TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Portrait of the killer

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Thanks to a legal battle between the Home Office and Central Television over an interview with mass-murderer Dennis Nilsen, Murder in Mind, tonight's VIEWPOINT 93 (10.40pm ITV), cropped up as frequently in the news pages as in the television pages last week. Mike Morley's gruesomely gripping film examines psychological profiling, one method by which police attempt to track down serial criminals. Its use is becoming more and more widespread - and not just in such movies as Silence of the Lambs. (Hampshire police are calling on experts at Leicester University in their hunt for the so-called 'horse ripper'.) The documentary features footage of some of the world's most grisly murderers, captured through psychological profiling. American Arthur Shawcross was caught after returning to the scene of one of his killings to masturbate. Kansas businessman Bob Berdella matter-of-factly recalls torturing men for days on end until they became his 'willing sex toys'. And, the most prolific serial killer of all, Andrei Chikatilo, who killed 53 people in Russia, is shown re- enacting some of his more horrible crimes with a dummy and a replica knife. The film ends on an even more disturbing note. As EC border controls relax, will such serial killers, roaming across Europe, become harder to catch? (Photograph omitted)