Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rose Theyre, French Serial Killer - 1848

NOTE: Rose Theyre’s crimes were committed in the same region as another serial killer nurse, Antoinette Sierri (or “Scierri”). Both were prosecuted in the came court in Nimes.


FULL TEXT: Rose Theyre, a native of Saint Victor (Ardeche), was a few days ago brought to trial before the Court of Assizes of Nimes, on the charge of having been guilty of not fewer than seven murders, or attempts to murder, by means of poison. The second Brinvilliers is thirty-seven years old, but, notwithstanding she has greatly suffered of late, does not appear more than thirty. Her manners are becoming, her dress decent, her face not unprepossessing, and her voice sweet. For thirty days before her trial she had taken no nourishment, and she was so feeble that she had to be led into court. In 1831, she went to reside at Tournon, where she married Joseph Theyre, by whom she had a boy and a girl. The latter died at the age of eighteen months.

Her marriage was not a happy one, the prisoner having taken a great aversion to her husband, though he gave her no real cause of complaint. On the 20th of March, 1840, he was suddenly seized with violent sickness, and the next day died in the midst of cruel sufferings. On being attacked, he stated to one of his friends that his wife had given him something to drink which burned his entrails.

After the death of her husband, she attended on sick persons, and, by her attention and apparent affection, induced them to make wills in her favour. They then died suddenly, or were attacked in the same way as her husband had been. Thus, on the 28th of November, 1840, her sister Marianne died in her house; on the 24th of August, 1842, a female, named Robert, on whom she attended, died suddenly; an old maiden lady, named Prat, who went to live with her in 1844, died a few weeks after, each leaving her some property. All three, it is supposed, died of poison; but it was only the two former who were affected, with violent pains in the bowel, the latter being plunged into stupor on partaking of drinks prepared by the prisoner.

In 1845, a boy, named Gamondes, an apprentice at Tournon, was lent to live with her. Though her son is a fine boy, and possessed most excellent qualities, the prisoner conceived an extraordinary affection for Gamondes; the consequence of which was, that she took a dislike to her own child, and this dislike was increased by his complaining of her conduct. After stopping some time with her, the boy Gamondes was sent home to parents. About a fortnight after this the prisoner’s son Joseph fell suddenly ill. He vomited violently, his lips became covered with a greenish foam, and he writhed about in his bed, owing to dreadful suffering in his bowels. After four or five days of  this agony he died.

In March, 1846, the prisoner went to live in a family named Boutaud, and succeeded in worming herself into the favour of the chief of it, an old man, she then began quarrelling with a servant named Maria, and it was proved made repeated attempts to poison her, by putting poison in her soup and her drink. She also attempted to poison Mme. Boutaud, and succeeded in bringing her to the brink of the grave. It having been observed that Mme. Boutaud and the servant Maria were always ill after taking anything prepared by the prisoner, whilst similar things prepared by other persons did them good, a medical man analysed what Mme. Boutaud and Maria had thrown up after taking one of the prisoner’s concoctions, and a considerable quantity of arsenic was then discovered. On this, it was determined to have an examination made of the remains of the person who have died suddenly whilst in communication with the prisoner.

The bodies of her husband and her son were found to contain large quantities of arsenic, especially the latter. The body of Prat contained none; and the place of burial of Marianne and Robert could not be ascertained. The guilt of the prisoner was, in addition to these circumstances, established by the fact that she had frequently procured poison. The jury declared her guilty, and the court condemned her to death. To show the extraordinary insensibility of this horrible woman, it may be mentioned that a few hours after her son died, she was found by a neighbour, who had called on her to offer consolation, fast asleep near the body!

[“Horrible Series of Murders By Poison,” Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (England), Jan. 2, 1848, p. 12]


Son, 18-months, died
Joseph Theyre, husband, died Mar. 21, 1840
Joseph, son, died 1845
Maria, servant of Boutaud, survived
Mme. Boutaud, survived
Miss Prat, died while in presence of Rose Theyre,. No arsenic found in her remains


For more cases, see Sicko Nurses


More cases: Female Serial Killers Executed


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