Friday, September 23, 2011

Husband-Killing Syndicate Maven: Madame Popova - 1909

Note: The first name “Alexe” seems not to have appeared in any original period sours. It seems to bave first appeared in Eric W. Hickey, Serial Murderers and Their Victims. Fresno, CA: California State University Press, 1997.


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): St. Petersburg, March 27. – A woman named Popova has been arrested at Samara on a charge of murder and the atrocities say they have unearthed a series of crimes unequaled in the the history of the world. It is declared that the prisoner has killed at least 300 men.

The crimes cover a period of about 30 years. The motive in each case was mercenary and the murder was done for hire.the Popova woman made a specialty of killing husbands for wives who wished to be rid of their spouses. For a small fee she would put any undesirable man out of the way and would do it in such a manner that the wife would not be suspected.

Of course, the wives who hired the murderess to make them widows are equally guilty. Many of these women have died and others have gone to America and other countries and can’t be found. But the authorities expect to arrest numerous clients of Mme. Popova and put them on trial for their lives.

The woman has made a full confession. She says her own unhappy married life led her to conceive the idea of relieving other unfortunate wives of cruel husbands and she set out on her career of crime. She offered her services to any unfortunate wife, agreeing to kill the husband by poison and charging but a small fee.

[“Woman Murdered 300. – Crimes Extended Over Period of 30 Years Without Exciting Suspicion,” The Coffeyville Daily Journal (Ka.), Mar. 25, 1909, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): St. Petersburg, Russia. – Arrested after a full confession has been made by one of her conscience stricken employers, a woman who is believed to have killed more than three hundred men within the last thirty years is in prison at Samara. The only name given by the police of the wholesale murderess is Popova.

All the murdered men were husbands who wanted to get rid of them. The woman charged a nominal sum prior to the murder and the remainder after the victim was killed. She would make the acquaintance of the man she was to kill and then manage to put poison in his food or drink.

After one woman whose husband had been murdered became stricken by her guilty conscience she sent for the police, made a full confession, and a squad of policemen were at once sent to the home of the Popova woman. In some way the charge against the prisoner became known, and before the police started from her home for the prison they were surrounded by a mob of several hundred persons.

Infuriated at the atrociousness of the woman’s deeds, the mob demanded that the prisoner be turned over to them and that they might burn her at the stake.

With drawn revolvers the police held the mob at bay until soldiers, who had been sent for, arrived and drove the child back. Then the woman was taken to the jail.

After she had been taken to the prison the woman made no effort to conceal the fact that she had been a wholesale murderess. She declared that she was justified in her work, for the only persons she killed were men who had abused their wives and that her murdering them had saved the women further misery.

[“Woman Kills 300 At Wives’ Behest - Charged Small Fee for Administering Poison to Undesirable Russian Husbands. - Justifies Her Killings - Declares She Never Killed a Woman - Mob Seeks to Burn Her at the Stake, but Is Prevented. - Woman, Who Has Confessed, in Jail.” The Stanstead Journal (Rock Island, Quebec, Canada), Jun. 24, 1909, p. 4]



For more than two dozen similar cases, dating from 1658 to 2011, see the summary list with links see: The Husband-Killing Syndicates


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