Boston Strangler used cats and dogs as target practice before killing 13 women

The Boston Strangler was the name given to a twisted mad-man who choked the life out of 13 women in the 1960s – but humans weren’t his only victims.

Albert DeSalvo, who was sentenced to life in prison on January 18, 1967, sexually assaulted and then strangled 13 women with items of their own clothing.

But a little known fact about the serial killer is that he practised his brutality on cats and dogs first.

As a boy, Albert used a bow and arrow to shoot the pets through slats in the crates, leaving none alive.

His other methods included placing a dog and cat in a crate with a partition between them and starving them for days.

Once he deemed them hungry enough, he removed the partition to watch one kill the other.

The killer’s first human victim was on a 55-year-old woman in her apartment in 1962 before he went on to brutally murder several other women aged between 19 and 85.

His sickening acts spread fear and panic across the city of Boston as the local police chief linked the serial killings to a so-called 'mother killer' as authorities channelled the resources to catch him.

DeSalvo was finally arrested on October 27, 1964, in connection with an unrelated rape.

At the time he wasn’t considered a suspect in the ‘Strangler’ case but then, after his conviction for that original crime, he gave a shocking confession under hypnosis.

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He is said to have identified himself as the Boston Strangler whilst giving details on each of the murders.

Police had their doubts about his claims as there was no physical evidence to support them and they tried him for a number of other crimes, including theft and sexual assault.

During his time at Bridgewater, a state mental hospital, he is said to have consciously confessed to the murders after he formed a friendship with another inmate, an intelligent but highly dangerous killer called George Nassar.

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The pair had allegedly made a deal to split reward money that would go to anyone who supplied information to the identity of the Strangler to make sure his family was financially secure as he spent the rest of his life behind bars.

His assigned attorney F Lee Bailey interviewed him to get details on the notorious killer and was stunned by the incredible details of the murders as he even recalled what furniture looked like in the apartments of his victims.

DNA evidence from seminal fluid was later found to match fluids found at the scene of the murder of 19-year-old Mary Sullivan in 2013 – 40 years after the killer had died in 1973.

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