Making of a Monster: Michael Ryan

Pick Me Up magazine asked for my professional opinion on Michael Ryan in their regular column ‘Making of a Monster.’  Out in the 19th April 2012 edition, I supplied the following psychological insight:

Labelled a ‘mummy’s boy’ by the Guardian newspaper, Michael Ryan was an only child.  He loved his parents dearly and was severely affected by the death of his father to cancer, which occurred 2 years prior to the massacre for which he would later become known.  In many ways, Ryan’s childhood history does not comprise the typical family characteristics of people who go on to commit such heinous acts.  On the other hand, Ryan was bullied at school, had few friends, and shied away from socialising.  Keeping himself to himself, the taunts from the bullies along with his obsession with commando toys and weapons, provided the foundations of a rage that would end up in the death of 16 people.

Claims have been made by experts that Ryan was schizophrenic or psychotic, and the evidence would suggest that this could be the case.  This would explain the mystery surrounding his motives and the fact that he murdered his beloved mother.  Minutes before Ryan took his own life, he confessed that the murder of his mother was a mistake.  Was it voices that told him to kill her?  Did psychosis lead to him not recognising his mother?  We are unlikely to ever know.


Categories: Psychology

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