Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marguerite Léris Grieumard, French Serial Killer - 1875


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): A woman about sixty years of age, Marguerite Grieumard, has been convicted, at the Tarnet-Garonne Assizes, of poisoning her husband, daughter, grandson and the daughter’s father-in-law. She had always been of a quarrelsome and violent disposition, and tormented her husband, and abused her daughter when a child, more than once urging her husband to kill her. In September, 1974, Grieumard resolved to leave her and live with his daughter and son-in-law, a purpose which he persisted in, notwithstanding his wife’s threats and persuasions. In the following December, before he had carried out his plan, the son-in-law and grandson went over to St. Vincent to help Grieumard on his farm. Marguerite Grieumard cooked for them, and they all complained of severe pains. On a subsequent visit, in May, the same symptoms were repeated; and in June a few days after Marguerite Grieumard had left her daughter’s house, the whole household, five in number, were attacked with violent vomiting. One of the grandsons first died, then Jean Davik, the son-in-law’s father, and afterwards Jean Grieumard and his daughter. An autopsy showed that they were poisoned by phosphorus. The crime was traced home to the prisoner, and she was convicted and sentenced to death. Her apparent motive was to inherit the property of her victims.

[“A Wholesale Poisoner.” The Wyandott Herald (Ks.), Jan. 27, 1876, p. 1]

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(Article 2 of 2): R. St. E, synopsis based on a French text – Marguerite Léris Grieumard, of Saint-Vincent, France, poisoned five family members, killing four of them in quick succession. She began poisoning her victims, using arsenic and phosphorous scraped from matches, in the Autumn of 1874. She was tried at Montauban assises court and sentenced to death on December 19, 1875. Sentence was commuted on January 29, 1876.

Marguerite Léris had a vile disposition and fought constantly with her neighbors. She verbally and physically violent towards her husband and other family members. She had had brutalized her daughter, Marguerite, daily since childhood, once so wounding the child so badly that she was permanently scarred. On one occasion she once pulled out hair and part of the skin of the child’s scalp. She hated her daughter so much that she once asked her husband to take the girl out to the woods and leave her to die.

She was likewise violent towards her grandson, Jean-David, who, like little Marguerite, was left scarred by her attacks.

The husband was meek and of sweet demeanor and thus tried to avoid trouble at home yet would tearfully confide his misery to his neighbors. Judging the wife’s character to be that of a murderess a neighbor once said to the husband: “I am certain that one day she will poison you.”

In September 1874 the husband decided to sell his property and to near his daughter and son-in-law. The wife did not agree with the decision  threatened to set fire to the house. She had been carrying on an extramarital affair with a married neighbor.

Shortly after the disagreement over relocating, her in-laws, living on their farm in Montauban, came to the Greiumard farm in Saint-Vincent to help plow the land Marguerite began poisoning her victims’ food.

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Poisoned with arsenic & phosphorus (scraped from kitchen matches)

Jean Greiumard, Marguerite’s husband – died Jun. 27, 1875
Marguerite Greiumard, daughter – died Jun. 30, 1875
Antonin David, 11, grand-son – died Jun. 12, 1875
Jean David sr., Marguerite Greiumard’s father-in-law – died Jun. 15, 1875
Jean David, jr., 26, son-in-law – poisoned but survived

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Case synopsis based on a long article on the trial available online.

[“Cour D'assises De Tarn-Et. Garonne - Présidence de M. Debédat, conseiller à la Cour d'Appel de Toulouse. - Assesseurs: M.M. Simonet, president; Séméziés, juge. -  Séance du 17 décembre. Condemnation à mort – Empoissonment,” Journal de Toulouse (France, Dec. 17, 1875, p. 1]

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