10 Most Dangerous Women in the World
10. Idoia Lopez Riano
The fact that Idoia Lopez Riano has gained notoriety within a terrorist group responsible
for upwards of 800 deaths gives an indication of her unique lethality. The fact that this
reputation is largely due to her sexuality as opposed to her body count also says a lot
about people’s priorities.
Nicknamed ‘El Tigress’, Riano would reportedly sleep with police officers, before shooting
their colleagues days later, with no apparent reasoning. Flings like this would also precede
larger attacks, to the annoyance of her fellow militants. Because apparently there’s a
strict etiquette to terror attacks.
Regardless of reputation, Riano rose to lieutenant in the Basque Separatist terror group ‘ETA’.
With the group, she planned two bombings in 1980s Spain, killing 18 civil guards in total.
After being caught in France, Riano was sentenced to 2,000 years in prison, but was released
in 2017, serving just one year for each of the 23 murders she was charged with.
9. Maria Swanenburg
Every family has their issues, but between 1880 and 1883, there was no worse gene pool
to belong to than the Swanenburgs. That’s because, beginning with her mother, then her
father, Maria Swanenburg took the lives of 16 of her own relatives in these three years.
Until then, Maria had been an upstanding member of the Dutch neighborhood of Leiden, known
about town for looking after children and sick people. But it later became apparent
that these acts were only to gain Maria a place in various inheritances, and insurance
How Maria thought 102 insurance payouts would look anything but suspicious remains unknown,
but this was the number of her friends and family that she tried to poison with Arsenic.
27 of these people died, although the court investigated over ninety suspicious deaths
in relation to Swanenburg. She was jailed for life, where she died in 1915.
8. The White Widow
After the perpetrators of London’s 7/7 bombings were revealed to the public, a lot of sympathy
was offered to the widows of the men involved. Samantha Lewthwaite was believed by many to
have been unaware of her husband’s extremism, but has gone on to carve out her own terrorist
According to the Telegraph, the mother of four and London University graduate is now
considered responsible for over 400 deaths, through her work with terrorist group Al Shabaab.
After moving to Kenya, Lewthwaite reportedly worked her way up to second in command in
the group, planning several attacks, including the 2015 murder of 148 at a Kenyan University.
The ‘White Widow’ is also accused of having bribed desperate families in Kenya with as
little as $400, to take children as young as 15 and recruit them as suicide bombers.
Lewthwaite remains at large today, with Interpol issuing a global arrest warrant for the extremist
7. Mata Hari
Born in the Netherlands in 1876, Margaretha Zelle is better known by her stage name, and
the infamy that surrounded it, some of which was actually true. Often portrayed as having
abandoned her children, Zelle actually lost one child to illness, and another to the custody
of an abusive ex-husband.
Too poor to take her daughter back, Zelle moved to Paris to raise money as a dancer,
and within a few years, was the most famous exotic dancer and courtesan in Europe. During
World War 1, this status gave her access to a range of high ranking military officials.
Zelle then worked as a double agent, passing information from France to Germany and vice
versa. When this was discovered, the French government charge Zelle with the estimated
50,000 deaths her leaked information had lead to. In 1917, the now famous femme fatale faced
the firing squad without a blindfold, and allegedly blew a kiss to her executioners.
6. Maria Licciardi
It took two brothers and a husband being arrested for Maria Licciardi to be promoted to the
head of her family’s clan in 1993. But this wasn’t enough for her, so she brought together
and took charge of all 20 clans of The Camorra, one of Italy’s largest crime syndicates.
Licciardi was just as happy breaking glass ceilings as she was breaking bones, ruling
the clans sternly. When her nephew was murdered, she had 14 rival clan members killed for revenge.
She also expanded the Camorra’s power by introducing a prostitution ring, of practically
enslaved, often underaged girls, who were killed when they became too old.
Her eight year grip of power was loosened slightly when fighting between the clans lead
to a gang war, killing more than 100 on both sides. Afterwards, Licciardi went into hiding,
and was eventually imprisoned in 2001, where it’s reported that she maintains power of
5. Mary Tudor
If you’ve ever had the drink, you may have your own theories on why a Bloody Mary is
dangerous. But the woman its named after did a lot worse than mixing tomato juice and alcohol.
When King Edward the sixth fell gravely ill in 1553, he tried to stop his sister’s succession
to the throne. He worried Mary would try to undo protestant reforms in the country, and
was succeeded instead by his cousin Jane. Jane was known as ‘the 9 days queen’,
so you can guess this didn’t end well.
Mary promptly overthrew Jane and had her executed, before proving her brother completely right,
violently forcing England back to Roman Catholicism. This involved burning more than 280 dissenters
at the stake. Not actually the most bloody method, but it was enough to earn Mary the
famous title. Bloody Mary only reigned for five years, dying in 1558 from influenza,
when all her hard work was undone by her sister Elizabeth.
4. Belle Gunness
After Belle Gunness left Norway for Chicago in 1881, she was soon married and all seemed
well. The couple bought a shop, which sadly burnt down, but they used the insurance to
move house. As you’ve guessed though, Belle’s husband soon died, on the only day his two
life insurance policies overlapped.
Undeterred, Belle remarried, but her new husband and his daughter died mysteriously, leaving
more insurance money. A hopeless romantic, Belle continued to take out personal ads to
find wealthy suitors, who continued to die from what doctors suspected was the same poison.
Are you seeing a pattern yet?
When Belle’s home burned down, the bodies of OVER 40 MEN AND CHILDREN were discovered,
but the missing persons count surrounding her exceeds that number. An unidentified female
body was found too, and buried as Belle Gunness. But, given Gunness’ history with mysterious
housefires, it’s widely believed she faked the scene, and escaped to kill again.
3. Amelia Dyer
Amelia Dyer was only actually convicted of one murder, but it’s widely accepted that
this English nurse took the lives of many, many more, over a 20 year spree in the late
1800s. In 1869, Dyer started ‘baby farming’, which is already a term that doesn’t scream
This was a Victorian-era practice where people were paid to adopt unwanted infants. Dyer
took advantage of the system’s poor regulation, putting children to intense work schedules.
After children begun dying in her care, Dyer was charged with negligence, but wasn’t
even banned from adoption.
It’s believed this is when Dyer began simply strangling the children. When one of her victims
was found in the Thames, Dyer was hanged for the murder, just 17 years after her first
arrest. But the highest estimates for her total body count were around 400 children,
making her one of history’s most prolific killers. The only saving grace was the stricter
adoption laws her murder spree brought about.
2. Elizabeth Bathory
Holding a Guiness World record is usually something to be proud of, but Elizabeth Bathory
holds one of the book’s less coveted achievements, despite having been born in 1650, 400 years
before the book’s first edition. The Hungarian was attributed the title of most prolific
This claim isn’t certain, because reports of Bathory’s victims vary in different accounts,
but it’s widely believed the number is upwards of 650 people. This number allegedly comes
from a book kept by Bathory, recording the names of everyone that she and four of her
servants had tortured and killed.
Despite evidence including eye witnesses and ACTUAL BODIES FROM THE CRIMES, Bathory never
actually stood trial, due to the fact that she came from a line of Hungarian nobility.
She died in prison awaiting trial, and her story became folklore, including a disputed
claim that she had frequently bathed in her victims’ blood. Although we’re probably
happier not knowing.
1. Irma Grese
In a place as horrific as Auschwitz, it’s hard to separate yourself from the pack as
a sadist, which might explain why Irma Grese went to such extreme lengths to be ridiculously
evil. Known as the Hyena of Auschwitz, Grese was renowned for the humour, and even arousal,
that she gleaned from death and torture.
Grese would beat and whip prisoners to the point that they required surgery, which she
would watch from the wings in intense pleasure. Those that didn’t reach the operating table
fell victim to her pistol, or her starved pack of dogs, to whom she would feed victims
alive. Grese even reportedly had victims’ remains turned into lampshades for her quarters.
But she was easily as prolific as she was deranged, allegedly murdering thirty prisoners
a day in the camp. However, the Hyena of Auschwitz was quickly trialled after the war ended,
and Grese was hanged for her crimes in December of 1945.
So that was the 10 Most Dangerous Women in the World. Which one sounds the scariest?
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