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Jeanne Weber

Jeanne Weber

Also Known As: “Ogress of the Goulle d’Or”
Born: 7 August 1874
Died: 1910
Active: 1905 to 1908
Location: France
Method of Disposal: Strangulation
Consequence: Jail Term

Unfortunates:

  • Infant Weber (offspring)
  • Infant Weber (offspring)
  • Georgette Weber (niece)
  • Suzanne Weber (niece)
  • Germaine Weber (niece)
  • Marcel Weber (son)
  • Lucie Aleandre (babysitting charge)
  • Marcel Poyatos (babysitting charge)
  • Auguste Bavouzet (babysitting charge)
  • Marcel Poirot (inkeeper’s son)

Fortunates:

  • Maurice Weber (nephew)
  • Unnamed child (resident at children’s home)

Surviving childhood was an achievement in itself in the early 1900s. Any number of illnesses periodically threatened to snatch away little ones at random. Parisian Jeanne Weber knew this well. A couple of these random illnesses had already taken her two youngest children by early 1905.

She had no reason to grieve, however. There were many children in her extended family, and she would jump at the chance to have little ones around her again.

It was while she was babysitting for her sister-in-law in early March 1905 that Jeannie encountered the beginning of what can only be described as an incredible run of bad luck. Her 18-month-old niece Georgette was playing just fine for a while, but all of a sudden she just got sick and then died. The examiner could see nothing amiss, despite some strange bruises on the child’s neck. He decided that it was just one of those random childhood illnesses.

Georgette’s family was in clearly in shock at their loss, because when they found themselves in need of a babysitter a week or so later, it was to Jeanne they turned. Of course, she would be delighted to look after two-year-old Suzanne, Georgette’s sister. Don’t worry, Jeanne said. Their only remaining child would be fine.

As before, the afternoon of babysitting was uneventful. That is, until Jeanne’s bad luck returned. Convulsions, the doctor declared, signing the death certificate with a flourish and tipping his hat at the devastated parents.

By now, the rest of the Weber family were starting to feel for Jeanne. Such bad luck, they said amongst themselves. So many unfortunate and mysterious deaths. They marvelled that she had the fortitude to ever look after another child.

They needn’t have worried. When Jeanne’s brother nervously asked for her help with babysitting for a few hours two weeks after Suzanne’s death, she couldn’t have been more thrilled. Germaine was a delight to look after, and at 7 years of age she was definitely past the danger age.

Which made what happened next all the more inexplicable. Seven year old children aren’t normally in the habit of choking, having mastered the art of chewing and swallowing fairly well by that age. Jeanne’s brother could see that Jeanne have valiantly fought to save the child, the red marks on her neck proved that. Luckily the child survived that day.

Jeannie was so concerned about Germaine’s health that the next day she returned to her brother’s house to see how the girl was faring. Germaine’s father was touched by how she fretted over his child, and allowed Jeanne to sit with her while he pottered around in the backyard or something. Imagine his surprise when Jeanne came running to him, saying Germaine had taken a turn. This time however, they were too late. This time it was diphtheria, another random illness. There was all the classic signs, including red marks on the child’s neck.

There must have been a lot of Diphtheria going about, because four days after Germaine died, Jeanne’s own child Marcel succumbed to the same fate as his cousin. Such a shame.

Yes, March 1905 had clearly been a bad month for the Weber clan.

Early April 1905 saw Jeanne invite two of her sisters-in-law for a meal at her home. One of the sisters brought her son Maurice with her, and after the meal was finished and the dishes done, her visitors left to do a spot of shopping. Maurice stayed behind to keep his aunt company. Well, he was ten years old, practically an adult. What’s the worst that could happen?

The shopping trip finished up early and the sisters returned for Maurice earlier than Jeanne had expected. When they saw her standing over a choking Maurice with a demented expression on her face, it became rather clear to them just what had been going on all this time.

The police were called, and wasted no time in charging Jeanne with a total of 8 murders, including Lucie Aleandre and Marcel Poyatos, whose parents had also committed them into the care of Jeanne. The police trotted out the theory that Jeanne had killed her son to prevent anyone from considering the deaths as anything more than unfortunate. Jeanne trotted out eminent defence lawyer Henri-Robert, at which point the judge, jury and spectators promptly decided she was a grieving mother and clearly incapable of anything so crass as multiple murder.

Finding herself acquitted of such heinous accusations, Jeanne decided that with no real ties to Paris she was free to make her mark elsewhere. She settled in the town of Villedieu, changing her name to Madame Moulinet. Her occupation remained the same, and she soon found work with the Bavouzet family. All seemed well, until Ms Moulinet was compelled to summon a police to the bedside of her newest babysitting charge, Auguste, who’d surrendered to one of the many random illnesses of which the good babysitter was only too familiar.

Convulsions! was once again the doctor’s diagnosis. However, he took a closer look when it was established that Ms Moulinet had also been known as Jeanne Weber. Jeanne settled in for a second trial. No, but wait, said the doctor. I’ve checked again. My mistake, it was only typhoid.

After the second aborted trial, Jeanne drifted for a while, moving from Faucombault to Orgeville. She picked up babysitting work where she could, now going by the name of Marie Lemoine. Old friends who knew of her past allowed her to work in their Children’s Home, believing that all people deserve a chance. She managed to last one a week before being caught with her hands around another child’s neck. Rather than bothering the authorities with such a trifling issue though, they merely sent her on her way.

One can imagine what her friends were thinking as they watched to make sure she left the area. Maybe: Oh that Jeanne, whatever will she do next?

Jeanne found herself drawn back to Paris, but when she got there she really had nowhere to stay. Eventually, the authorities arrested her for vagrancy and she spent some time in jail. Considered sane, she was once again released back into the community. With no children readily available for her child minding skills to be utilised, Jeanne tried her hand at a spot of prostitution.

Her newfound profession netted her a husband, and she settled in with her new man at a room in a local inn. The innkeeper and his wife lived in the establishment with their ten-year-old son Marcel.

The proximity of the child to Jeanne’s living quarters brought her into regular contact with Marcel, and it wasn’t long before that old bad luck once again returned. As before, she was found by the innkeeper with her hands on Marcel’s neck. However, this time it took three swift punches to the face before Jeanne even considered releasing the lifeless body. Jeanne had clearly been missing her favourite pastime.

Branded the Ogress of the Goulle d’Or, Jeanne entered her third trial. She was declared insane and sent to the asylum at Mareville. She stayed there for around two years, after which it appears the lack of available child victims got the better of her and she succeeded in strangling herself with her own hands.

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