Saturday, February 7, 2015

Marie-Françoise Bougaran, Complulsive Baby-Killer Girl - France, 1865

Marie-Françoise Bougaran, 15-years-old, was tried in Quimper in 1866 and convicted and sentenced to 20 years on prison.


FULL TEXT: The Brest journals give an account of the arrest of a servant girl named Bougaran, charged with the murder of three infants, the children of Mr. R— [Robinaud], Professor in the College of that place, and of one other child, the daughter of Mr. M—, clerk to the juge de paix at Lesneven [error in orig. “Lanseven”]. The first three children all died in November, apparently from a gastric affection, which caused them to vomit blood and fecal matter. A few days later the fourth child died, under precisely similar circumstances, a day or two after he had engaged the servant who had lived with Mr. R. Suspicion then arose that she had poisoned all the children, and she was in consequence arrested. When interrogated she confessed that she had killed all the children by forcing them to swallow excrements, and then cutting the veins of the neck with a knife, which she inserted in the mouth. The post-mortem examination of the poor children has fully proved this statement to be true. The girl affirms that she committed the crimes under an irresistible impulse, and that, had she remained longer with Mr. M.— she should have murdered his other child in the same manner.

[Untitled, from “Foreign News and Gossip.” Column, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (N. Y.), Dec. 30, 1865, p. 1]


EXCERPT: A Lesneven, les trois enfants Robinaud de 6 mois, 2 ans et 5 ans meurent en vomissant du sang et des matières fécales. On croit à une forme de gastro-entérite particulièrement virulente (!) Mais c’est leur jeune domestique de 15 ans, Marie- Françoise Bougaran, qui les a tués en leur faisant avaler ses excréments puis en les poignardant dans la gorge! Cet horrible fait divers permet à Annick Le Douget d’aborder l’expertise psychiatrique alors à ses débuts. Pourtant personne ne croira à la folie. En raison de son jeune âge, la criminelle n’est pas décapitée mais condamnée à vingt ans, peine maximum pour une mineure. L’auteur perd sa trace. [Michel Amelin, “La Chronique De Michel Amelin Andre Gide Et Annick Le Douget Au Tribunal!” La Tête en noir, n°138, Mai-juin 2009; refers to source: Annik Le Douget, “Femmes Criminelles en Bretagne en XIX siècle,” 2002]


French newspapers which have not yet been placed online by Bibliotèque Nationale de France, yet which nevertheless are displayed at Gallica Bibliotèque Numérique ( in excerpted passages give the full name as Marie-Françoise Bougaran, and her age as 15.

“R” is identified as “Robinaud” (“Marie Robinaud”).

[La Presse, Le Petit Journal; dates of these specific issues are not displayed. The excerpts can be located using keyword searches for name + place + year]


Other sources:
[Claude Le Menn, “Marie-Françoise Bougaran tortionnaire et infanticide à quinze ans,” Claude Le Menn in Les Cahiers de l'Iroise, HS n° 2, Septembre 2014 (09/2014). p. 43-51]
[Annick Le Douget, Justice de sang: La peine de mort en Bretagne aux XIXe et XXe siècles, 2007, Annick Le Douget, p. 219]
[“Ein Kindemadchen als Mörderin ber ihm anvertranten Kleinen.” Regensburger
Morgenblatt (Regensburg, Bavaria), 8 Mai, 1866, p. 1 (p. 370)]

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