Female Hannibal Lecter decapitated lover then boiled head to feed to kids

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It was a crime so gruesome that if it were a movie it might be too horrific even for an 18 certificate – but it happened in real life.

Even hardened police officers and pathologists were sickened by what a killer dubbed a 'female Hannibal Lecter' did to her victim.

Katherine Knight is considered Australia's worst female killer and remains the first and only woman in the country to be locked up for life in prison.

Read more: China's most prolific serial killer slaughtered 67 people 'because he got dumped'

Her infamy comes not only from way she murdered her lover but also what she did afterwards.

In echoes of the film Silence of the Lambs, in which Hannibal Lecter slaughters and eats his victims, the twisted mum of four also tried to turn her freshly-killed lover into a meal.

She reportedly skinned and decapitated him then tried to serve up his remains to his children for dinner, in a casserole and pies accompanied by baked potatoes and vegetables.

Knight, who was 40 at the time, was jailed for life, with the judge saying she was such a threat to society she should never be released. He handed her a whole life jail term.

The shocking crime happened in the small town of Aberdeen in New South Wales, Australia, in February 2000.

Knight, who had four children by three different men, began a relationship with John Price in 1993.

Quite why he hooked up with her is a mystery, because Knight was well known in Aberdeen for violence towards her lovers.

Previously she had strangled, stabbed and bludgeoned her boyfriends, but all survived and left her.

Knight had also tried to kill her newborn daughter by leaving her for dead on the railway tracks, as well as slitting the throat of the puppy of one of her lovers.

She was employed in the local abattoir where she worked as a boner and excelled at her job.

She moved in with John and his three daughters in 1995 and, although stormy, they enjoyed a good relationship until he refused to marry her.

Rows followed but it all came to a head in February 2000 when Knight lost her temper with Price as they lay in bed after a passionate night of 'make up sex' following a heated clash.

As he slept Knight stabbed John in the chest using the set of butchers' knives she used in her job at the slaughterhouse – only this time she wasn't killing cows or sheep, but her lover.

She stabbed John 36 times and as he lay dying in a pool of blood, Knight calmly started preparing dinner for her and John's three daughters, who were staying over at the babysitter's house.

Knight laid the table with plates and cutlery then began making dinner – which was John.

With his body still warm, she skinned John and, being such an expert, managed it in one piece. She then chopped his head off and boiled it on the stove with vegetables to turn it into a broth.

Over the next few hours she set about butchering John's body, turning it into pies and casseroles. She served these on plates with vegetables, baked potatoes and gravy – then finished off with hand-written name plates for his three daughters.

While waiting for the girls to come home she apparently started to tuck into one of the meals, but found it made her feel sick so threw the plate out of the window.

Then, in sudden fit of remorse, Knight apparently tried to kill herself by taking an overdose of her anti-depressants and other pills.

But she survived and in 2001 pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

The judge, Justice Barry O'Keefe, said: "She engaged in cruel, vicious behaviour to Mr Price. She showed him no mercy, she hasn't expressed any contrition or remorse. If released, she poses a serious threat to the security of society.

"I'm satisfied beyond any doubt that such a murder was premeditated. I'm further satisfied in the same way that not only did she plan the murder, but she also enjoyed the horrific acts which followed in its wake as part of a ritual of death and defilement."

Knight, now 67, is safely behind bars at the maximum security Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre in Sydney where she is known by the other inmates as 'Nanna'. She will never be released.

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