Charles Manson is one of the most notorious criminals in American history.

As leader of his The Family cult, he was instrumental in the murders of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.

Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with husband Roman Polanski’s baby when she was stabbed and strangled to death.

And while Manson had a long criminal record of petty theft he believed he’d found his calling during one of his stints in jail.

The drifter learned to play the guitar and believed he could be a rock star folk singer.

Charles Manson had hoped he would be come a superstar folk singer
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)
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But when his dreams were dashed, Manson had just one thing on his mind – revenge.

Born in Ohio in 1934 to a single, teenage mum who went on regular drinking binges who was jailed when he was just seven for robbery, Manson spent much of his childhood living with relatives.

He started stealing and playing truant when he was just nine and stole a gun when he was just 13.

As a teenager he refused to live with his mum and instead supported himself by stealing from shops at night.

He was finally caught and sent to juvenile detention centre but soon escaped and joined his uncle as a professional robber.

Terry Melcher met Charles Manson several times but wouldn’t sign him to his label
(Image: Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
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Again, he was found out and sent to a strict reform school, which is where he developed a survival technique of screaming and grimacing and making people believe he was insane.

Manson again escaped but was once again captured and sent to another reform school.

Eventually, Manson was moved to a minimum security prison and was due for release in 1952 when he was caught raping a boy at knifepoint.

He was released in 1952 and married hospital waitress Rosalie Jean Willis.

But he refused to change his ways and was jailed in 1956 for taking a care across State lines.

Charles Manson was 83 when he died in prison
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His son, Charles Manson Jr, was born while he was behind bars and while he was in jail Rosalie left him for another man.

A second stint in jail followed and in 1961, after he was transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Washington that he had guitar lessons.

Manson was released in 1967 and had spent more than half of his 32 years behind bars – but now he had a purpose.

Moving to California, he started to gether his cult around him, made up mostly of young women.

And Manson was determined to make it in the music business.

Manson’s followers were behind the murder of actress Sharon Tate
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Living in California and with his army of women, Manson befriended Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.

It has been claimed that Wilson picked up a few of Manson’s girls while they were out hitchhiking and a few days later Manson turned up at his home to share his drugs and women with him.

It seemed as if Manson’s dreams of becoming a star could finally be coming true after it was alleged Dennis and his brother, Brian, cut almost an album’s worth of material with Manson.

And Dennis was also keen to help him on his way to superstardom.

He arranged several meetings with Terry Melcher, who had already produced albums for The Byrds, and was Doris Day’s son.

Charles Manson befriended Beach Boys legend Dennis Wilson

Melcher was Doris Day’s son and she convinced him to move after Manson had been to the house he was living in
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Manson was invited to audition twice for the producer but both times failed to impress him.

Melcher told him he wouldn’t be signing him – and the cult leader’s hopes were dashed.

Fellow Beach Boy Mike Love wrote in his autobiography, Good Vibrations: My Life As A Beach Boy: “Manson wouldn’t stand for it.

“Consumed by rage and seeking revenge against a corrupt society, he convinced his followers that the apocalypse was coming in a bloody race war, at the end of which he and his disciples would take over.”

Chillingly, Melcher had been living in a home on Cielo Drive, Los Angeles.

Charles Manson had spent much of his early years in prison
(Image: REUTERS)
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But Love, in his autobiography, says he moved out of the home shortly after he was dropped out after a night out with Manson and Wilson.

He added: “The move was no accident. Terry, Doris’ only child, was extremely close to his mom.

“He had told her about Manson – about some of his scary antics, his brandishing of knives, his zombie followers – and that Manson had been to the house and she insisted he move out.”

Not long afterwards, Sharon Tate rented the home.

On August 9, 1969, she was butchered, along with four of her and her husband’s friends at the house by Manson’s followers.

Sharon Tate was married to film director Roman Polanski when she was murdered
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Melcher, who passed away seven years ago, always thought he was the intended victim of Manson’s murderous rage that night.

Once the killers had butchered their victims, they used the bloody towel that had bound Wojciech’s hands to write the word ‘pig’ on the front door of Sharon’s home in blood.

Just a day after the Tate murder, The Family struck again.

Supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, were killed at their home in LA.

Officers did not link the two crime scenes.

Manson was arrested for the murders in 1969
(Image: Los Angeles Times)
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Then, in December 1969, members of the Manson Family were arrested for a series of car thefts and while in custody told fellow prisoners of the other crimes they had been involved in – including the murders.

The rest of the gang were arrested a few days later and their trial began on June 15, 1970.

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Guilty verdicts were returned on 27 separate counts and all four were sentenced to death.

Atkins died of a brain tumour in 2008, having had her application for parole refused 18 times.

Charles Manson ided of a heart attack on November 19, 2017. He was 83.