Why do people kill? What drives someone to take another human life?

For some, it's a desperate bid for fame and notoriety.

Some killers crave living in a world where everybody knows their name, and their heinous crimes earn them exactly that.

Whether they dobbed themselves in, sat patiently waiting to be arrested or taunted the police and the press with letters detailing their sick and disturbing acts, these criminals got exactly what they craved – life-long and worldwide infamy.

Here's a rundown of the murderers who killed for fame…

Dennis Nilsen

Dennis Nilsen was getting away with murder for years before he was finally caught.

But it seems he's the very person who sparked his own downfall.

The serial killer and necrophile, who became known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, spent years luring young men back to his flat before strangling or drowning them between 1978 and 1983.

The killer, whose story is being retold in three-part ITV drama Des starring David Tennant, was arrested when human remains were found to be blocking the drains at the property where he was renting the top-floor flat.

Police later discovered that it was Nilsen himself who wrote the letter to the landlord, threatening to stop paying his rent if the drains weren't unclogged.

Did he want to be caught?

Nilsen casually told police that he had killed 15 men, walking them through each murder in chilling detail.

Nilsen was so desperate for fame, that not only did he orchestrate his own capture, he began working with a biographer while he was being held in prison.

Even before he'd been charged with any crimes and while co-operating with the police, Nilsen was visited every week by author Brian Masters.

After months of visits and hours of interviews, he wrote Killing For Company.

Nilsen was eventually sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

He died in 2018 at the age of 72.

Mark David Chapman

John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman once announced that he'd murdered The Beatles star to gain fame and noteriety.

The murderer, now 65, was recently denied parole for the 11th time, meaning he'll remain behind bars for at least another two years.

It's been almost 40 years since he shot Lennon dead outside his Manhattan apartment in December 1980.

  • John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman denied parole for 11th time

He's now serving a 20-year-to-life sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in New York and has applied for parole numerous times.

Lennon was 40 when Chapman shot him in the back four times in front of his devastated wife Yoko Ono.

But he didn't run or try to evade capture.

Chapman remained at the scene, sitting down to read a copy of JD Salinger's novel The Catcher In The Rye until police arrived to arrest him.

He said the reason behind the murder was his thirst for noteriety.

Chapman, who had been a big fan of The Beatles, later said he had become incensed by Lennon's lifestyle and public statements.

He was particularly dismayed by Lennon's declaration that the band was "more popular than Jesus" and the lyrics of his songs God and Imagine.

He also worked with a writer to have a book brought out about him.

He supplied taped interviews to journalist Jack Jones who used them to pen Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman.

Daniel Gonzalez

Serial killer Daniel Gonzalez wanted to be famous for murdering people.

In 2004, he murdered four people and injured two others over two days in London and Sussex.

He became known as the Freddy Krueger Killer and the Mummy's Boy Killer and once said in a disturbing letter that killing people was one of the "best things I've done in my life".

Gonzalez was obsessed with horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th and said they inspired him to become a "famous serial killer".

The killer was jailed for life in 2006 and took his own life one year later in a psychiatric hospital. He was 27.

Dennis Rader

American serial killer Dennis Rader took the lives of 10 people in Wichita and Kansas between 1974 and 1991.

He became known as the BTK or the BTK Strangler, standing for bind, torture, kill, because of the sick acts he'd carry out on his victims.

The killer, who is still behind bars at the age of 75, also sparked his own downfall.

  • Dennis Nilsen's sick solo sex act involving mirror as he pretended to be corpse

During his killing spree, Rader sent taunting letters to police and the press, describing his crimes in horrific detail.

He remained a free man until after a 10-year hiatus, he began writing letters again in 2004.

He was arrested in 2005 and pleaded guilty. Rader is serving 10 consecutive life sentences at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.

The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer was an American serial killer who was never caught.

But as well as his maintaining his anonymity, he also achieved huge notierity.

The killer operated from the late 1960s to the early 1970s in Northern Carolina, and claimed to have killed 37 people, although only five victims were ever confirmed by police.

Zodiac, who targeted young couples, created his own cryptic persona, naming himself the Zodiac Killer in a series of taunting letters and cards he sent to members of the press.

His letters included cryptograms or puzzles, but of the four he sent, only one was ever definitely solved.

The case has been open since 1969.

Who was the Zodiac Killer? And is he or she still alive today?

The case was depicted in 2007 movie Zodiac, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper is arguably the most famous serial killer whose identity remains a secret.

We'll probably never know the identity of the man who stalked the streets of Whitechapel in 1888 and killed at least five women.

Many theories surrounding the killer's identity have been published over the years, but despite no one knowing who he was, he got exactly what he wanted.

Jack, who targeted prostitutes, also gave himself his own nickname.

He allegedly penned a series of now-infamous letters to the press, talking about his crimes.

Although, some people believe the letters to have been a hoax and that they were actually written by journalists in an attempt to heighten interest in the story and boost their newspaper's ciruclation.

Whether the letters were real or not, Jack the Ripper is still one of the most infamous killers the world has ever seen.

Many books and movies have been released telling his story, most notably 2001's From Hell, which starred Johnny Depp.

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