BLOODTHIRSTY Henry VIII has been crowned the British historical figure most likely to have been a psychopath by researchers.

Oscar Wilde came a close second whilst Lord Byron was third, according to a study by research psychologist Professor Kevin Dutton, an honorary affiliated member of the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Sciences, Magdalen College, University of Oxford.

Least likely to have been a psychopath was Edinburgh University educated Charles Darwin, author of Origin of the Species, the research suggested.

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Henry VIII topped the list of figures from through the centuries who were assessed with a psychometrically validated personality questionnaire.

Other historical characters included were Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens, Freddie Mercury, William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill.

Subjects were rated on eight constituent psychopath traits: Machiavellian self-interest, persuasiveness, physical fearlessness, emotional detachment, rebelliousness, feelings of alienation, carefree spontaneity and coolness under pressure.

Mr Dutton said: "We know that psychopathic attributes can predispose to success in various occupations, so I thought it would be interesting to see where great figures from throughout British history fit on the spectrum."