Thursday, September 22, 2011

“The Poisonous Flirt”: Marie Jeanbracq, French Serial Killer - 1949


FULL TEXT: Appropriately, France has called its latest murder sensation “The Poisonous Flirt” case. Central figure is an attractive widow, Marie Jeanbracq, 59, a brunette from the Pyrenees region.

Police are holding her under suspicion of having murdered two husbands, her six-year-old daughter, an old man, and the wife of a wealthy man with whom she hoped to form a liasion. She is also alleged to have killed three dogs.

She shares the spotlight with a retired Army officer, M. Domergue, allegedly her lover for 15 years, and who, police claim, shared in the proceeds of her murders.

Police also allege Domergue helped Jeanbracq make poisons by distilling mushroom juices.

Police have pieced together the story that Marie Jeanbracq was married at 28 to a drunkard, who died a few years later. His death was followed by the death of their six-year-old daughter.

Soon after the daughter’s death, Marie married Jeanbracq. He soon died, aged 42.

The widow took a job as housekeeper for a wealthy couple named Gey. Madame Gey, an invalid, died.

Jeanbraq was furious when Gey dismissed her, went to stay with a nephew, M. Birade, at Lescar, near Pau, scene of famous nineteenth century poison murders.

M. Gey got an anonymous letter warning him his nephew intended to poison him. The letter was typewritten, but on the envelope one word had been added by hand.

Six months ago Jeanbracq’s landlord, M. Boyrous, died, aged 80. Marie was a beneficiary under the will.

Police became suspicious when Boyous’ three dogs were poisoned, arrested Heanbracq for questioning.

When a handwriting expert claimed it was Jeanbracq’s handwriting on the envelope sent to M. Grey, Marie broke down, made a statement to the police that she had poisoned the dogs with breadballs soaked in digitaline.

[Digitaline is one of the preparations of digitalis, a drug used in the treatment of heart diseases. A fairly big overdose of digitaline could be fatal.]

In the statement Marie said she had administered 10 drops of digitaline in a glass of water to Madame Gey when Gey said she preferred death to continued suffering.

Police say greed was the motive for the alleged murders. They established that the day Madame Gey was buried Jeanbracq broke into M. Gey’s flat, beat his niece, who tried to stop her robbing the place.

[“Five murders by Marie?” The Mail (Adelaide, Australia), Jun. 25, 1949, p. 25]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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