Monstrous end to tragic story

Nick Broomfield never tells us whether, had he not been subpoenaed to testify at her final appeal hearing, he would have returned to the subject of Aileen Wuornos. His last film had ended with the resignation of several senior police officers because they were found to have been making big Hollywood deals. As had, let’s face it, everyone involved with the world’s first female serial killer.

Whether it was her lawyer demanding money for his co-operation, her born-again Christian adoptive mother taking a cut or her ex-girlfriend Tyria Moore schlepping her exclusive to the film companies, everyone was in on The Selling of a Serial Killer.

Indeed, it’s the presumably ironic name of Broomfield’s 1992 documentary, which went on to be sold into cinemas and video stores around the globe. It is also, according to the new trial witnesses who watched her grow up in Troy, Michigan, not a new experience for Wuornos - her elder brother, Keith, routinely traded her nine-year-old body for friendship, money and cigarettes.

Immediately after his court appearance (to explain that her former lawyer, an old hippy called Dr Legal, had been stoned when he advised his client), Broomfield is summoned to film a statement from Wuornos. He’s hoping that she will explain why she sabotaged the hearing by telling the judge that witnesses to her abused childhood had barely known her family, but instead she simply leans forward and calmly retracts all of her previous testimony. Far from having endured a number of violent rapes, she says (blowing Monster right out of the water) she murdered her seven victims in cold blood.

"I pretty much had them selected that they were gonna die, there was no self-defence."

She smiles her peculiar crooked-toothed grimace and looks straight down the lens, "Nick, this is the last time I’m gonna say it. You have to kill Aileen Wuornos cos she’s gonna kill again."

Broomfield, having made his money off Wuornos’s status as a tragic victim for the last few years, is understandably reluctant to accept her explanation, but it’s all Wuornos has to say on the matter.

When filmmaker and felon meet for the last time, Governor Jeb Bush has signed her death warrant. Despite her wide-eyed talk of joining the mothership and being beamed up like she’s in Star Trek, Wuornos has passed the 15-minute psychiatric evaluation which allows the state of Florida to kill her. Having achieved her aim of making it to the death chamber, she makes her final statement through Broomfield’s lens.

"You sabotaged my ass, society, and the cops, and the system," she snarls. "A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit." Broomfield’s last words to Aileen Wuornos are a heartfelt "I’m sorry". So should we all be.

Aileen: Life And Death of a Serial Killer, Channel 4, Tuesday, 10pm