Saturday, September 17, 2011

“That Dreadful Paris ‘Cat-Eater’” Dinorah Galou, Child Kidnapper, Torturer & Killer: 1925

FULL TEXT: Countless fathers and mothers in France breathe easier now that Dinorah Galou, known as the Cat-Eater, is safely behind prison bars.

For four years they need have no fear that any of their babies will be stolen by her and doomed to the fate that is believed to have overtaken scores of other children who fell into her clutches.

Curiously enough, although Dinorah Galou is believed to have stolen a great many young children and to have obtained for her nefarious uses many others through all sorts of false promises, it was not for these alleged crimes that she finally was convicted and sent to prison.

This artful woman had succeeded in surrounding her cruel traffic in babies and the reasons for it with mystery so deep that the police and the public prosecutor were unable to make out a strong case against her for the crimes of kidnapping and neglect. She was sent to prison for the far less serious crime of picking pockets.

But the public refuses to be shaken from the belief that the Cat-Eater was one of the worst enemies the children of France ever had to fear. It believes that her traffic in babies accounts for the vanishing of scores of little ones and it shudders to think what cruel treatment these innocent and helpless children received at her hands.

If Dinorah Galou is not one of the most monstrous women ever arraigned in a French court, certainly she is one of the most mysterious. Even the detectives who worked for months on her case were unable to agree as to just why she kept her wretched home running over with babies and to explain how she got them all and what finally became of them.

Were her stolen and ”borrowed” babies part of a crafty scheme for deceiving Fernand Galou, her husband and co-defendant, into thinking that she was a mother?

At the trial it was testified that Galou was a great lover of children and wanted a large family. But there was no evidence to show that Dinorah, the Cat-Eater, had ever borne him a child.

Did this woman systematically prey on the feelings of unmarried mothers, poor unfortunates who were torn between the desire to hide their shame and the anxiety to have they babies well cared for?

Did she induce such women to surrender their love children to her on the promise that she would give them a mother’s care?

And then did the Cat-Eater rent these babies out to wretched women from the slums of Paris, to be wrapped in their dirty shawls and carried in their arms as they sold flowers or begged alms on the streets?

What shocked the public most of all in the trial of Dinorah Galou was the prosecutor’s charge that she was quite probably one of many women who rent stolen babies at so much per hour or day to beggars and street venders of matches, flowers and other things.

The latter think there is nothing that excites the sympathy of passers by – and particularly of American tourists – more than to have a baby in their arms. So when they have no babies of their own they go to establishments like that the Cat-Eater is believed to have abducted and hire one.

As these women have learned by experience they get more alms and sell more flowers when they have a baby that cries. If starvation and other ill treatment do not make the child cry as loudly and continually as they think desirable they have many ways of increasing its wails and moans.

One of the most cruel of these, as the prosecutor explained in court during the trial of Dinorah Galou, is to let a live spider crawl back and forth over a baby’s eye and inflame the delicate tissues with its poisonous bites.

This is accomplished by putting the spider in half of a walnut shell and tying the inverted shell over the eye with a handkerchief. A child tortured in this way is sure to cry loudly and continually enough to satisfy the most avaricious beggar or flower vender.

Whether many of the babies that fell into the Cat-Eater’s hands were subjected to such inhuman treatment as this was one of the truly mystifying questions – that arose during the sensational trial recently completed at Agen, in the province of Lot-et-Garonne. The jury found Dinorah Galou guilty of larceny, but acquitted her husband on the charges of kidnapping and murderous neglect of children which had been brought jointly against them.

In the course of the trial the presiding judge asked the woman what her purposes were in assuming different names.

“On several occasions you’ called yourself Miss Maud Sanderson,” said the judge. “Then you claimed to be a relation to Pierre Loti, the novelist, and subsequently passed yourself off as the Comtesse d’Aoste, Princess of India. While in prison you told other prisoners you were a writer, a political agent, a dramatic author and a journalist.”

“I had to inspire confidence, your honor,” said the woman with tears in her eyes.

The crimes charged jointly against Madame Galou and her husband were as follows:

At Nice, in August, 1910, the seven-month-old child Jacques Beniez, stolen and taken to an unknown place.

At Toulon, in September, 1922, the theft of Pierre-Paul Lazare, a newly born infant. At Bordeaux, in June, 1924, the kidnapping of Abel Voisin and Pierrette-Marie Raymonde, infants.

At Allauch, in December, 1922, the neglect of a child under fifteen months old, causing death.

In all these cities and at Agen, where the trial took place, Dinorah Galou was further accused of having picked pockets and stolen sums varying between ten and a thousand francs. In one case she was caught stealing a layette of baby linen.

From the maze of evidence offered in the case it appears that Dinorah Coarer, as she was known before she married her lover, Fernand Galou, had a rather tumultuous career. One of the witnesses, Alfred Germot, testified that he first met Dinorah at Brussels. They decided to return to Paris together. On the way, Dinorah confided to Alfred that she was born in Algeria of French parents who had lived in America. A love liaison resulted in the course of which Dinorah told Alfred that he would be a father in due process of time.

Not overly pleased at the prospect, Alfred began a little investigation under the guidance of his father and mother who did not like the looks of Dinorah. He found that the woman had been the frequenter of some of the most notorious side street hotels and had been arrested a number of times for relieving her “friends” of their purses.

Stunned by these discoveries he went away to America, intending to stay there permanently. Burt the war called him back to the colors.

Upon his arrival Dinorah presented him two babies, twins that had been born to her, she said, while he was in foreign lands. She wept with happiness and Alfred decided to forget. Love is blind, but Alfred was deaf into the bargain. His fiends warned him, but he did not listen.

One day Dinorah announced to him that one of the twins had died, and Alfred, not being a clairvoyant, believed that the little closed coffin held the baby supposed to be his own.

It was at this time in the taking of the testimony that a letter was introduced by the prosecution purporting to have been written by Dinorah to her mother. It contained the sentence: “Gag the kid if he yells and then beat him up right.”

Then came the story of a girl whom Dinorah had put into a sailor’s suit in order to foil the efforts of the police to discover her identity. The girl herself, a pretty brunette of eighteen, said she did not know the name of her father, but that she was sure her mother was Jeanette Cordier, an opera singer of a generation ago. The girl, was called to the witness stand during the latter part of the trial and gave her name as Micheline. She referred to Dinorah as “the cat-eater,” adding gruesome details of the sense she had witnessed in the house of Dinorah and of the frequent disappearances of the neighbors’ pet cats. Eating cat meat itself and feeding it to the babies were Dinorah’s ways of meeting the high cost of living problem.

“There were always small babies in the house,” said Micheline, in depicting some of the revolting scenes in the Galou house of mystery. “They were always in a terrible condition of neglect. Once I heard her say that a great Maharajah had fallen in love with her and that he wanted a large family. She wanted go to him with a family of at least twenty children.”

The account then followed of the meeting of Dinorah with Fernand Galou when the latter was practicing medicine.

It was revealed in court that Galou and Dinorah lived together for some years before they married and that Dinorah shammed maternity to make Galou think he was the father of her children.

Several witnesses testified to the good character of Galou and to the excellence of his record as an officer in the flying corps of France during the war. Galou stated on the witness stand that he did not know anything about the conduct of his wife and that he was willing to pay back every sou she had stolen.

A number of witnesses testified to the manner in which Dinorah had obtained the infants from girl-mothers. It was shown that Dinorah had solicited them to abandon, their newly born children to her rather than face the accusing finger of gossip. One of the mothers quoted- Dinorah as saying to her:

“Now, dearie, the worst is passed and there is ho reason why you should not go home and live a life of purest virtue. Some day you will find an honest man willing to marry, you and he won’t be any the wiser for your little indiscretion. Men, as a rule, do not ask questions when they, are sincerely in love.

“Just give me that sweet little darling of yours to-take care of as if it were my own and I can assure you that you won’t be sorry.”

“What did you do with those children, Madame?” asked the court.

Instead of answering the question, the Cat-Eater simply wept. Her attorneys lauded her as a martyr to the cause of motherhood and pointed to the fact that Dinorah never had had children of her own and it-was natural for her to adopt unfortunate babies born under a cloud.

To this the public prosecutor replied with lurid pictures of misery in the slums of Paris where poor wretches hired babies to excite the commiseration of the people in the streets and bound live spiders over their eyes to make them cry.

But with all the testimony both for and against Dinorah Galou the mystery of just what she had done and why grew deeper. Alienists testified that she was not responsible for her deeds, whatever they may have been, and for a whole week the legal battle over her case was waged with great eloquence and tenacity on both sides. Dinorah Galou wept almost continuously.

She is a woman of about forty and rather plump and good looking. The jurors were deeply affected by the testimony and frequently bad tears in their eyes.

When the case finally went to the jury for a verdict there was nothing to do but acquit Fernand Galou of any crime whatever and his wife of any capital crime. For various thefts committed by her, instances where it was shown that she had picked, the pockets of unsuspecting shoppers in the public markets of Agen, Dinorah was sentenced to four years in prison. While she works in penal servitude the authorities will continue trying to solve the problem of what became of the many children who undoubtedly fell into the Cat-Eater’s clutches.

[C. De Vidal Hunt, “That Dreadful Paris ‘Cat-Eater’; Most Wicked Traffic in Stolen and ‘Borrowed’ Babies France Ever Knew Believed to be Ended by Mysterious Dinorah Galou’s Sentence to Prison,” syndicated (Jonson Features), The Ogden Standard Examiner (Ut.), Jul. 26, 1925, magazine section]


Dec. 28, 1880 – Dinorah Coarer Née à Nantes, le
1901 – sentenced to 6 months in  prison.
1904 – sentenced to 2 months in  prison, Seine tribunal, , pour vol à la tire.
1910 – sentenced to 4 months, Bourges court.
Aug. 1910 – At Nice, in August, 1910, the seven-month-old child Jacques Beniez, stolen and taken to an unknown place.
1911 – elle avait été l'objet d'une inculpation d'escroquerie « au mariage », mais bénéficia d'un non-lieu.
1916 – Accusée d'espionnage pendant la guerre, elle était parvenue à échapper à la police spéciale depus 1916 en se faisant admettre comme infirmière dans une formation sanitaire à Salonique.
1919 – meets Dr. Galou in Constantinople.
1921 – moves to Marseille, afterwards to Montauban.
At Toulon, in September, 1922, the theft of Pierre-Paul Lazare, a newly born infant.
Dec. 1923 – marries M. Galou, Montauban.
Aug. 26, 1922 – afin de légitimer la naissance de deux enfants qu'il disait avoir eus d'elle: Madeleine, 9 ans, et Jacques-Fernand-Gabriel-Christian, né à Nice le 26 août 1922.
Jun. 1924 – At Bordeaux, kidnapping of Abel Voisin and Pierrette-Marie Raymonde, infants.
Dec. 1922 – neglect of a child under fifteen months old, causing death, at Allauch.
May 30, 1925 – sentenced to 4 years in prison, at Agen court. “The jury found Dinorah Galou guilty of larceny, but acquitted her husband on the charges of kidnapping and murderous neglect of children which had been brought jointly against them.”


FULL TEXT: En attendant qu'une plus grande lumière soit faite sur les ténébreuses manœuvres du docteur Galou et de sa femme et sur le sort des petits enfants que ce conple, sinistre adoptait, une chose est dès. maintenant acquise, c'est que la femme du docteur est une aventurière capable et coupable de toutes les escroqueries.

Son passé est lourd de fautes constatées et les polices de > Paris, de Nantes, de Bourges, de Bordeaux, ont eu à s'occuper-d'elle.. :

Née à Nantes, le 28 décembre 1880, Dinorah Coarer a parcouru le monde' en dopant ses contemporains sous les vocables les plus divers dont elle avait soin de s'affubler, s'appelant tantôt Mme Ringh, ou Georgette Cœurdevey, artiste lyrique, ou Liliane Germot, ou Mlle de Presles, ou Christiane de Saint-Gilles.

Sous ces noms divers, elle avait été condamnée pour escroqueries, en 1901, à six semaines de prison; en 1904, à deux mois, par le tribunal de la Seine, pour vol à la tire; en 1910, à quatre mois avec sursis par la cour de Bourges. En 1911, elle avait été l'objet d'une inculpation d'escroquerie « au mariage », mais bénéficia d'un non-lieu.

Accusée d'espionnage pendant la guerre, elle était parvenue à échapper à la police spéciale depus 1916 en se faisant admettre comme infirmière dans une formation sanitaire à Salonique. Diplômée de l'école des langues orientales, elle parle cou- ramment cinq langues étrangères et on la dit fort intelligente.

C'est en 1919 que, se trouvant à Constantinople, elle fit la connaissance du docteur Galou et tous deux vécurent ensemble. On les retrouve en 1921 à Marseille, puis à Montauban, où le praticien avait épousé sa compagne en décembre 1923, afin de légitimer la naissance de deux enfants qu'il disait avoir eus d'elle : Madeleine, 9 ans, et Jacques-Fernand-Gabriel-Christian, né à Nice le 26 août 1922.

Peu après le mariage, les époux s'installaient, le 1er janvier dernier, à la villa des Palmiers, à Agen, et, le 3 juin, deux jumeaux étaient déclarés à l'état civil par le docteur, comme étant ses enfants, sous les prénoms de Pierre-Fernand-Raoul-Raymond et de Fernande-Dinorah-Louise-Paule.

Il est à noter que, parmi les nombreuses condamnations, dont s'émaille le casier judiciaire de Mme Galou, en figure une pour exercice illégal de la médecine, alors qu'elle habitait Bezons sous le nom de Christiane de Saint-Gilles.

Sa mère, Mme Coarer, qui habitait avec elle à la villa des Palmiers, pourra sans doute aider précieusement l'enquête si elle est habilement questionnée. La vieille dame en sait long, en effet, sur tout ce dont sa fille est capable. Au cours de querelles violentes qui surgissaient entre elles deux, on l'a entendue à plusieurs reprises lancer contre Mme Galou les plus graves accusations.

La mère Coarer reprochait à sa fille de lui avoir dérobé deux cents francs dans son tiroir. Dinorah niait effrontément. ---'

— Si tu ne me les rends pas, hurlait la mère, je dirait tout.

— Tais-toi ou je te fais taire, fit la femme Galou en courant, menaçante, vers la pauvre vieille.

Mais, devant le geste, celle-ci sentit augmenter sa colère et, oubliant toute prudence, rappela à sa fille le rôle suspect, mais bien rémunéré, qu'elle avait joué pendant la guerre.

[“Dinorah Galou, mère-gigogne artiste lyrique et infirmière,” Aug. 15, 1924, p. 3]














For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.


For more cases, see: Paternity Fraud Rackets


For more Real Life Ogresses see: Ogresses: Female Serial Killers of the Children of Others


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