With her coldly brutal methods, mischievous assassin Villanelle captured the imagination of millions of viewers in the hit drama series Killing Eve.
But Jodie Comer's character is unlikely to have a real-life counterpart because female psychopaths do not really exist, says a psychologist who helped create the role.
Dr Mark Freestone, a forensic mental health expert who has worked extensively with some of the world's most dangerous minds, said he initially thought the series was going to be a 'really bad show' because the character was so unlikely.
But Jodie Comer's (pictured) character Villanelle is unlikely to have a real-life counterpart as female psychopaths do not really exist, says Dr Mark Freestone, who helped create the role
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, he said: 'What they said was a female psychopathic assassin… and there isn't really such a thing that we know of.
'There's several reasons for this. First of all because women are less likely to be psychopaths than men.
The forensic mental health expert, who has worked with some of most dangerous minds, said he initially thought it was going to be a 'bad show' because Villanelle (pictured) was so unlikely
'Assassins do exist… but they are all male and they are all terrifically misogynistic.
'I can't see how they would ever accept a female assassin in their ranks… because they have such old ideas about women and their ability to commit violence.'
But Dr Freestone said Luke Jennings – author of the books the show was based on – 'nailed the cold, calculating, almost perverse way the killer manipulates situations to make people feel or look bad so she can assert her authority'.