This study explores the role and function of homicidal and sexual violence in cases of stranger sexual homicide. The aim was to determine whether the instrumental/expressive hypothesis of physical violence and the overt/covert hypothesis of sexual violence applies to this crime. The method involved an analysis of the crime scene actions of 81 British stranger sexual killers using multidimensional scaling. Results suggest the instrumental/expressive hypothesis of physical violence and the overt/covert hypothesis of sexual violence does apply to stranger sexual homicide but they manifest as instrumental/overt and expressive/covert superordinate themes comprising four sub-themes reflecting rape, impersonal sexual assault, overkill and control. Although these superordinate themes can explain some stranger sexual homicides, a key hypothesis of this study is that the four sub-themes can also combine into different superordinate themes, knowledge of which can aid our understanding of this serious and deviant form of interpersonal violence.