Henri Desire Landru the Bluebeard Part 1

About Henri Desire Landru aka Bluebeard who murdered at least 9 French women for their money, history of the crime.


The Murders: "Single gentleman, aged 45, pound 400 per year, desires to marry homely lady of similar age and income." Ads like this, which appeared regularly in the Paris newspapers in the early 1900s, were the beginning of a series of love affairs--and the beginning of the end--for at least 9 French women.

One was a Mme. Celestine Buisson, who disappeared after going down to a Villa Ermitage in Gambais with a Monsieur Fremyet, in 1917. After some time, Mme. Buisson's sister grew concerned about her missing sister and asked the mayor of Gambais to help trace her. It might all have ended there if the mayor had not received a remarkably similar request from the sister of a Mme. Anna Collomb, who had disappeared the same way. Checking up on the owner of the villa, the mayor found that he fit the description given by both sisters, was known as M. Dupont, was bearded, and had disappeared leaving no address. Neighbors complained about the strange black smoke that used to rise occasionally from the villa's chimney, but other than that they didn't know anything about him.

The mayor, finding the whole thing too much for him, got in touch with the authorities. They already had a file of missing women--Mme. Therese Laborde-Line, widow, 47; Mme. Desiree Guillin, widow, 59; Andree Babelay, servant girl, 19; Mme. Louise Jaume, a married woman separated from her husband, 38; Mme. Anne-Marie Pascal, divorcee, 33; Mme. Marie-Therese Marchadier, brothelkeeper and ex-prostitute; Mme. Jeanne Cuchet, widow, about 40. But they couldn't find the elusive bearded man.

The Hunt: On April 11, 1919, Mme. Buisson's sister just happened to be walking down the Rue de Rivoli when she saw a man strolling along with a young woman. It was the bearded man who had taken her sister to the Villa Ermitage. Excited and nervous, she began to follow him. He went into a shop and ordered a white china dinner service, an act that would cost him his life. For he left his name with the shopkeeper.

The following morning, the bearded man, now Lucien Guillet, was drinking coffee with his young mistress, Fernande Segret, when a knock came at the door. When he answered it, a group of police burst in and arrested him for murder. As evidence the police took his notebook--a small black one with loose pages--in which he had carefully recorded the statistics of all his crimes. Guillet, whose real name was Henri Desire Landru, was a meticulous bookkeeper and kept and exact record of all his expenses. It was incriminating enough that the names of the missing women were penciled on the inside front cover; it was even more incriminating that train tickets to his villas (the latest one in Gambais) were recorded often as "One single, one return." The notebook told of his transaction with 283 women.

Very curious now, the police investigated his stove at Gambais. When they sifted the ashes from it, and examined the outhouse and the garden, they found hundreds of human bone fragments, some teeth, and some hooks-and-eyes.

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