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FROM TWO children who stabbed their friend 19 times to a woman who killed and chopped off her own mum's head off – these are some of the copycats who were driven to kill by myths and movies.
Yesterday it emerged Anissa Weier will be released early from a 25 year sentence after she stabbed her schoolmate Payton Leutner in May 2014 — an act of violence that stemmed from a fascination with the internet urban legend Slender Man.
Ungainly, white as a ghost, and faceless, the Slender Man originated character created for a Photoshop contest before the unsettling images and made up tales spread across the web.
Weier and her pal Morgan Geyser reportedly stabbed their friend 19 times as an attempted sacrifice to the online entity – who is claimed to stalk children and trigger amnesia.
They pinned the girl down and repeatedly stabbed her with a five inch long blade during a game of hide-and-seek.
Payton thankfully survived her injuries after being lured into the wood in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on May 31, 2014.
The two wannabe killers were found not guilty by mental disease and institutionalised.
It was a crime which shocked the world – and is one of many seemingly inspired by fictional characters.
Another crime linked to the Slender Man was carried out the same year by husband and wife Jerad and Amanda Miller, who shot and killed two Las Vegas police officers and a third person, before killing themselves.
The couple’s neighbour Krista Koch told KTNV-TV Jerad would sometimes dress up as Slender Man, while his wife would dress as Harley Quinn.
The day before the shooting Jerad updated his Facebook status with the chilling words: "The dawn of a new day.
"May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it."
Jerad has also been previously pictured dressing up as The Joker, another hyper violent character who has been linked to various crimes.
Batman's murderous and psychotic arch nemsis has been linked to a number of crimes.
The most famous criminal inspired by the Clown Prince of Crime was James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado, theatre shooter.
On July 20, 2012, Holmes entered a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises dressed in tactical clothing.
He set off tear gas canisters and opened fire indiscriminately into the crowded theater.
Twelve people were slaughtered and 70 others wounded.
According to federal agents, Holmes had dyed his hair red and was referring to himself as "The Joker" during the attack.
And meanwhile, in 2019 Jessica Camilleri, 27, decapitated her mum Rita in a frenzied knife attack before leaving her head on a footpath outside their home in St Clair, Sydney, Australia.
Chilling Facebook posts made before the macabre act in July 2019 showed Camilleri’s obsession with the movie Jeepers Creepers.
The film franchise features a bloodthirsty maniac known as The Creeper who was inspired by real-life killer Dennis DePue who butchered his own wife in cold blood in 1990.
Rita was brutally stabbed more than 100 times before her daughter chopped her head off and had her tongue, eyeballs and nose removed.
Two forensic psychiatrists told the New South Wales Supreme Court, Australia, the daughter was suffering from substantial impairment of the mind.
The court heard that the attack had been launched in a fit of rage to prevent being sent to hospital for psychiatric treatment after a series of acts, including threatening to "shred" the heads of strangers.
Camilleri used seven kitchen knives in the onslaught, four of which broke due to the force used.
In 2016 Enrique Dominguez, a 20-year-old man from Florida, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly telling a co-worker he planned to dress like the Joker, and then shoot his boss at work.
On Instagram, he posted a photo of 15 knives, commenting that it was his "lil arsenal."
After investigators arrested Dominguez, they found a bag with a clown mask, duct tape, plastic wrap, gloves, and two large knives.
Once in custody, he admitted to planning a violent spree following a "day of allegiance".
The Scream slasher flick franchise from the mid-late 1990s has also inspired a spate of crimes.
In 1999 Daniel Gill and Robert Fuller, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, decided to stab a 13-year-old friend soon after watching one of the moves.
The same year 16-year-old Mario Padilla, from Los Angeles stabbed and killed his own mother while in 2001 killer, 24-year-old Belgian lorry driver Thierry Jaradin, wore the film's creepy Ghostface mask while stabbing a 15-year-old girl with kitchen knives.
In 2016 Russian Elena Lobacheva, 26, murdered one man and knifed another 171 times, while other victims were repeatedly struck with hammers, the court was told
She admitted to detectives that she was inspired by a Hollywood horror movie Bride of Chucky, about a doll possessed by a serial killer.
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