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Saeed Hanaei: The Folk-Hero ‘Spider Killer’Killed 19 Women in the Name of Cleaning Neighbourhood

Saeed Hanaei: The Folk-Hero ‘Spider Killer’Killed 19 Women in the Name of Cleaning Neighbourhood

Saeed Hanaei has been deemed as one of the most dangerous and worst serial killers in the history of Iran. He confessed to killing 16 women by strangling them to protect his religion. These women worked as prostitutes and Hanaei believed them to have polluted his neighborhood and made his wife look like another street worker.

Although he was suspected of murdering 19 women, he confessed to only 16 of them. He was sentenced to death by hanging and the sentencing was carried out on the dawn of April 8 in 2002 at Mashhad Prison.

He had a group of supporters who believed that his actions were ethical and that the women deserved what they got for their shameful profession. On the day Hanaei was arrested, his supporters had gathered near his house. He was named ‘Spider Killer’ for his method for these murders.

About Saeed Hanaei's Childhood

Hanaei was born in Iran in the year 1962. By profession, he was a construction worker who was married and had three children.

He had a tumultuous relationship with his mother, who abused him violently. He recounted that she frequently scratched him with her fingernails, causing him to bleed, and attempted to bite off pieces of his flesh.

When the slayings had begun, the residents believed it to be the work of a religious extremist group given that the city of Mashhad was a holy city giving homage to a major Shiite Muslim shrine.

Saeed Hanaei's Victim

His first killing resulted from a misconception by the people that his wife was a prostitute. He took it as his moral and religious obligation to deal with the situation in the neighborhood and clean it of any toxicity in the name of god. During his trial, he even said that “they were as worthless as cockroaches to me.

Toward the end, I couldn’t sleep at night if I had not killed one of them that day, as though I had become addicted to killing them.” All his victims fell into the age group of 20-25 and in addition to their profession, they were also drug abusers.

He used to choose his victims while traveling in a car or riding his motorbike. After identification, he would take them to his residence when his wife and kids were away. He would then strangle them using their headscarves and put their bodies in a head-to-toe bag before dumping them on the street. To reduce suspicion, he stayed until police arrived at the site and helped them load the corpse into the ambulance.

Saeed Hanaei's Arrest and Conviction

Saeed Hanaei was arrested after a possible victim suspected him and ran for her life after punching him in the stomach. She reported the incident a few days later to the police once she overcame the fear of what the police would do to her.

This led to his arrest which was followed by campaigning in his support by religious hard-liners. They defended him on the grounds that he did the country a favor by cleaning it of corruption. It was also reported that the residents of Mashhad were, in fact, happy about the murders and showed no empathy for the victims.

A lawyer had also shown up to defend him in court. The campaigning stopped only after it was discovered that out of the 16 women he killed, he had sexual intercourse with 13 of them before strangling them.

In addition, to being found guilty of killing, he was also found guilty of theft and forging papers to prove himself to be a member of the morality police. He confessed that he misused these papers to harass those participating in deviant acts like women who weren’t covered properly or unmarried couples who took residence together. He also said he had a hit list with 80 more people.

Finally, he was hung in the inner courtyard of the Mashhad prison. Due to the restriction of Islamic Law, his family or relatives were exempted from being present during his sentencing. However, later the reports and photographers were permitted to see his body.

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