Inside the twisted mind of Canada’s most notorious serial killer.

Clifford Olson

PA Photos

On Christmas Day 1980, the ravaged body of 12-year-old Christine Weller was found at the back of a rubbish dump in Richmond, British Columbia.

Missing since 17 November, she’d been strangled and stabbed.

Yet it was just the beginning…

Over the next nine months, eight girls and three boys aged 9 to 18 were abducted, drugged, then tortured, raped and murdered.

Four of the victims’ bodies were found in secluded areas within a 90km radius of Vancouver. The rest vanished.

Finally, on 12 August 1981, Clifford Olson, then 41, was arrested near Port Alberni on suspicion of trying to abduct two female hitchhikers.

Two days later, he was charged with the murder of Judy Kozma, 14, whose naked body had been discovered in July that year.

Judy kozma victim of Clifford Olson

Judy Kozma

Olson confessed to the rest.

Dubbing himself the ‘Beast of British Columbia’, Olson was born on New Year’s Day 1940, to milk-truck driver Clifford Snr, and housekeeper Leona Olson.

So what turned Olson into such a monster?

There was no traumatic childhood event to trigger his torturous rage.

Yet, as a child, Olson killed rabbits and tormented cats and dogs. A school bully, he lost all his fights.

So he trained as a boxer to track down the boys who beat him up and exact revenge.

By the time he was 10, Olson frequently skipped classes. At 15, he left turning to petty crime.

His first stint in jail came in 1957, at 17, when he was hailed for breaking and entering.

Over the next 24 years he chalked up 94 convictions – including fraud, theft, possession of firearms, rape, armed robbery and forgery.

Whilst incarcerated, he became a prison grass, would antagonise guards and inmates, and was nearly fatally stabbed for it.

In 1974, Olson repeatedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old fellow inmate. And then became friendly with child murderer Charles Marcoux behind bars.

Once free, he met divorcee Joan Hale.

Nine months later, he graduated to first-degree murder, abducting and killing Christine Weller.

Christine Weller victim of Clifford Olson

Christine Weller

It was the start of a nine-month killing spree.

His next victims were Colleen Daignault, 13, and Daryn Johnsrude, 16, both murdered in April 1981.

In May, the same month he married Joan, he killed Sandra Wolfsteiner, 16, then Ada Anita Court, 13, that June.

Sandra Wolfsteiner victim of Clifford Olson

Sandra Wolfsteiner

Also known as the ‘Rent-a-car Killer’, Olson lured youngsters into his hired vehicle promising jobs or alcohol.

He’d then abduct, drug, rape, stab and bludgeon them.

In July, Olson, by now a father to a son, abducted and murdered six children in a month.

After his arrest in August 1981, detectives made a controversial ‘cash for bodies’ deal with Olson, promising to pay his then estranged wife and son $100K (around £63K) if he located his seven missing victims.

Olson pleaded guilty to 11 murders and was given 11 life sentences.

While in jail, Olson spent three decades courting the press, tormenting the relatives of his victims.

He died of colon cancer at 71, in September 2011.


By Rachel Tompkins