The Making of a Monster: John Wayne Glover


Pick Me Up! magazine asked for my professional opinion on John Wayne Glover, a British-born Australian serial killer convicted for the murders of six elderly women on Sydney’s North Shore over a 14-month period. Out in the 24th January 2013 edition, I supplied the following psychological insight.



John had issues with older women in his life. Firstly, his mother. She was promiscuous and had many boyfriends/lovers and four husbands. How did this affect John in later life?

Having a promiscuous mother would have affected John in his childhood and in his later life. One message John’s mother was giving him was that women are sexual objects. The key message being conveyed, however, was that there was no security within relationships. No man was good enough for John’s mother, which was why she moved from one to the next. Was this message also conveyed to John? That he too was not good enough for her, hence why she put all of her attentions into her promiscuous indulgences? Whatever the case may be, this type of childhood can lead to insecure adults who lack self-esteem and the ability to maintain healthy relationships with the opposite sex due to feelings of inferiority. In some, this feeling of inferiority can lead to anger at the source of those feelings – in this case, older women.


How would he have felt when she turned up in Australia years later, having followed him there from the UK?

Again confronted by the first woman to make John feel small and inferior, John would have been psychologically and emotionally shunted back to his childhood and any pain experienced during his younger years.


The other troubled relationship with an older woman in his life involved his mother-in-law. He and his wife lived next door to him. She was a demanding woman and there were frequent rows. Why was he so sensitive about this relationship?

John’s previous experience with his own mother provided the foundation for his relationship with subsequent maternal figures. Even if his mother-in-law hadn’t been demanding, John would likely have found it difficult to connect with her. Unfortunately, however, this woman was extremely demanding, perpetuating any negative feelings he had towards his own mother and maternal figures in general.


While in Australia, his mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and later died of it. John was also diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. How would having this particular cancer have affected John?

This would have been a final straw for John. Not only had his mother ruined his childhood and impacted his adulthood, but even after her death she had left her legacy behind. John was again faced with a reminder of his mother, and this time it was a life-threatening reminder.


John became impotent after the cancer. Did this play a part in his crimes?

Impotence is relatively common in serial killers and, indeed, many serial killers use their crimes for sexual satisfaction. For John, however, there was no sexual element to his crimes. Even the taking of the pantyhose to strangle the victims was not of a sexual nature, but merely to make sure they were dead and also to trick the police. The impotence, however, did likely increase his anger and the motivation to kill.


He was also addicted to playing poker on fruit machines etc. What does this say about him?

The very nature of poker requires a person to be disagreeable, cunning and motivated by self-interest. Such people do not get on well with others.


He started killing at 59, which is late in comparison to the other monsters we’ve looked at. Why did he start so late?

Only John can tell us this, but it does suggest that he controlled his urges in his younger years through keeping his anger inside. Ultimately, this has to come out some time and for John it was when he was older.


The violence he inflicted on his victims was truly horrific. Why did he beat them in this way? Why such extreme violence?

This again supports the notion that he spent so many years suppressing his anger that when he did let it out, it came out in a truly horrific way.


After killing his last victim, he tried to kill himself in the bath. What does this say about him?

This could suggest a number of things. While his suicide could indicate remorse, the evidence suggests that it is more likely that he was no longer gaining relief from the murders. The quenching of his anger and ceased and he felt at a loss of what he could do to kill the anger. In many ways, that is what he was doing every time he violently battered his victims – trying to kill his own anger. Yet, the anger was still there. It would seem that John had lost hope.


Before killing himself in prison, he drew a strange map with the letter 9 on it. What do you think he was trying to say?

There are a number of theories, but was John telling us that there were 9 victims of his endless rage?



Categories: Psychology

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