Thursday, September 22, 2011

Madame Balouzat, French Serial Killer - 1866

Note: Charlotte Winsor was convicted of serial child-murder in Exeter, England in 1865.
FULL TEXT: This Court of Assizes of the Nievre has just tried a laborer’s widow named Balouzat, aged fifty-seven, residing at Limanton, charged with having poisoned her husband and two other persons. The evidence showed that the prisoner was married to Balouzat about thirty years since, and had by him six children, of whom only one, now the wife of a man name Mazou, survives. Three of the others died in their infancy, under very suspicious circumstances, having all expired in convulsions. Notwithstanding her position as a wife and mother, the prisoner led a most scandalous life, and frequent quarrels between her and her husband were the consequence. In March 1857 the latter died suddenly, and was buried without any inquiry having been made as to the cause of his death. Sometime after the prisoner began to cohabit with an infirm weak-minded man, named Sauvenat, who had some little  property. In 1863 she induced him to make a will leaving her all, he possessed; and on the 22nd September of that, year he died, after a very short illness.

The prisoner was again suspected by her neighbors, but the village rumors did not come to the knowledge of the judicial authorities. In 1884, her married daughter, who lived in the same house, gave birth to a child, which died suddenly when about 4 month old, after having  been fed by its grandmother. This death revived all the suspicions which had been entertained in the village that the prisoner, was an habitual poisoner; but eight months elapsed before the circumstances reached the ears of the police authorities.

The woman was then arrested, the bodies of her husband, Sauvenat, and the child were exhumed, and all found to contain arsenic. She was accordingly committed for trial. In Court, the prisoner not only protested that she was innocent, but even attributed the death of the child to poison administered by its own father. The evidence, however, having satisfied the jury that she was the real criminal, they brought in a verdict of guilty, with extenuating circumstances, and the Court sentenced her to hard labor for life.— Galignani.

[“A French Charlotte Winsor.” The Colonist (Nelson, New Zealand), Aug. 28, 1866, p. 4]

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