Thought to be untreatable, it affects an estimated one per cent of the population, appears to be more common in men than women and involves a moral blindness, an emotional emptiness, an inability to feel empathy, guilt or remorse.
However, despite a recent spate of cases involving charming and manipulative husbands like Webster who have killed their partners (see overleaf), most psychopaths are not murderers or even criminals.
He went to the store where we had our wedding list and drew up a spreadsheet. One information site, lovefraud.com, was started by the former wife of a psychopath, and includes an excellent ‘how to spot’ section.
Another is Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation, started by David Kosson, psychology professor and president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy.
‘Until they encounter it, many people don’t know much about psychopathy,’ he says.
‘We’d planned to have children, but always seemed to be waiting for the “right time”. I was beside myself and he shouted, “Don’t you understand? ”’ They are now going through a divorce, but Dan has shown no regret or humility.
I felt as though time was running out.’ Dan clearly had other priorities – Sophie’s disappearing income. ‘He’s determined to get what he says is an “equal share” of the assets,’ says Sophie.