Canadian Colonel Russell Williams truly led a double life. Commander of Canada’s largest forces base and a seemingly devoted husband, Williams was also a rapist and killer.
Camouflaged Killer by David A. Gibb is the definitive account of the life and crimes of Williams, who was jailed in 2010 for 25 years with no possibility of parole. The book details Williams’ double life of respectability and depravity. A bland, disciplined and formal man, Williams was also a prolific stealer of women’s underwear – he amassed a collection of hundreds of pairs and also thousands of images of him wearing the stolen lingerie. (I found these photos disturbing and embarrassing and Gibb’s details of the crimes leading up to the rapes and murders by Williams is compelling and totally shocking.)
There is also very detailed accounts of the assaults and murders of Corporal Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd. These are really grueling descriptions and garnered from the videotapes that Williams took of his crimes.
Williams is a bit of a mystery to crime and psychology experts in that it appears that he did not ramp up in his sexual crimes until his 40s when he started stalking women, prowling neighbourhoods and breaking in to homes to steal underwear. Williams’ escalation from stealing underwear to rape and then murder certainly shows that the act of lingerie theft is no soft crime.
At the end of the book Gibb gives a criminal profile of Williams in terms of sexual sadism and this is fascinating for people interested in criminology.
Camouflaged Killer is one of the best true crime books that I have read in recent years.
Follow David A. Gibb on twitter.com @camokillerbook