Making of a Monster: Robert Pickton

 

Pick Me Up! magazine asked for my professional opinion on Robert Pickton, a former pig farmer and serial killer convicted of the second-degree murders of six women in Canada. He was also charged with the deaths of an additional 20 women. Out in the 24th May 2012 edition, I supplied the following psychological insight.

What impact did his mother’s strict working regime have on the young Robert Pickton?

The main impact that his mother’s strict working regime would have had on young Robert would have been the denial of a childhood.  From school to the slaughterhouse, where was there time for Robert to play, have fun, or spend time with friends?  If he wasn’t at school, he was surrounded by the flesh and blood of slaughtered animals.  In such an environment there was no room for childhood innocence. 

How would his close proximity to death in the workings of the pig slaughterhouse have affected him? It was rumoured he used to hide in the gutted carcasses of the larger pigs.

Even though these were animals as opposed to human beings, the environment in which Robert was raised was one where death was ‘normal’ and carcasses were familiar.  We all tend to stay with the familiar, however bad that might be. Robert stayed with the familiar, which had tragic consequences for his victims.

 

How can we understand his fear of showering?

Whether Robert feared showers or more so craved the sense of comfort that came from the familiarity of the smells he grew up with is questionable.  Indeed, Robert used to hide in the gutted carcasses of the larger pigs.  The thought of this would make most people feel nauseas, but for Robert it had protected him from something or someone.  Therefore, the smells associated with hiding in a pig carcass or, indeed, of the slaughterhouse itself, were likely a comfort to Robert.

 

He was famous locally for his poor personal hygiene. Why would someone let themselves get so dirty and smelly?

See above re the associations between smell and safety.  Also, lack of personal hygiene can act as a protective mechanism, keeping people away.

 

When he was young, his mother tried to cover up a hit-and –run accident his brother had been involved in by dumping the victim’s body in a lake before he had died. How would this have affected Pickton?

Robert was given the message that it is ok to take someone’s life and hide the evidence.  Also, the way the body was dumped shows a lack of respect for human life in general.

 

Why did such a quiet man throw such wild parties/orgies?

Robert was quiet on the outside, but most certainly not on the inside.  The parties and orgies were a way to release the chaotic thoughts, feelings and emotions that were inside a man wearing a quiet mask.  Indeed, the rape and murders committed by Robert were another way of releasing the vast amount of negative energy inside him.

 

Pickton would kill just after having sex with his victims. Could there be a link between his sexual appetite and his need to kill?

Often with serial killers, it is the killing part that satisfies the sexual appetite.  However, Robert killed his victims after raping them.  This man had two needs to meet – sexual needs and killing needs.  I suspect Robert could have met one need without the other, but doing the two together was a convenient way of satisfying his thirst for these two activities.

 

Why would anyone feed a dead body to pigs? Or put a dead body through a mincing machine?

Pigs are the perfect way to dispose of a body.  They eat anything, crushing bones and eating them too.  Robert would have known this from growing up in a slaughterhouse and thus used his knowledge to dispose of any evidence to his crimes.

 

Pickton would serve the flesh of his victims to his customers and those attending his parties? Why would a man knowingly feed human remains to someone unsuspecting? 

Power. Anger.  A need to secretly share his ‘accomplishment’ with others.  In many ways, Robert was quietly but satisfyingly showing off.

 




Categories: Psychology

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14 replies

  1. Sorry, I’m a serial proof reader, third to last reply ref. ‘Pickton would kill….’ In your answer/reply, you’ve got ‘Richard’ on the second line, not Robert?

  2. The information you gave answers all of the questions that were asked, but I wanted to know more about his CHOICE of victoms. Did he feel they were trash and deserved to die, or perhaps that they had no family, so no one would notice, chosing the easy way? Care to caloborate.

  3. Hi Asia. A really good question, and I think both of the answers you provide have validity. At the core of his choice, however, was the belief that his victims were worthless. Indeed, he treated them like animals, like the pigs in the slaughterhouse – with no regard for life at all.

  4. I have actually written to Robert William Pickton and will share the results if he chooses to write back.Canadian authorities recently obtained his written permission to allow his incarceration prison address to be released so I could write to him.

    As terrible as this sounds in light of the misery and tears and the suffering he caused his victims, I can’t help but feel sorry for him in some ways. And yet, what makes one person become a killer like Pickton? His brother shared the same upbringing, and yet he didn’t become a killer. On the other hand, he was also the more dominant of the two, much like Ed Gein’s brother, and he also had more success with women. In the book ON THE FARM it was surprising to see Pickton’s kind side to a woman that he befriended that he never harmed, and one that he really wanted to marry. I can’t help but think…if he had gotten married and had a family, would he have been the most despised serial killer in Canadian history? His mother and father were certainly horrifying parents as well.

  5. Also the age-old question remains….are some people born evil or created by social circumstances and abuse, or both? If Pickton had been raised by a loving family, would he have turned out to be a murderer? On the other hand we have psychopaths who are raised by seemingly good families and look how THEY turn out.

  6. Regardless of his upbringing, Pickton knew what he was doing. He was aware. He planned his crimes….from who to target, what he wanted to do with them, and how he would dispose of the bodies. I don’t feel sorry at all for the bastard! he should rot in hell. He has raped and brutally killed around 50 women. Yes his mother’s behaviour was disgusting and he didn’t have a good childhood. But what about children who are survivors of sexual abuse, war crimes, and of genocide? Do you see them going on killing sprees? He is a killer and he should be imprisoned for life. 20 years of imprisonment for 50 deaths is not justice.

  7. Regardless of his upbringing, Pickton knew what he was doing. He was aware. He planned his crimes….from who to target, what he wanted to do with them, and how he would dispose of the bodies. He has raped and brutally killed around 50 women. Yes his mother’s behaviour was disgusting and he didn’t have a good childhood. But what about children who are survivors of sexual abuse, war crimes, and of genocide? Do you see them going on killing sprees? He is a killer and he should be imprisoned for life. 20 years of imprisonment for 50 deaths is not justice.

  8. Hi there I just wanted to ask what type of psychological theory would you apply to Pickton? like Developmental theory perspective, Fearlessness theory, Developmental Taxonomy, Stimulation theory?

  9. I wanted to know if Robert Pickton had a mental illness or disorder? And if he is released from prison do you think he will continue to do this?

    • Oh yea he will continue doing so if he gets out but only if in familiar settings but those are all gone and everyone knows now so theirs a chance he might not but either way I live in maple ridge my whole life and my mom dad and aunties have all been to the pig farm for parties back in the day and I remember when this all broke the news I was little but I remember passing the site many times before and after all this and the place now is soo different no buildings or anything left which idk why they tore down his house and everything I think that would have been a wicked place to show people and how Canada’s most sick serial killer lived on a day-to-day basis and what he did to his victims

  10. Thnx for the info! I need this for my assignment!
    This guy is so sick in the head!!

  11. Would the ” Differential Association reinforcement theory” apply to Robert Pickton?

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