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26 Jan, 2014

Academics unlock the secret behaviour of Britain’s contract killers – The Observer

They are classified as novices, journeymen, dilettantes or masters. They are Britain’s hitmen – killers who ply their deadly trade in return for cash, and who for the first time have become the subject of a major academic study.

The killers typically murder their targets on a street close to the victim’s home, although a significant proportion get cold feet or bungle the job, according to criminologists who examined 27 cases of contract killing between 1974 and 2013 committed by 36 men (including accomplices) and one woman.

The publication of the research is chillingly timely: on Friday, high-flying City executive Robin Clark was shot in the leg in a targeted hit by a masked gunman as he got out of his car at an Essex railway station.

Using off-the-record interviews with informants, interviews with offenders and former offenders, court transcripts and newspaper archives, academics from Birmingham City University identified patterns of hitman behaviour in an attempt to demystify their secret world.

Read the rest: Hitmen for hire: academics unlock the secret behaviour of Britain’s contract killers | UK news | The Observer.