Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Austrian Strangler: Serial Killer Leopoldine Kasparek - 1917


Because studies of female criminality attract only a tiny faction of the funding of funds devoted to the study of crime there is a huge number of historical cases of female serial killers that are yet to be discovered. Here is another case selected from 200 still unknown cases uncovered by The Unknown History of MISANDRY.

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Vienna — One of the most sensational murder trials in the history of the Austrian capital occupied the criminal court of the Fifth District four days last week and ended with the conviction of the defendant, Mrs. Leopoldine Kasparek, who will have to die on the gallows if Emperor Charles does not save her by an act of grace.

Altho [sic] only 23 years old, the convicted woman to one of the most desperate and heartless criminals in the annals of the police. She comes from a respectable family and is the wife of a soldier who has been fighting on the Russian front since the first months of the war After her husband was called to the colors she started on her criminal career by committing numerous thefts, robberies and extortions. In 1915 and 1916 she was arrested repeatedly, but always escaped with short terms of imprisonment, because she pleaded that she had been driven to her crimes by want.

Since she left the workhouse the last time the woman attempted at least 14 murders and robberies, and in four or five cases she was successful. All of her victims were wealthy elderly women whose confidence she won in some way. Her method was simple enough. After gaining admittance to the apartments of the old ladies she strangled them into insensibility and then ransacked the houses. Ten of her victims recovered, but three were found dead and one died in a hospital.

In every case the murderess managed to escape unnoticed and her crimes remained mysteries for many months, until she was finally caught in the act when she strangled Mrs. Marie Wurish, a 70-year-old widow, and applied the torch to the house of the old woman to cover up the murder.

After her arrest the murderess made a daring attempt to escape from prison. To get herself transferred from the jail to a hospital, she wallowed a large darning needle, which had to be removed from her body by an operation. As soon as she had strength enough she attached one of her nurses, an elderly Sister of Mercy, whose garb she donned after strangling her almost to death. She succeeded in getting out of the hospital, but was recaptured within half an hour.

At her trial the murderess manifested a cynicism almost unbelievable in a woman. She did not show the slightest trace of remorse, bragged of her deeds and cursed the judges and the jurors. After death sentence had been pronounced upon her it took the combined efforts of six policemen to drag her put of the courtroom, and on the way back to her prison cell she fought like a tigress.

[“Sensational  Murder Trial Held In Vienna - Wife of Soldier on German Front Convicted of the Crime - One of Most Hardened Criminals In Country, Altho Only 23 Years Old.” Syndicated, Lima Sunday News (Oh.), Aug. 12, 1917, p. 13(?)]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): To-day’s German crime story, though it is related by the Munich post, comes from Vienna. It concerns the doings of a “pleasant-spoken and rather good-looking young woman,” Frau Leopoldine Kasparek, who had a hobby for strangling people: –

Leopoldine Kasparek, aged twenty-three, was convicted before the Vienna Penal Court on the charges of murdering her husband and two other persons, as well as on those of incendiarism, robbery, fraud, theft, and libel.

“Kasparek had for some time made it a practice to gain entrance to houses inhabited by women living alone, whom she proceeded to strangle, subsequently impropriating their money.

One of her victims, a woman named Marie Wurisch, who was half-blind, was not- only half-strangled, but was burned to death by Kasparek, who saturated her clothing with paraffin and set fire to it, the house m which the woman dwelt being burned to the ground.

Kasparek, who pleaded guilty, declared that she needed money, and saw no way of making it in these hard times except by procuring it from persona who only spent it on luxuries. She further confessed that she had also murdered her husband, a waiter, because he was too niggardly in his allowances.

She admitted, too, that she had forged the signature of the chief of police to a bill of acceptance on which she had obtained the sum of £35, and that she had libelled and blackmailed Supeintendent Klein, of the Criminal Investigation Department, against whom she had levelled accusations of assault. Sentence was postponed in order that the girl’s mental condition might be investigated.

[“Through German Spectacles  - Young Woman With A Hobby For Murder. - A Nice Young Thing.” The Oamaru Mail (New Zealand), Jul. 24, 1917, p. 6]

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For similar cases, see: Female Serial Killer Bandits

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