Detective Marie Francois Goron and the Gouffe Case Part 4
About the famous detective Marie Francois Goron and the Gouffe Case, account of the crime and clues, solution of the case.
MARIE FRANCOIS GORON AND THE GOUFFE CASE
The envelope's postmark showed that the letter had been mailed Jan. 8, 1890, from New York. It was addressed to Goron, who received it in Paris on Jan. 16. He opened the letter and quickly glanced through its 20 pages until he came to the signature--Michel Eyraud.
Why had Goron made him the object of a worldwide manhunt since the end of December, the writer wanted to know. Eyraud admitted that he had fled from Paris the previous summer, but he had fled from Paris the previous summer, but he had done so due to his financial failure, much of the fault of which, of course, belonged to the Jews and to Gabrielle Bompard. He had not harmed his good friend Gouffe, but he suspected that Gabrielle or one of her many lovers was guilty of the grisly deed. Two more letters from Eyraud to Goron, one on Jan. 18 and the other two days later, reiterated the accusations against Gabrielle Bompard.
On Jan. 22 Inspector Jaume informed Goron--bedridden with flu at the time--that Gabrielle Bompard had returned to Paris, surrendered to the police, and placed the entire blame for Gouffe's murder on her former lover, Michel Eyraud. After interrogating her, they pieced together the following story.
The 47-year-old Eyraud had fallen deeply in debt, and he faced possible prosecution for several swindles he had attempted. Liable for around 500,000 francs as a result of the collapse of his cognac distillery, he had been involved in a number of shady deals since then. In 1888 he had taken the 20-year-old Gabrielle, a runaway from a middle-class home in Lille, as his mistress. No stranger to the streets, Gabrielle succeeded in bringing home some needed cash, but her propensity for profanity cost her a profitable position in one of the best Parisian salons. Soon she and Eyraud were destitute again.
Their choice of Gouffe as a robbery victim was understandable. Bailiffs did quite well as a rule, serving as something akin to a collection agency. To the couple's dismay, however, after murdering Gouffe they found only 150 francs in his pockets, no more than they had paid to rent the tiny apartment. In a frenzy, Eyraud rushed off to Gouffe's office, keys to the safe in hand. But before he could open the safe and grab the 14,000 francs inside, he heard the approach of a constable. Frustrated and frightened, he dashed out of the office, ran back to the apartment, and beat Gabrielle; then--with Gouffe growing ever stiffer at their feet--they engaged in sexual intercourse.
Calmed by coitus and cognac, they cut off Gouffe's clothes, and, for the third time that evening, Eyraud pulled the rope to hoist the bailiff in the air. The object this time was to lower the body into an oilcloth sack. Eyraud performed this maneuver so adeptly that Gabrielle later remarked that it was "like putting on a glove. You'd have thought he'd been doing nothing else all his life." After doubling up the stuffed sack, they shoved it into the trunk at the foot of Gabrielle's bed.
Eyraud knew that he had to keep moving, and fast. After he and Gabrielle had dumped Gouffe's body in the river on July 27, they had gone to Marseilles to borrow money from his brother and brother-in-law, and then had boarded a ship bound for the U.S. with Gabrielle disguised as a man. The pair had arrived in America in early September, at which time Gabrielle had resumed her female identity, and they had traveled as father and daughter under assumed names.
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