A muti murder is the killing of a person in order to use their body parts for muti – African traditional medicine. The parts will often be taken from the victim shortly before death. Genitals are often taken for fertility spells. Internal organs are often taken, as are breasts, hands and feet.
African traditional medicine is not always magical in its methods, but it’s safe to assume that any method, that for instance, requires you to cut off the genitalia of a fertile man, the hands of a prosperous business rival, or remove a man's liver while his dying screams give the medicine its potency is an attempt at magic of the blackest kind.
Often the sangoma will tell the client what parts are necessary for the spell, but will leave the deed up the to the client. Money often changes hands, and a complete stranger is seldom targeted. A family member or acquaintance is preferred.
Estimates of the number of muti murders range from one per month to one per day in South Africa alone.
The Torso in the Thames case is thought to be the first muti murder in England.