Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maria Swanenburg (Van der Linden), Dutch Serial Killer - 1883


Maria Catherina Swanenburg (in some sources her name is given as “Van der Linden)  (1839 - 1915) was a Dutch serial murderer. She was affectionately given the nickname of “Goeie Mie” ( Dutch for “Good Me”), which she got for taking care of children and ill people in the poor neighborhood of Leiden in which she lived. After “Goeie Mie” was caught poisoning a family by the name of Groothuizen the murderess was arrested December 15, 1883. The investigation of her crimes looked into more than 90 suspicious deaths and lasted more than eighteen years. Maria’s first victims were her own parents whom she murdered in 1883. The majority of her poisoning victims survived. Twenty-seven died; forty-five survived. But many of them were crippled for life. For decades Goeie Mie’s poisoning victims could be seen navigating about Leiden on crutches.

Her motivation is usually given as money. Swanenburg, like scores of other female serial killers caught in nations across the globe, insured her victims before murdering them with poison. Yet Swanenburg never spent the blood money she gained from the deaths. She was caught when trying to poison the family in December 1883.

On April 25, 1885. A remorseless Maria Swanenburg was found guilty and sentenced by the judge to prison, where she died in 1915.

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EXCERPT: She [Van der Linden, or, Swanenberg] went the length of marking down her victims beforehand. “It will be your turn in a month,” she openly told one man, who had been bemoaning the sudden death of a relative. The month passed, and this man was carried to his grave.

As I have said, an attempt was made to prove homicidal mania by the defence. A woman who killed on the most trifling excuse, or on none at all, to gain a mere pittance, or to settle a dispute, who threw arsenic to her own fowls, who laughed aloud at the torments of her victims on her sick beds, this woman could not be responsible for her acts. Yet the court would not accept this plea. Van der Linden [Swanenburg] was found guilty, and sentenced to perpetual seclusion. [pp. 311-2; Arthur Griffiths, Mysteries of Police and Crime: A General Survey of Wrongdoing and Its Pursuit, Volume 2, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, N. Y. 1899]

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For more cases, see Sicko Nurses

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