, unlocking it from inside, she threw a chair at him. In the kitchen, he wrestled Jana B. onto a hot gas oven. "The skin on my legs and stomach started to burn", she recalls. They fell on the ground wrestling, then Rigo stood up and started punching her to the head. At this moment Jana B. grabbed him by his genitals and squeezed them. "He was just trying to gouge out my eye", she remembers. She doesn't remember whether Rigo screamed or not, but the rest of the fight before was silent. He then quickly fled the apartment while Jana B. alarmed the neighbor by banging on the wall, instructing him to call the police. Another neighbor, woken up by her son who was alarmed by the noise, found Jana B in shock and savagely beaten.
The neighbor told the police he heard some weird noises but he thought Jana B. was probably framing pictures in the middle of the night. After the attack, her wounds required several weeks to heal. According to Jana B.'s mother, the worst thing was that Rigo was caught over a year after the attack on her daughter, all the time knowing he might come back to finish the job. Years later, Jana B. claims she has no psychological trauma from the attack and she is not interested in Rigo.
|“||Why should I move? Where is it safer? In Petržalka? Rigo is not interesting to me. I have no trauma from him, I don't feel anything, he doesn't mean anything to me. I don't want to talk about him, read about him or know anything about him.||”|
|— Jana B., the only survivor of Ondrej Rigo's attacks, when interviewed by Šarm in 2008|
Jana B. never moved from the flat she was attacked in and as of 2008 she continues to live there. Other sources claim she bought a dog and had to have lights on during the night for seven years after the attack, afterwards finally moving out from the apartment.
In popular culture
- Beštia (English: The Beast), a detective novel by Slovak author Dominik Dán, published in Slovakia in July 2006 is a semi-fictionalised story of Ondrej Rigo. It details the atmosphere of the aftermath of President Václav Havel's amnesty from 1990 which released many criminals from prisons.
- (in English)http://www.vpsmvbrno.cz/muzeumzla/rigo/rigo_a.html
- Azet.sk. "Oprášené drámy: Má masový vrah Ondrej Rigo na svedomí aj ďalšiu brutalitu?".
- (in Slovak)http://www.sme.sk/c/2139120/medzinarodny-vrah-ondrej-rigo-odsudeny-na-dozivotie.html
- (in Polish)http://new-arch.rp.pl/artykul/36339_Seryjny_morderca_skazany_na_Slowacji.html
- (in Slovak)http://mesto.sk/prispevky_velke/bratislava/oodvolacomkonanis825424920.phtml
- (in Slovak)http://mesto.sk/prispevky_velke/bratislava/ozamietnutiodvolan825508140.phtml
- (in Slovak)http://www.mojcasopis.sk/zaujimave/tema/136-krvave-celebrity.html
- (in Slovak)http://sarm.pluska.sk/sarm/skutocne-pribehy/ondrej-rigo-ja-viem-ze-ma-nenavidia.html
- (in Slovak)http://www.cas.sk/clanok/179789/oprasene-dramy-mlada-zena-prezila-utok-9-nasobneho-vraha.html
- (in Slovak)http://www.martinus.sk/?uItem=27439
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