Serial Killer And Cult Leader Charles Manson Dead At 83

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Serial killer Charles Manson, the cult leader responsible for seven murders – including that of Roman Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate – has died at the age of 83. 

Admitted to Bakersfield Hospital, California, last week, Manson has now died of natural causes. A symbol of the dark side of 60s sub-culture, Manson was apparently hospitalized at the start of the year but was considered too weak to undergo necessary surgery. 

(Photo: TMZ)

Founder of the 'Manson Family' cult, pseudo-hippie Manson orchestrated a series of gruesome murders in the summer of 1969, inciting his 'disciples' to butcher members of LA's elite in anticipation of a future race war. 

Convincing his young followers that he was the leader of a new social order, Manson aimed to heighten racial tensions by encouraging a series of barbarous acts.

On August 9, 1969, one of Manson's followers broke into Sharon Tate's home and stabbed her to death scrawling the word 'PIG' on the front door in the actor's blood. Tate was 26 at the time and eight months' pregnant with Polanski's child. Four of the couple's friends were present and were also stabbed to death. 

Found guilty of all the murders, despite never being present at the scene, Manson was sentenced to death on March 29, 1971 during one of the most publicised cases in US history.

One year on and the Supreme Court struck down all capital punishment, including cases taking place before 1972, meaning Manson was re-sentenced into life in prison. 

In 1974, prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi published Helter Skelter, a true crime book about the Charles Manson trial based on the Beatles-inspired name he had given his sinister vision.  In 2014, while Manson's name emerged in the news again after it was reported that a young 'fan' named Afton Elaine Burton was engaged to be married to the murderer. 

The wedding was called off when it was revealed that Burton – who now goes by 'Star' – only wanted to go through with the marriage to put Manson's dead body on display as a money-making scheme