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True Crime - January 2018

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Detective Monthly
“Hang her,” they cried
The Mafia’s
For The
Widow Of
e often think just of
the terror and the
fear the gangster
mobs of the world inflict.
But these mobs also create a
different but wider damage.
They can paralyse and kill
off the trade and commerce
of a region or country.
Salvatore Riina certainly
did that, creating mass
poverty in his home territory
of Sicily – not only by the
gun and relentless killing but
by his infiltration into almost
all areas of business life
including the heroin trade.
He was the Mafia’s “boss
of bosses” and his tentacles
spread everywhere, not just
in Italy but across the globe
– so much so that he even
ran his businesses from the
jail cells.
But he went to meet his
maker not through the
gun but cancer just before
Christmas, aged 87. In a
realm of cruel men he was
probably the cruellest of
modern times – the head of
Sicily’s Cosa Nostra since
the 1970s.
His methods were
kidnapping, strangling,
shooting, extortion and
trafficking. He killed his first
victim at 17 but the worst
example of his unrelenting
cruelty was the dissolving in
acid of the 13-year-old son
of a Mafia informant.
In 1980, he went as far
as killing the president of
Sicily. But his arrogance
finally overreached itself
in 1992 when he ordered
the bombing assassinations
of two leading anti-Mafia
lawyers. The authorities had
enough evidence to jail him
for life in 1993. He got 26
life sentences and spent a big
part of the rest of his life in
isolation as the authorities
curbed his outside contacts.
Clockwise from top left:
Salvatore “Totò” Riina is
escorted by Carabinieri
officers as he arrives at
the court house in Palermo,
on December 1st, 1993;
Riina in 1955; the medieval
town of Corleone where
he was born and which
was immortalised as a
Mafia stronghold in The
Godfather book and film
trilogy; Riina in court
He had four children, one
of whom was also in prison
for commiting four murders.
Riina was just 5ft 2in tall,
a woeful example of the
old claim that little men are
far more likely to develop
power complexes. He had
an assortment of nicknames,
the most common being Totò
or U Curtu (translated as
Shorty) or The Beast.
Few people in Sicily
mourned his passing and it
was only parts of the older
generation who felt any
sadness at his death.
Many of the young, of
the brightest and best, had
already left the island and
made for the US or more
peaceful and economically
stronger parts of Italy or the
European Community.
But long before his death,
Mafia links were weakening,
at the end of the 1980s and
the beginnings of the 1990s.
More people were willing
to talk and identify the
Mafia. Other mobs around
the south of Italy also grew
in brutality and influence
including the Camorra in
Naples and the ’Ndràngheta
from Calabria.
Riina hadn’t read the
times.The bombing
assassinations were a step
too far.
Enormous trials in
the 1990s resulted in the
arrest and jailing of more
than 300 gangsters. That
was the epitaph to his life
of savagery.
lSee Master Detective
March for a new series on
the Sicilian Mafia.
On January 15th, 1947, the naked, dismembered body of a black-haired beauty, Elizabeth Short, was
discovered lying next to a pavement in a Hollywood suburb. She was quickly nicknamed the Black Dahlia.
The homicide inquiry that followed consumed Los Angeles for years and the authorities blew millions of
dollars of resources on an investigation that threw up dozens of suspects. But it never was solved. In this
groundbreaking book, author Piu Eatwell reveals compelling forensic and eye-witness evidence for the
first time, which finally points to the identity of the murderer. The case was immortalised in James Ellroy’s
famous novel based on the case, in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon and Brian de Palma’s movie The
Black Dahlia.
For a chance to win a hardback copy of Black Dahlia Red Rose (Coronet;
ISBN 978-1-473-66632-0; £20.00) by Piu Eatwell, answer this question:
In which US city was Elizabeth Short born?
n New York
n Washington
n Philadelphia
n Boston
Send your answer to True Crime January competition, PO Box 735, London SE26 5NQ, or email, with the subject line “TC January Comp.” The first correct entry out of the hat after the
closing date of January 18th will win. The winner will be announced in the March issue.
The winner of the True Crime November competition with the answer 1868 is Mrs. F. A. McDonald of Dover. Well done!
Your copy of Launched Into Eternity will be with you soon.
2 truecrime
was the finding of a woman’s
blood-spattered tank-top blouse
in the bedroom...
46,000 WERE
How the Russian-born and New
York-bred Meyer Lansky became
the Mafia’s treasurer – and
the most influential figure in
American organised crime
Who was the “white
werewolf” who’d snatched
a three-year-old girl from
a hospital bed, raped her
and then battered her to
death? Blackburn Police were
convinced he was a local
man – but still had to go to
extraordinary lengths to find
the answer
Hard times had left troubled
ex-soldier William Gregory
with much to ponder but no
one could have foreseen the
devastating events that were
to come when he supposedly
was leaving the Hampshire
city for London...
First in a series of cases
highlighting the much-heralded
detective work of the late South
African sleuth Piet Byleveld,
who died in May 2017. In the
mid-1990s Johannesburg had
been hit by a spate of horrific
murders with no fixed modus
operandi. Traders, taxi drivers
and courting couples were all
slain. Were these killings linked
or were there several killers on
the loose?
A murder investigation was
launched when a woman’s
body, naked from the waist
down, was found in a Dublin
street. Soon the hunt for
the killer was under way but
a notorious nurse living just
yards away soon became the
prime suspect...
The terrible tale of Françoise
Lapierre, which shocked all
France and led to calls for
the widow’s execution on the
TC Reports 2
Competition 2
 Comment 10
 Chronicles of Crime
15, 44, 48, 50
 Old-Time Movie Quiz 41
The first hint police in Gans,
Oklahoma, got that the
killer of 20-year-old Cindy
Baillie might not be a man
Search “True Crime Library”
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truecrime 3
ECAUSE OF all the
fireworks, none of
the neighbours heard
the gunshots that holiday
morning of Independence
Day, July 4th, 1982. There
were nine shots altogether,
irregularly spaced over a
period of about five minutes.
Some dogs barked nearby in
the small housing estate on
the outskirts of the town of
Gans, Oklahoma.
“Was that somebody
shooting?” a woman asked
her husband.
“No. It’s just kids out
letting off fireworks.”
Thus the sound of
violence was dismissed as too
improbable in a peaceful little
community like Gans.
It was a Sunday as
well as a holiday, and it
promised to be another
scorcher. By 9 a.m.
the sun was already high in
the sky. Two local residents
were on their way to Paul
Dolan’s home on the estate
to collect a car. The previous
night Thomas Lindsey had
loaned his vehicle to Paul and
his wife Sadie as their own
car had a flat tyre. Gerald
Reynolds had driven Lindsey
to the Dolans’ house.
When they arrived they
were surprised to hear a loud
quarrel in progress inside the
Dolans’ home. Then a youth
of about 18 came outside.
The quarrel continued. The
youth, James Gregory Smith,
seemed to have a chip on his
shoulder. He ignored the row
going on in the house and
wiped his hands on a towel.
“It’s all right,” he assured
the callers, shrugging. “Paul’s
not home, but he’ll be back in
a little while. Everything’s all
Lindsey and Reynolds were
not entirely convinced. By
9.30 a.m. they were banging
on the front door of Vernon
Barnes, the community’s
middle-aged policeman.
He dressed when told
of the disturbance at the
Dolans’ home and sped to the
housing estate. He arrived to
see Dolan getting into his car
to leave.
“Paul, what’s going on?”
Barnes asked him. Nearly
everyone in Gans was on first
name terms.
“Nothing,” Dolan replied.
But he seemed extremely
nervous. “Everything will be
just fine as soon as I leave.”
Barnes had no reason to
doubt him. Everything did
seem to be in order. A strange
Cadillac was parked in the
4 truecrime
drive, but Barnes thought
nothing of that. After all,
the Fourth of July was a
traditional day for family
He reported back to Gerald
Reynolds and Thomas
Lindsey, then returned home.
Two hours later, Reynolds
was again banging on the
officer’s door. “Vernon, you
have to come right now!
Thomas and Paul just found
a dead girl in Paul’s house!
She’s dead, Vernon. Looks like
she might have shot herself.”
Barnes returned to Paul
Dolan’s house. Reynolds led
him down the hallway to the
master bedroom. The dead
girl’s right hand grasped
a black, pearl-handled
.22-calibre revolver. She lay
on her back on the carpet,
arms spread, wearing a yellow
print summer dress.
Dark-haired and
sun-tanned, she had been
pretty. Now, however, her
face was grotesque in death.
There was a thick smear of
blood on her throat. Her
chest was riddled with tiny
bullet holes. Dried blood
crusted her dress-front. Dried
blood on the carpet leading
to her eventual resting-place
recalled by
Charles W.
surprised leaving
home barely
two hours
earlier. In
judged from
the developing
rigidity of the
body and the
coagulation of the
blood, two hours
would about cover the
time since the victim had
been shot.
Barnes asked Dolan:
“Who is she?”
Dolan said she was
Cynthia Lee Baillie.
Everyone called her Cindy.
She was 20 and lived in
Tahlequah, in adjoining
“Then we walked down the hallway. That’s
when we saw the body lying on the bedroom
floor. She was real bloodstained around the
throat and had dark places on her face”
indicated that she had been
dragged across the floor.
Upon closer examination,
Barnes discovered two
additional gunshot wounds
behind her right ear, plus
another puzzling wound
in her throat. This was no
suicide. Not even the most
determined suicide victim
could do all this to herself.
Murder was Vernon
Barnes’s opinion and he
looked suspiciously at Paul
Dolan. It had been a nervous
Dolan whom the cop had
Cherokee County, some
50 miles north-east of
Gans. Dolan admitted that
she had been at his house
that morning, when he
encountered Barnes the first
time. However, he insisted,
she had then been alive.
“He seemed reluctant
to discuss it,” the county
Assistant District Attorney
Mike Daffin later recalled.
“We didn’t know at the time
if his hesitation was because
of guilt or because he was
afraid of something.”
Assistant District
Attorney Mike Daffin
who prosecuted Cindy
Baillie’s killer
Left, the death chamber at
Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
where Lois Nadean Smith
(below) was executed in 2001
for the 1992 murder of her
son’s ex-girlfriend
The other two witnesses
told all they knew. “We’d
been planning a barbecue
at my place,” Reynolds said.
“Thomas Lindsey, Paul
Dolan, me and our families.
Thomas and Paul went over
to Paul’s house to get a grill
to cook steaks on.”
Lindsey took over: “When
we got there, the doors were
locked and their shades were
drawn. Paul didn’t have his
key. I took a screen off the
window and went in and let
Paul in by the back door.
Then we walked down the
hallway. That’s when we
saw the body lying on the
bedroom floor. She was real
bloodstained around the
throat and had dark places
on her face. I yelled to Paul
to get out of the house, and
we ran to Gerald Reynolds’s
What puzzled Vernon
Barnes most about the
murder was the pistol in the
dead girl’s hand. She hadn’t
committed suicide, but had
she been armed prior to
her death and involved in
a shootout with someone?
There were no bullet holes in
the walls, floors, or ceilings
of the house to indicate this.
Still puzzled, the policeman
realised that he was going to
need assistance. He requested
help from the Sequoyah
County sheriff and from the
Oklahoma State Bureau of
Sheriff Sam Lockhart and
his deputies arrived first,
followed a few minutes later
by Agents Perry Proctor and
Kevin Ottwell. Lockhart
rounded up all the witnesses,
including Paul Dolan, and
took them to his office in
Sallisaw for questioning while
his deputies began enquiries
in the neighbourhood for any
additional witnesses.
Proctor and Ottwell
conducted the murder scene
“Paul Dolan,” one of them
mused. “Isn’t it logical that he
did it? He lies to Vernon that
everything’s all right at his
house. Then a few hours later
he’s stuck with a dead woman
in his bedroom.”
Detectives know how
middle-aged males often
become romantically involved
with younger women.
Such involvements often
lead to love triangles, to
recriminations, to arguments
and fights – and to murder.
But a love triangle didn’t
seem to fit here – at least, not
one involving Paul Dolan. To
begin with, he was married
to an attractive woman who,
from all indications, had
been present in the house
the previous night and that
Secondly, if Dolan had
killed the victim, he would
not have been foolish enough
to leave her body in his
bedroom for the police to
find. And he didn’t appear
harebrained enough to
attempt to pass off as a
suicide victim a person who
had been shot at least six to
nine times. So someone else
was involved. But who?
“There was a coppercoloured or maroon Cadillac
parked over there earlier this
morning,” a neighbour told
the officers. “I’ve seen it there
on other occasions too.”
Barnes also recalled seeing
the car parked in the drive
when he responded to the
disturbance complaint. Did
the Cadillac belong to Cindy
Baillie? If so, where was it
now? If not, then whose
was it? And who had driven
Cindy from her home in
Tahlequah to Gans?
While Sheriff Lockhart and
Assistant District Attorney
Daffin attempted to obtain
answers to these questions,
Proctor, Ottwell and Barnes
continued their examination
of the crime scene.
The gun might provide
a clue. Its chamber was
truecrime 5
filled with spent cartridges,
indicating that it might be the
death weapon. The detectives
requested a registration check
of the serial numbers, hoping
this would lead to a suspect.
However, it might take a day
or so for that information to
come through.
“There’s a bloodstain
on the living-room floor,”
Proctor noted. “It looks like
someone has tried to clean it
up. I think she was shot in the
living-room, then dragged to
the bedroom.”
The others agreed,
especially after they found a
a bullet hole in the back of
an armchair. That was the
only bullet hole in the house,
with the exception of those in
Cindy’s body.
“The victim was sitting in
that chair,” Proctor decided.
“Or,” Ottwell suggested,
“she was standing here where
the blood is next to the chair
and one of the shots missed
her, or went completely
through her.”
Outside, next to the back
door, they found two plastic
bin liners, one stuffed into
the other, along with a
bloodstained towel, which
must have been used to
sponge up the blood in the
living-room. What, though,
was the purpose of the bin
The most significant item
of evidence was recovered
from the bedroom. It was the
first hint that the killer might
not be male. It was a woman’s
white-and-orange striped
tank-top blouse, splattered
with blood. There were no
bullet holes in it. Did it belong
to Paul Dolan’s wife?
“Blowback,” was Proctor’s
opinion. Blowback is a
term used to describe what
happens to a human body
struck by a bullet. Blood, flesh
and body fluids erupt from
the impact in the direction
from which the bullet came.
“Whoever wore this blouse
was standing very near the
victim,” said Proctor. “And in
the direction from which she
was shot.”
By the early afternoon
Proctor and Ottwell had
accumulated a significant
amount of evidence. Foreign
hairs had been located and
preserved from the victim’s
body and from the blouse on
the bed. A bullet was removed
from the armchair. Judging
from the state of the corpse,
Cindy Baillie had died some
time between 7 and 9 a.m.
that day.
6 truecrime
The first hint that the killer might not
be a man was the finding of a woman’s
blood-spattered tank-top blouse in the
bedroom. And there were no bullet holes in it
Dr. Mohammed Merchant,
a state pathologist, would
later testify that the victim
had been shot eight times –
once in the back, twice in the
head and five times in the left
breast. In addition, there was
a stab wound in the throat,
made by a knife or some
other sharp object, thrust
upward to exit in the mouth,
piercing the tongue.
Meanwhile, the sheriff and
Daffin were learning more
from the witnesses.
“Greg Smith was over
there this morning,” Gerald
Reynolds and Thomas
Lindsey said. “We heard
quarrelling. One of the voices
belonged to Nadean Smith.
Nadean is Paul’s ex-wife and
Greg’s mother.”
Thomas Lindsey’s wife told
Daffin and Lockhart: “Sadie
Dolan came over about 9
o’clock or so, and she was
very upset. She said, ‘Nadean
is at the house and they’re
going to kill that girl.’”
By “they,” Sadie Dolan
said, she meant Lois Nadean
Smith, Nadean’s son Greg,
and a young woman named
Dolores Finn. Although Mrs.
Dolan later testified that she
was not present at the time of
the murder – and therefore
could not give an alibi for her
husband – she nevertheless
provided the investigators
with the details of a bizarre
set of events which seemed
to point the finger of guilt
away from her husband and
at one of three other people:
Nadean, Greg, or Dolores
Finn. Perhaps even all three.
According to Mrs. Dolan’s
courtroom account of that
fatal morning, the four
people, including the victim,
had arrived at the Dolans’
home at about 7.30 a.m.
Cindy Baillie appeared
terrified. She was bleeding
from the neck and blood was
soaking into the bodice of her
dress. Nadean Smith ordered
her to go to the bathroom
and take a shower. As Cindy
obeyed, passing Paul Dolan
on the way, she paused to
plead with Paul to help her.
“Nadean was behind
Cindy when she entered
the bathroom,” Sadie Dolan
testified. “Nadean said, ‘You
can say anything you want
to me, my ex-husband and
his wife. It won’t do you any
good. It’s gone too far.’”
After Cindy’s shower,
Mrs. Dolan continued, the
occupants of the house all sat
together in the living-room
and, in front of the intended
victim, began discussing
killing her.
“Cindy was begging for
us to help,” Sadie went on.
“Nadean said they had to kill
her, or Greg would be killed.”
“Do you know what they
coupled with crime-scene
evidence, made it essential
that Paul Dolan’s missing
visitors, who had presumably
come by the Cadillac, be
brought in for questioning.
By now it was obvious that
one of the people in the house
that morning had executed
Cindy Baillie in cold blood.
The question was: Which one
– and why?
Shortly after 1.30 p.m.,
the investigators issued an
alert for the occupants of
the Cadillac. Lois Nadean
Smith, 42, her son Greg and
Dolores Finn were wanted for
questioning in the murder of
Cindy Baillie. A specific alert
was radioed to the Tahlequah
Police, as the trio were
assumed to live there. It was a
correct assumption, for they
knew Lois Nadean Smith
very well.
“Meanest damned woman
in Oklahoma,” a Tahlequah
officer commented. He
Right, the house in Gans
where Cindy Lee Baillie
(above) was shot and
stabbed. Her body was then
dragged off into a bedroom
meant by that?” Sadie was
asked. She did not.
“Nadean asked my
husband to take them to the
60 acres to kill Cindy,” Sadie
continued. Paul Dolan had
replied that they could not
get there because the creek
was up. Besides, he didn’t
want to get involved.
“I heard Nadean say,
‘The girl is going to have to
die slowly,’” Sadie testified.
“Then Cindy said she
wanted to die fast. She was
going to have a baby and
she was concerned about the
Sadie said she left shortly
after that.
Statements from witnesses,
cited several instances in
which she had been involved
in bar-room fights and
disturbances. On at least one
occasion, he said, she had
drawn a gun and threatened
to use it.
“Nadean is mean,” Mike
Daffin would testify later.
“Nadean is a bully. I’ve never
seen so many grown men
afraid of one woman.”
During that hectic
afternoon and the days that
followed, the investigators
delved into the lives and
backgrounds of the Smiths,
mother and son, Dolores Finn
and Paul Dolan. They were
to be reminded that things
are seldom clear-cut when it
comes to murder, for several
motives surfaced during the
probe. Their problem was
that each motive pointed to a
different suspect.
Greg Smith did it, if one
believed an informant who
told the police that the victim
had phoned a “hit-man”
on the evening prior to her
murder and offered to pay
him an undisclosed sum of
money if he would kill Greg
Smith. No one seemed to
know why Cindy would do
this. Greg had found out
about the arrangement, the
informant said, and intended
to kill Cindy before she could
have him killed.
Nadean Smith did it, if one
believed another anonymous
caller, who said that Cindy
had turned police informer
against Nadean and Greg
because of their involvement
in drugs.
Other acquaintances of the
group insisted that Nadean
had killed Cindy because
Cindy had become pregnant
by Greg.
Dolores Finn did it, if one
listened to other witnesses.
They were to testify that Greg
Smith had been having an
affair with both Cindy Baillie
and Dolores Finn. This led
to jealousy between the two
women. One of the witnesses
claimed in court that Dolores
Finn had phoned her shortly
after returning from Gans
on the afternoon of July 4th,
telling her that killing Cindy
had been necessary because
Cindy stood in the way of her
happiness with Greg.
The only one who didn’t
seem to have a motive for
murdering Cindy was Paul
Dolan. As far as most of the
investigators were concerned,
everyone in the house that
morning should be held at
least partially responsible
for what happened. But the
law wouldn’t see it that way.
The law would want to know
who pulled the trigger – eight
ahlequah is a college
town, the home of the
Northeastern State University.
At about 3 p.m., not far
from the sprawling university
campus, Officer Albert
Penson spotted a coppercoloured Cadillac parked
in the street in front of the
rundown little house he
knew to be the home of the
woman the police were calling
Tahlequah’s notorious lady
Penson radioed for
back-up before attempting
to approach the house or
questioning, while lab experts
examined the Cadillac for any
evidence that might link its
occupants to the crime scene.
They found nothing.
Mike Daffin later described
the arrival of the Smiths and
Dolores Finn at the sheriff’s
office. “Dolores was quiet
and withdrawn. She looked
frightened. But Nadean
and Greg – they were really
putting on an act.”
“What’s going on
here?” the mother and son
demanded. “We don’t know
what you’re talking about. We
haven’t even been in Gans.”
“Both were arrogant and
abusive,” Daffin recalled.
“With me were Sheriff
Lockhart and Agent Kevin
Ottwell. We eventually agreed
that the only person who
would give us the time of day
was Dolores Finn.”
So Dolores was questioned
further, while the Smiths were
placed in holding cells at the
county jail.
Minutes later the young
woman had tears in her
eyes. With her tears came a
startling tale of terror that had
begun shortly after 5 a.m. that
Fourth of July at a motel near
Gans. And even hardened
policemen were horrified by
her story.
If Dolores was to be
believed, the list of suspects
could now be narrowed down
to two people – Greg and his
mother Nadean. According
to the girl’s story and her
later testimony, Nadean
phoned her at home at about
“I heard Nadean say, ‘The girl is going to
have to die slowly,’” Sadie testified. “Then
Cindy said she wanted to die fast. She was
going to have a baby...”
car. Patrolmen Loy Lee and
Kenny Buchanan responded.
The officers then entered
the house and surprised
Lois Nadean Smith and
Greg inside. They offered no
Nadean was partly drunk.
She was a hard-looking
woman with short, reddish
hair and a rough way of
speaking. Her son was taller
and slimmer, and he too was
a rough-talker. Shortly after
the Smiths were apprehended,
other officers found Dolores
Finn at her home. The
three were escorted to the
sheriff’s office in Sallisaw for
5 a.m. and asked her if she
wanted to “go party.” Dolores
described herself as Greg’s
ex-girlfriend. Then, when she
spoke to Greg, Dolores asked
him: “What’s your mom
buzzing on?”
“She’s just been drinking,”
Greg explained.
The Smiths picked Dolores
up in Tahlequah and the three
drove to a motel. Nadean
somehow knew which cabin
Cindy Baillie occupied. She
knocked on the door and
asked if Cindy wanted to “go
party” with them.
“What’s going down?”
Cindy asked Dolores,
unaware of any ill feeling
towards her, but apparently
suspicious nonetheless.
“It’s not cool for you to get
in the car,” Dolores warned
her, having overheard Nadean
and Greg talking on the way
“I can take care of myself,”
Cindy said as she got into the
Cadillac’s back seat. Nadean
got in with her. Greg drove,
with Dolores beside him.
Somewhere along the
way to Gans, Nadean began
accusing Cindy of having
snitched on Greg and of
trying to “set us up.” Dolores
didn’t know what she was
talking about. Cindy made the
same claim.
Nadean then took a pair
of black gloves from her
handbag, put them on, and
then seized Cindy by the
throat, saying: “You’ll never
see Cherokee County again.”
Greg took a paring-knife
from Cindy’s handbag and
held it up. “Look, mom,” he
said. “She was going to hurt
you with this.”
Nadean grabbed the knife.
“Were you going to hurt me
with this?” she demanded.
Then she thrust the blade
deep into Cindy’s throat
and twisted it slowly before
withdrawing it. Cindy burst
into tears of fright and pain
as the blood streamed down
her dress.
An hour later the four
arrived at the home of
Nadean’s ex-husband in
Gans. Dolores told how the
injured Cindy was forced to
take a shower, after which
Nadean ordered her to put
on her sandals. From all the
talk, she was to be taken
somewhere and killed. By
then Sadie Dolan had left
the house and Nadean had
compelled her ex-husband to
remain in the bathroom.
“If you’re going to kill me,
you’re going to have to kill me
right here,” Cindy said.
“All right, bitch!” Nadean
replied. “If that’s the way you
want it. Hand me a pillow!”
Presumably, Nadean
intended firing through
the pillow to prevent blood
blowback. Greg tossed his
mother a pillow. Nadean
gave it to Cindy, who was in
near-hysterics, begging Greg
to save her.
“Nadean started teasing
Cindy with the gun,” Dolores
told the investigators. “She
pointed it at her head. And
when Cindy moved the pillow
up to her face, she pointed it
at her stomach.”
truecrime 7
Above, the main street of Gans, Oklahoma, where the
murder was committed. Left, Officer Vernon Barnes who
was one of the first on the scene
Nadean was laughing at the
sport of it all. Sickened by the
affair, Dolores said, she got
up to leave the room. The gun
went off as soon as her back
was turned. This was the first
shot. It went into the back of
the armchair where Cindy
was sitting. Cindy looked
terrified as Nadean stood over
Paul Dolan came running
out of the bathroom, but
Nadean pointed the gun at
him and warned: “Get back
in and stay out of this!”
Dolores told how she
turned to continue down the
hallway. That was when she
heard more shots. She saw
Cindy’s head “bobble down
and she fell out of the chair
onto the floor. Nadean was
standing over Cindy with the
According to Dolores,
Nadean calmly handed the
gun to her son and told him
to reload it. While Greg did
so, he looked as calm as his
mother.Then Nadean began
stamping viciously on the
victim’s neck. “Bouncing up
and down on it,” was how
Dolores described it. Cindy
was still alive, but she was
whimpering and struggling
“Greg handed the gun
back to Nadean,” Dolores
continued tearfully. “And
he told her to go ahead and
empty the gun. And she got
behind Cindy’s body and
fired two shots into the back
of her head.”
8 truecrime
Four more shots were fired
into Cindy’s body. That was
when Paul Dolan burst from
the bathroom, protesting: “If
you had to do it, why did you
do it here?”
The next few minutes,
according to Dolores, were
extremely busy. Officer
Barnes pulled up outside.
Paul Dolan went out,
sent him away, and then
left himself. Nadean and
Greg then tried to stuff the
victim’s corpse into a pair of
bin-liners. When it wouldn’t
fit, Nadean dragged it into
a bedroom and ordered
Dolores to clean the blood
off the living-room floor with
a towel. Inside the bedroom,
Nadean placed the murder
weapon in Cindy’s hand,
saying: “There, that’ll make it
look like suicide...She won’t
fit in the car. We’ll just leave
her here. Paul will take care
of it.”
As the three pulled down
the window-shades and
locked the doors prior to
leaving, Nadean cautioned
Dolores that she would be the
next to die if she told anyone
about the crime. “I – I was
scared to death. I didn’t know
what to do, because I knew
Nadean meant what she said.”
Dolores Finn’s statement
cleared up many points about
the crime which had puzzled
the cops. But as he filed
first-degree murder charges
against the Smiths on July
6th, Daffin knew that the case
was by no means concluded.
The police believed Dolores
was telling the truth, but
Nadean and Greg were saying
nothing, except to profess
their innocence.
The investigation
continued, detectives learning
that the Smiths apparently
proposed to blame Dolores
Finn for the murder, claiming
that she had shot Cindy
during a bitter quarrel over
Greg Smith. Several witnesses
surfaced who would support
this. One of them was Paul
According to what Gerald
Reynolds later told jurors,
Paul Dolan explained away
the disturbance at his house
that morning before the body
was found by insisting that
the group “was just roughing
the girl up. Pulling her hair
and things like that.” Dolan
also told Reynolds that he
had talked Greg Smith out
of killing the girl, but then
Dolores Finn spoke up: “We
have to go ahead – it’s my ass
Several other witnesses
would support the Smiths,
describing the jealousy
between Dolores and Cindy.
Nadean and Greg’s plot to
transfer guilt from themselves
to the young woman who
was being held as a material
witness to murder, and who
was already being identified
as the state’s “star witness,”
emerged when the authorities
intercepted a jailhouse note
from Nadean, intended for
her son. The note instructed
Greg as to what his testimony
should be.
“Read this over and over
till you learn what to say,” the
note read. “Don’t let anyone
see you with it. Flush down
toilet when finished.
“Dolores put gun in
Cindy’s hand. Me and you
never touched gun. Dolores
pulled Cindy to the bedroom.
“I didn’t stamp on her
throat. Dolores did, if we are
“You have got to say that
me and you heard two or
three shots, ran out into the
hall. Cindy was in her chair,
holding knife. Dolores was
standing beside her with gun.
“I was in the bedroom.
You came back in...We heard
three or four shots and went
into living-room and Cindy
was laying on floor on her
back. Dolores was standing
with gun.
“We did not help clean up
blood. Don’t know where gun
came from. I did not once
have gun.
“Dolores and Cindy were
fussing. Dolores had been
taking pills and drinking beer.
“I did not try to choke her
coming from the motel.
“Dolores was very jealous
of you. I was never fussing
with no one. Dolores asked
Cindy to go to Gans with us.”
Mike Daffin knew that the
plot might succeed and the
Smiths be freed by a jury,
unless the investigators could
produce sufficient evidence to
counter the pair’s claims.
Proctor found, to his
surprise, that it was the victim
herself who had purchased
the death weapon from a
pawnshop in Tahlequah a
few weeks earlier. However, a
friend of the victim explained
that Cindy had loaned the
gun to Greg Smith in June
and Greg had refused to
SINCE 1976
Velma Barfield, 52,
North Carolina,
November 2nd, 1984,
Lethal Injection
Karla Faye Tucker,
38, Texas, February 3rd,
1998, Lethal Injection
Judy Buenoano, 54,
Florida, March 30th,
1998, Electrocution
Betty Lou Beets, 62,
Texas, February 24th,
2000, Lethal Injection
return it to her. Greg still had
the gun on the day of the
The state medical examiner
dispelled all rumours that
Cindy had been killed
because she was pregnant.
His examination of her body
showed that she was not.
Ballistics experts confirmed
that the victim had been
shot with the .22 pistol
found in her hand. Other
experts concluded that hair
specimens recovered from
the dead body and the
bloodstained blouse found at
the crime scene belonged to
Nadean Smith. But the most
remarkable piece of detective
work came from a forensic
chemist, Kenneth Ead, who
was to add the final touch to
the proof that Lois Nadean
Smith pulled the trigger.
Other agents had already
linked Nadean to the blouse.
They could prove that it was
hers. But it was Ead who
demonstrated that the person
who wore the blouse was also
the person who fired the fatal
Using an elaborate
system of experiments, the
forensic scientist showed by
comparing angles that the
blowback that stained the
blouse matched precisely the
angle of the bullet wounds in
Cindy’s body.
“In other words,” said
Prosecutor Daffin, “either
Nadean killed Cindy, or
someone had to stand directly
behind Nadean and reach
round her to fire the gun.”
Although no firm motive
for the crime had been
established, Daffin was
satisfied with the investigation
and was prepared to take the
case to trial. A court date of
November 29th, 1982, was
set, and he announced that he
eloquently against the death
penalty. He pleaded: “Give
her, under your verdict, what
this woman has never ever
had. Give her the freedom
to read, be creative, to
find herself. Give her the
day-to-day opportunity
to exist in whatever she is
allowed, or chooses, to involve
herself in.”
But Prosecutor Daffin
insisted that Lois Nadean
Smith deserved no mercy,
as Cindy’s murder had
been “heinous, atrocious
and cruel.” Nadean Smith,
“To the family, I want to say I’m sorry for
all the pain I caused you. Please forgive me”
would seek the death penalty.
On November 12th the
defence lawyers succeeded
in winning separate trials for
their clients. Lois Nadean
Smith went on trial first on
December 6th. As expected,
Dolores Finn was the state’s
star witness, and Nadean – by
now known as “the meanest
woman in Oklahoma” – was
found guilty of first-degree
murder on December 18th.
Her attorney argued
he said, had shown no
compassion for the pleas of
the frightened girl she had
tortured and then gunned
“There have been many
tears shed during this
trial,” he added, alluding to
outbursts by the defendant
and her witnesses. “But no
one cries for Cindy.”
The jury recommended
the death penalty, and on
December 29th, 1982, Judge
Since 1976, when the US Supreme Court lifted its ban on
capital punishment, 16 women have been executed.
This represents just over one per cent of the 1,400+
executions performed in the United States during that period
Christina Marie
Riggs, 28, Arkansas,
Frances Newton, 40,
Texas, September 14th,
2005, Lethal Injection
May 2nd, 2000, Lethal
Teresa Lewis, 41,
Wanda Jean Allen,
41, Oklahoma, January
Virginia, September 23rd,
2010, Lethal Injection
11th, 2001, Lethal
Kimberly McCarthy,
52, Texas, June 26th,
Marilyn Kay Plantz,
40, Oklahoma, May 1st,
2013, Lethal Injection
2001, Lethal Injection
Lois Nadean Smith,
61, Oklahoma,
December 4th, 2001,
Lethal Injection
Lynda Lyon Block,
54, Alabama, May 10th,
2002, Electrocution
Above, Teresa Lewis and
(below) Velma Barfield
Suzanne Basso, 59,
Texas, February 5th,
2014, Lethal Injection
Lisa Ann Coleman,
38, Texas, September
17th, 2014, Lethal Injection
Aileen Wuornos, 46,
Kelly Gissendaner, 47,
Florida, October 9th,
2002, Lethal Injection
Georgia, September 30th,
2015, Lethal Injection
Bill Ed Rogers sentenced Lois
Nadean Smith to die by lethal
At his subsequent trial
Greg Smith was convicted
of murder and given a life
Due to the almost
interminable appeals process,
his mother eluded the death
chamber until she was 61. By
then, however, she was “ready
to go home,” said a prison
spokesman. “She’s glad she’s
almost done with this.”
“Lois Nadean Smith has
had the privilege of breathing
for twenty years too long,”
commented her victim’s
daughter, who was four when
her mother was murdered.
It emerged that even at
high school Nadean Smith
had been known as “Mean
Nadean.” But the now
apparently contrite killer
issued a statement. “To the
family, I want to say I’m sorry
for all the pain I caused you.
Please forgive me.”
Attending Nadean Smith’s
execution at the Oklahoma
State Penitentiary on Tuesday,
December 4th, 2001, the
victim’s daughter said: “I
wish she’d thought about
this before she did it. If she
had, we wouldn’t be here
right now. You do something
of this magnitude, torturing
somebody, and you’re going
to have to pay the price for it.
She chose her path in life.”
For many, Lois Nadean
Smith’s remorse had come
19 years too late. “There was
not a peep in nineteen years
saying, ‘I’m sorry,’” another
relative of the victim said. “If
there’s no apology in nineteen
years, there’s no repentance.
She’s the same person now
that she was nineteen years
Lois Nadean Smith’s last
meal was barbecued ribs,
onion rings, strawberrybanana cake and a cherry
limeade. Then she was
taken to the death chamber,
given a lethal cocktail of
drugs and pronounced dead
at 9.13 p.m.
Greg Smith is still in
prison. He didn’t attend the
execution of the woman
whose fiercely protective
mother-love put him behind
bars for life.
And if the victim’s
daughter has her way,
he’ll never be released. “I
still have to go to parole
hearings, so it’s not
completely over,” she says.
“I’ll have to go and do
that until he dies.”
truecrime 9
Send your letters to: Comment, PO Box 735, London, SE26 5NQ or email
(please put your address on emails). We pay £8 for any that are published
Between February 1980 and July 1982, five children in
northern Florida died suddenly of ailments or accidents,
and three others had been taken to hospital. They had
all been cared for by 19-year-old babysitter Christine
Falling. Wherever she went, death seemed
to follow, and gradually publicity began to
catch up with her. Her story is compelling,
set as it is in the context of her own
poverty from birth; it had been poverty
that had shielded her from detection.
Authorities were prepared to blame the
deaths on diseases which seemed to exist
only too readily in an environment of
chronic poverty: encephalitis, myocarditis,
Killer of five
cot death and so on.
She eventually admitted her guilt, but
qualified her confession with the words:
“The way I look at it there’s some reason
God is letting me go through this. If God
hadn’t wanted me to go through this, He wouldn’t have
let it happen.”
Is there a chance of reading the full story of Christine
Falling in your pages? It would perhaps effectively
complement Jack Heise’s excellent article on Genene
Jones (“The Killing Nurse From Hell”) in the December
2017 issue.
Also, has True Crime ever featured the Tylenol
Murders, which happened in Chicago in 1982?
Pain-relief pills were laced with potassium cyanide and
sold to the public. The victims were strangers to the
killer or killers, and whoever was responsible was never
apprehended. This caused a nationwide panic in the US,
and copycat crimes appeared in Colorado and Florida,
where corrosive acids were substituted for eye-drops and
Stuart Davies, Barnstaple
It’s many years since TC looked at the Christine Falling
case.Watch out for it in a future edition! As for the Tylenol
Murders, would other readers like to know more about them?
In last October’s edition we reported on the faked
bullet holes which were drilled into a wall outside the
Magdala pub in Hampstead some years ago as a way
of attracting tourists (“Pub Faked Bullet Holes From
Ruth Ellis’s Gun” – TC Reports). Ruth Ellis, the last
woman to be hanged in Britain, had killed her lover
David Blakely outside the pub on Easter Sunday 1955,
but the “bullet holes” placed above a board recording
the famous murder were the work of the landlady’s
Reader Andrew Rigsby wrote in to say how
fascinated he was by the story because of his own
interest in the actual phenomenon of what he calls
gunfire graffiti.
Andrew explains: “I have run a self-funded
project called Gunfire-Graffiti UK since 2008. This
investigates firearm and shotgun discharges of all
descriptions into roadside structures as a means to
Did you know that in the 1920s and 1930s Irish
bootlegger Bill Dwyer used his profits from the sale
of illegally distilled alcohol to purchase the Brooklyn
Dodgers NFL Team alongside the New York Americans,
Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Quakers NHL
hockey teams? I thought this could form part of a
feature on mobster involvement in professional sports
in the US, exploring how far the influence of organised
crime used to reach in those far-off times.
Also, it would be an interesting to read about the
life and careers of the Elephant and Castle gang of
inter-war British gangsters. One of the gang leaders, a
Charles “Wag” MacDonald, later emigrated to the US
and worked as a bodyguard for Hollywood celebrities
including Charlie Chaplin and LA Crime Boss Jack
Cameron Camilla Boyle, Leicester
Thanks for your interesting suggestions.Would other readers
like to know more?
25 years ago
this month...
True Crime
January 1993
I have seen recently, in the newspapers, photographs of
notorious double child-murderer Colin Pitchfork who
has recently been moved to an open prison. He is being
prepared for release. I cannot understand the reasoning
behind any person who has committed this type of
appalling crime ever being put back into society. Who
are the people that make these decisions and how on
earth can they even consider releasing him or others like
him, ever? This man may have had a minimum sentence
of 30 years but just because he has reached that number
why is he automatically to be freed?
Charles Bronson, a criminal who has served much
10 truecrime
“the third degree,” might not stand up in court
today. “I never hesitated,” he said. “I’ve forced
confessions – with fist, blackjack and hose – from
those who would have continued to rob and kill if
I had not made them talk.” It’s an old argument –
do the means justify the ends?
By the 1920s, Willemse had adopted a more
modern approach to crime. He was the first to
identify American Bluebeard Helmuth Schmidt,
the lonely hearts killer who may have claimed
up to 40 lives. He did this by comparing two
handwritten advertisements placed in different
names and found that they matched. I wonder if
you have ever covered this fascinating case?
Andrew Stephenson, Newhaven
A full account of the Helmuth Schmidt case appeared in TC
February 2015. Copies are still available via the Back Issues section
of our website shop at or by calling Forum
Press on 020 8778 0514.
Above and below, road signs in the South-east of England
showing the signs of gunshot damage
experiment, test and rehearse. A good proportion are
drive-bys (weapons fired from a vehicle). I alone have
found and recorded over 350 sites.”
According to Andrew, Michael Ryan, the perpetrator of
the 1987 Hungerford Massacre, shot at road signs in the
area and others are still doing it as a grim reminder of the
Berkshire town’s darkest day.
“He [Ryan] perpetrated these type of acts and Thames
Valley Police recorded sites that were found. There is still
gunfire damage around Hungerford. ‘Gun-Trolls’ have
visited and left ‘signatures’” Andrew claims.
He adds: “I have some violent, bizarre and particularly
frightening examples. Some are very recent.” Andrew,
who published a book on the subject – Gunfire Graffiti
(Waterside Press, 2012) using the pseudonym Matthew
Seiber – says he regularly liaises with the police and local
authorities about the issue.
Pictured on the page are some of Andrew’s
examples. Other readers, have you spotted any gunfire
graffiti in your area?
longer in prison than Pitchfork, has never committed any
murder and yet the authorities are able to keep him in
prison. So why are they unable to do the same to a rapist and
murderer of young girls? Inexplicable!
G. McKnight, Harlow
The story of the collapse of the Dropper-Augie mobs made
for good reading (“How I Smashed The Dropper-Augie Mobs”
– December). Dutch-born Captain Cornelius Willemse
produced two books of memoirs – Behind the Green Lights
(1931), which inspired an eponymous movie, and A Cop
Remembers (1933). The books charted the development of the
NYPD from being not much more than one of the Gangs of
New York into the modern police force it is today.
From that first era, some of Willemse’s tactics, such as
Find us online at
I’ll wager that Joseph Metheny is a fantasist (“Barbecue Killer
Sold Victims As Special Meat” – December). There’s no evidence
that he served in Vietnam or that he ran a burger stand in his
native America and only two of his ever-increasing claimed
number of victims were ever found. Metheny was a morbidly
obese man living in a trailer park who had lost his live-in
girlfriend and also lost access to his son. He was a loser. Killing
two prostitutes only made him of interest to the local police. But
his claims that he’d murdered numerous people and that he was
a necrophiliac and a cannibal made him a talking point. Interest
in him grew stronger when he claimed that he had given human
meat to innocent diners at his roadside stand. It’s obvious that
he was an extreme example of Anti Social Personality Disorder
and wanted to upset and frighten as many people as possible
with his outlandish tales.
C. Davis, Weston-super-Mare
After reading your fascinating case report, “My Father Was A
Killer” (True Crime Winter Special, 2017), I had no doubt that
Walter Rowland was indeed the killer of victim Olive Balchin
and that he battered the poor girl to death with a hammer at a
bombsite in Manchester in 1946. I really didn’t have to weigh
up the options even though another prisoner, David John
Ware, admitted to the same killing. In many cases one will get
individuals claiming murders just for the sake of attention and
Even though Ware looked like Walter Rowland it was easy to
see he was not the killer as his account of the murder lacked
details only the “real” killer and police knew about. Then, to
my astonishment, when I turned the page I read the letter that
Rowland’s daughter sent to your magazine in 1991 and in it she
gave a damning indictment of her father. What a brave woman.
She also told of Rowland murdering her sister as a baby just so
he could avoid responsibity for a family.
June Rowland explained how tough a life her poor mother
had to endure at this fiend’s hand. It made harrowing reading.
I commend this lady for her letter, and she leaves no doubt just
what kind of a monster her father really was. The right man was
hanged in February 1947 for the murder of Olive Balchin. Had
he been rightly executed for the murder of Mavis Rowland,
years earlier, Olive would not have been battered to death.
Michael Minihan, Limerick
Your article “Pet Parrot Witness Nails Killer Wife For Murder”
(Chronicles Of Crime, November) was a bit of an eye-opener.
“The parrot was not used in court proceedings, though this
possibility was initially considered by the prosecutor” wasn’t
something I ever thought I would read. Yes, African Greys are
very intelligent animals and great mimics but how exactly were
they going to be able to use the bird in court? The mind boggles!
I’m glad they saw sense and didn’t use the bird and turn the
whole serious issue of murder into a joke.
Kevin Hollifield, Bargoed
truecrime 115
SEE THE person. I
know immediately if
the person I’ve caught
is the right one,” said South
Africa’s top detective for four
decades, the Columbo-like
Piet “Piet Byl” Byleveld.
The suspect sat before
Byleveld in the Brixton
Case report by
Donald Carne
Murder & Robbery
Squad’s interview room in
Johannesburg. He was a
gentle soft-spoken married
handyman called Cedric
Maupa Maake, 32.
“I want to see my wife,” he
said through dry, white lips.
“I can arrange that,”
Byleveld replied. The
chain-smoking detective,
who died in May 2017,
aged 67, was renowned for
the patient way he would
befriend and entice a suspect
to part with the information
he needed. He liked to refer
to them as his clients.
It was December 23rd,
1996, and at this time of the
year Piet would rather have
been somewhere else – at
home with his own wife,
Esmie, perhaps. “Cigarette?”
he asked.
“I don’t smoke,” Maake
Eight months earlier, in
April 1996, the Wemmer
Pan had been struck by a
series of murders. Wemmer
Pan, in central Pioneers’
Park, is a green oasis at the
heart of the bustling city,
used for recreation. The pan
or lake is home to rowing
clubs and sailing regattas, the
Turffontein racecourse sits
nearby and the Santarama
Miniland remains a major
tourist attraction.
The first death was of
an unidentified woman.
12 truecrime
She had been raped and
murdered. This was followed
in October by a series of
attacks on homes, with
robbery as the motive.
From December, tailors
had become the target.
Mostly of Indian origin,
these small family businesses
can knock you up a new
suit within 24 hours.
Most have also expanded
into dry-cleaning and
second-hand sales.
Maake would enter the
store and listen to the bell
above the door ring. He
checked he was alone.
Producing an old sweater or
other item of clothing, he
asked the owner how much
he could get for it. When
the owner
pretend to
get angry
and hit the
owner on the
head with a
hammer or
rock before
he took the
day’s takings.
of the
traders were
injured by
the blows. At
least one –
Thakor Patel – died. Were
we looking at a second serial
A survivor, Yogi Dheda,
34, became a local folk hero.
Maake had placed a bag of
clothing on the counter for
exchange. When Yogi looked
at the goods, he was struck
by a hammer. He fought
back and Maake
ran out of the
door. Later,
when officers
called to collect
the clothing as
evidence, Yogi
informed them
that he had sold
the clothing to a
well-wisher at a
These attacks
lasted until
May and June 1997, when
Maake switched tactics again.
Now a third series of attacks
began. This time the victims
were taxi drivers he lured
to remote areas. He held
them up with a pistol, like a
highwayman of old, and stole
their takings.
In June and July, he
Left, a mug-shot of
Cedric Maake. Above,
Maake is brought to
court. Right, Wemmer
Pan in Johannesburg’s
Pioneers’ Park
adopted yet another new
stratagem but for a different,
even more sinister purpose.
Nine isolated couples sitting
in their cars, enjoying the
views of the Wemmer Pan,
were attacked – the women
brutally raped and the men
killed. Amongst the first
killed was Ralph Ngwenya,
49. Maake then proceeded to
rape Ralph’s terrified friend,
Christina, 42.
Maake’s technique now
was to approach the man of
the couple and ask for help
Maake even further. He
appeared to go wild, roaming
the streets and hurting
any individual people
he encountered. Samule
Malame, 25, fought back
until Maake shot him three
times in the head. He raped
Samule’s friend, Catherine
Lekwene, 25, twice and
shot her in the knee before
running away. Almost
immediately, he bumped into
and killed David du Plessis
and Sarah Lenkpane.
The mayhem continued
between August and
November with another 13
shopkeepers attacked and a
woman killed. They included
shopkeeper Anil Metha,
55, whose head had been
cracked open like an egg by
in using a new
mobile phone.
“It’s beyond
me,” he said. “I
want to make a
Jerry Naidoo,
44, on July
11th, had been
pleased to help.
As he held the
phone, standing
before Maake,
he was shot
twice in the
stomach. Maake
then raped his girlfriend,
Charlotte Ndlovu, 28. The
next day, Maake repeated
the process with Moses
Ramothlhwa, 35, and Dorcas
Makhatsane, 26.
A week later, on July 18th,
something must have upset
a sharp-bladed hammer.
Finally, in December,
1997, Maake switched back
to an earlier approach.
Three more homes were
attacked, including that
of Arthur McIntyre, who
was killed with a hammer.
Others included Chaun
Yang Cao and Qi Cao,
owners of Victoria Fashions
in Rosettenville, and Cyril
Slattery, killed in his own
home with a hammer so
his old television could be
Five of Maake’s victims
were never identified and
there were many more
attacks where the victims
survived. Maake did not
always set out with the
intention to kill but often
robbery was the motive, or
rape or, in one case, naked
humiliation – when he
ordered a courting couple to
have sex in front of him.
The situation from the
start of the attacks was
confused and officers in
1996 lacked the
computer power
available today
to correlate
across cases.
believed at first
that they were
dealing with two
separate serial
killers – one
who focused on
tailors, whom
they named the
Hammer Killer,
and another who
was responsible
for the other
deaths, called the
Wemmer Pan
aake had been picked
up at the home of a
girlfriend. It was a routine
interview – his description
matched that given by a
witness – but Byleveld’s
instinct kicked in when he
saw the
look on his
victim’s face. “I
knew,” he said.
Byleveld had to
act quickly. New laws
said he could only detain
Maake for 48 hours without
making a charge. Through
force of personality and
reputation, he persuaded his
technical officers at Pretoria
to give up the remainder of
their Christmas holiday to
work on a DNA profile.
With only hours left
before the deadline, Captain
Luhein Frazenburg came
through with the news on
the phone – the samples
had matched. “Suddenly
Christmas had come for me
too!” Piet said.
The confirmation was
none too soon. Maake had
been playing up in the
holding cell, even throwing
his faeces at the station
officers. Byleveld had been
called in to calm him down.
He sat beside him in the cell.
“I’ve been so kind to you,”
he said. “I fetched your wife,
and I’ll bring her again if
you want me to – and your
Byleveld knew that
Maake was very respectful
of his mother, Malekgogo.
It appeared to do the
trick and Maake became
more amenable. They
chatted about sport and
entertainment and the gentle
things in life.
With the DNA results in
his hand, Byleveld spoke
plainly to Maake – another
of the great detective’s traits.
“Cedric, I know it’s you
who killed all those people
at Wemmer Pan, raped the
women and did all those
Maake watched him
impassively for a moment
and then a smile crawled
across his face. “Yes, I did
it. It was me,” he said. He
seemed proud to have made
his mark in life.
Maake could be described
as an equal opportunities
serial killer. He killed young
and old, both sexes, any
race and didn’t much care
how he did it – with a gun
for taxi drivers or couples
in cars; or a knife for single
males and females; or a
heavy rock or hammer for
It was unusual behaviour
for a serial killer but not as
uncommon as some may
think. By the time the small,
wiry, fresh-faced Maake sat
truecrime 13
before baggy-eyed Byleveld
in that warm Brixton office,
he could have clocked up
35 deaths and 15 rapes.
Twenty-seven deaths were
later confirmed.
Byleveld arranged a tour
of the crime sites with
Maake as his guide – there
were more than 40 in all.
From his victims, Maake
would take a souvenir – a
shoe from the man and
sometimes other items of
clothing. He left these with
his mother in Tzaneen in
Above, Byleveld speaking outside court following
Maake’s sentencing. Left, case files on Maake
Limpopo, close by Kruger
National Park.
They drove to his
mother’s house. Malekgogo,
a gentle, soulful woman
of great bearing, was
devastated to see her son
in police custody but it had
to be done – the clothing
would be invaluable
Maake’s mother said she
had been the first wife of
Maake’s father – but he
had married a second time.
This had left her and Cedric
impoverished. “It broke
Cedric,” said Byleveld. “He
told me that he hated his
father with a passion.”
Maake had dropped out
of school at 14 and taken
painting and gardening
jobs. His brother, oddly, had
joined the police and was
now a sergeant in Pretoria
– the same background,
the same home, the same
poverty but different sides
of the law.
On the way back to
Brixton in Jo’burg, Maake
offered to show Byleveld
where he had hidden
his pistol. They and two
sergeants in tow stopped
at a mine dump close to
Wemmer Pan. The pistol
was buried behind a tree.
Maake dug the pistol
out and then turned it on
Byleveld. “Suddenly he
bent down,” said Byleveld.
“Luckily I was on guard.
Bloody hell! He was going
14 truecrime
to surprise me,
grab the pistol and
shoot me.” The
killer was quickly
Although he
adored Sophie, his
wife, Maake told
Byleveld, he couldn’t trust
her. He discovered she was
meeting other men and had
been having sex with them
over the koppie (local hills).
It had tipped him over the
edge. He said it explained
why he liked to chase his
female victims up the old
mine dump before killing
Officers spoke to Sophie,
the mother of Maake’s four
children, and discovered that
she had no idea what Maake
had been up to for the past
18 months.
he connection between
the Wemmer Pan Killer
and the Hammer Killer
was made by Byleveld on
January 12th, 1998. Byleveld
had taken Maake to a pawn
shop where Maake had
sold the bicycle of Gerhard
Lavoo, one of the Wemmer
Pan victims. He had got
R120 (£15) for it. The alias
used on the receipt was
“Patrick Mokwena.”
Byleveld recognised the
name as the one used to
check in a shirt at one of the
tailors – one of the Hammer
Killer victims. He confronted
Maake with the news.
Cedric Maake’s trial before
Judge Geraldine Borchers
in the Jo’burg High Court
lasted for 11 months until
September 2000. He pleaded
not guilty to 133 charges
of murder (35), attempted
murder, numerous robberies
and possession of a firearm.
Geographic profiling had
been used to identify the full
extent of Maake’s activities.
It showed that most of his
murders took place close to
his home, his workplace, and
the homes of his brother and
The variety in Maake’s
approach had confused
investigators but a pattern
had emerged. The tailors had
been the “day job,” normally
attacked during the week.
The Wemmer Pan killings
took place at the weekends.
Perhaps Maake liked to enjoy
the tranquillity of the Pan
when he could.
Dr. Micki Pistorius, South
Africa’s leading expert
on serial killers – the aunt
of killer Oscar Pistorius
– said there was always
a pattern, even if it was
hidden underneath. “Serial
The variety in Maake’s work had
confused investigators but a pattern
had emerged. The tailors had been
the “day job,” normally attacked
during the week. The Wemmer Pan
killings took place at the weekends
murders are about patterns
in the mind of the killer,”
she said. “They are not
always obvious. Serial killers
are very conscious of their
own patterns. Police have
to decipher these patterns;
they’re incredibly difficult to
The court heard from
Maake’s survivors who said
that the mild-mannered
house painter would kick
and scream obscenities at
them as they lay close to
death on the ground – like
an animal out of control.
Maake behaved badly
in court. He would lose
control, scream and claw,
scare members of the gallery.
Ferocious, he had to be
restrained by court officials
on more than one occasion.
He would bang his head on
the dock and howl. He wept
freely whenever his mother’s
name was mentioned. On
one occasion, he had to be
carried from the court by six
police officers, wriggling all
the way.
Maake threatened state
advocate, Yolinda du Plessis,
with the same fate as his
victims, scowling at the
advocate as he did so. Judge
Borchers asked that he be
taken from the court. He
was examined by a doctor
and prescribed tranquilisers
but he refused to take them.
Cedric Maake was
convicted of 27 murders
and provided with 27 life
sentences. “The accused has
caused pain and suffering
on a very large scale,” Judge
Borchers said. “The offences
are extremely serious which
indicate the accused is a very
dangerous man who will
kill his fellow man without
compunction. It cannot be
permitted that society has to
run the risk of having such a
man in its midst.”
His total sentence, that
included all guilty verdicts
for numerous offences,
came to 2,499 years. He
took naps as Judge Borchers
read the verdicts allocated
to him over several days of
South Africa scrapped
the death penalty in
1994 but Maake’s case
tested commitment to
this policy. Whilst the
families of most victims
welcomed the verdict and
sentence, one relative
said to the media, “If
the death sentence was
still in place I would be
True Crime’s monthly diary of criminal events day by day as they were reported in the national newspapers. This month, news
from around the world in September 2017. Updates are indicated by the > sign. Researched by Tom Newman
September 8th
A FORMER Chicago
police officer who was shot
in the head while on duty
in 1988 has died from
his injuries,
aged 66.
hundreds of
serving police
gathered to
Bernie Domagala who
died three decades after he
was shot.
Above, Domagala in recent
times. Left, in his police days
In 1988, Domagala was
a volunteer with a Hostage
Barricade Terrorist Team
during an attempted
eviction of an unstable
former policeman who was
barricaded in an apartment.
Mr. Domagala was shot
in the forehead from a
.44-calibre pistol during the
standoff. His shooter was
declared mentally ill and
died in a state mental health
facility in the 1990s.
Mr. Domagala, who had
worked for the city’s police
department for seven
years, suffered cognitive
decline after the shooting.
The cause of his death was
ruled as homicide.
September 15th
at Manchester Crown
Court in connection with a
premeditated sex attack on
18-year-old aspiring vet Ellen
as she walked
through a park.
The 53-year-old
defendant stole
her laptop and
mobile phone
and left her for
dead near a
popular beauty
spot near a
wheat field close
to Orrell Water
Park in Wigan.
The psychology
student was
walking alone
in the park after revising at
Winstanley College in Orrell.
She had been intending to
return and meet up with
friends who were sitting
Ms. Higginbottom was
reported missing after failing
to return home following the
20-mile bus ride from the
college on June 16th, 2017.
Buckley later returned to
the park planning to move
her body, which he intended
to bury under the cover of
darkness. But he was thwarted
Above, a police officer stands guard at the crime scene. Left, killer
Mark Buckley and his victim Ellen Higginbottom
as a police helicopter with
heat-seeking equipment
hovered overhead and he ran
The teenager’s body
was found the next day. A
post-mortem examination
showed she had been
strangled and her throat
cut. She died from multiple
wounds to the neck. A spade
and leather belt were found
near the scene.
Detectives were shocked by
the brutality of the daylight
assault, and described it as
one of the worst killings in
recent years.
Buckley was arrested at his
home and admitted killing
Ms. Higginbottom but gave
no explanation for his actions.
He did not know his victim
and is believed to have been
lurking, waiting for someone
he could attack. Police
recovered a bag containing
condoms, lubricants, a ligature
and some of his victim’s
belongings together with a
length of rope and cord plus
a knife.
Found guilty of murder,
Buckley was sentenced to
31 years in custody in what
Judge David Stockdale
QC, the honorary recorder
of Manchester, said was a
“chilling” sexual assault on
a slightly built victim.
September 16th
Giuseppe “Pino” Pelosi,
59, in Rome has reopened
the debate over the
mysterious murder of
Italian film director Pier
Paolo Pasolini.
Pelosi was the only
person ever convicted
of the director’s killing.
Pasolini died
aged 53, and
at the peak
of his fame,
on the night
of November
1st, 1975. He
had picked up Giuseppe
Pelosi in his
Alfa Romeo
outside a bar. Pier Paolo
Pelosi, then
17, accepted
his invitation
for a ride and
the two men
went for a
meal. Later,
they headed
for a rowing lake at Ostia.
In the early hours police
stopped Pelosi speeding
in the director’s car. Next
morning Pasolini’s beaten
corpse was found.
While on remand Pelosi
confessed to a cellmate
that he had killed Pasolini
and told police the film
director tried to sexually
assault him with a stick.
He told them that he
used the stick to beat the
director and then fled.
Pelosi was convicted of
the killing and jailed for
nearly 10 years. However,
the trial judge concluded
that others had been
present at the murder
In 2005, Pelosi claimed
that he had not been
directly responsible for
Pasolini’s killing but that
he had witnessed it being
committed by three men
with Sicilian accents.
It is speculated that
two of the men were the
late Borsellino brothers,
Franco and Giuseppe.
l more Chronicles on page
truecrime 15
Below, police officers check lists
of Blackburn men against those
who had been fingerprinted.
Below right, suspect Peter
Griffiths. Below left, the
incriminating fingerprints
midnight on Saturday,
May 15th, 1948, when
the children’s ward of the
Queen’s Park Hospital in
Blackburn, Lancashire,
quietened down at last.
Nurse Sadie Thomas
tiptoed through the rows of
cots. She adjusted a blanket
here, felt a fevered brow
there. Then she slipped out
into the corridor and made
her way to the supply room.
Rather than illuminate
the entire room at that hour
she switched on a single
gooseneck lamp and went to
work at a table in a corner.
Completing her task she
turned out the light. Just
before she clicked it off she
gave a quick glance around.
When her eyes fell on the
window nearest her they
widened in horror. Staring
in at her from the other side
of the glass was the face of
a man.
She described it later as
being the most evil face she
had ever seen. It was long
and thin, the corners of the
mouth pulled down in a
46,000 WERE FIN
cruel grimace.
But what lingered most
firmly in her memory was
the ghostly pallor of that
countenance. Even the
cap and the shoulders of
the jacket he wore, she
insisted, seemed touched
with a “frosty whiteness.”
This phrase was later to be
Uttering a stifled cry she
fled down the corridor to
the office of the night sister.
There she collapsed in a
chair. It was several minutes
before she could gasp out
an account of what she had
16 truecrime
Nurse Thomas had the
reputation of being a calm,
well-balanced person. Her
story was not taken lightly.
The sister went into action
First she called the
switchboard and instructed
the operator to request
the night porter to check
the hospital grounds for a
prowler or peeping tom.
She also suggested that the
doctors in the basement
emergency ward be alerted.
“And call the police,” she
Next, she made a hasty
visit to check on the
The naked
body was found
concealed in
a clump of
bushes. An
that June had
been sexually
assaulted and
battered to
children’s ward. Immediately
her practised eye detected
something contrary to
regulations. One of the
windows in the ward was
wide open and the room
was being chilled by a damp
spring breeze.
She hastened to close it.
Then her worst fears were
realised. The small cot
nearest the window was
empty. The bedclothes were
strewn about the floor and
the bed’s former occupant
was nowhere to be seen. A
small night table had been
moved and a distilled-water
bottle which was customarily
Below, the ward at Queen’s Park
Hospital, Blackburn, from which
victim June Anne Devaney
was snatched. Below right, the
water bottle on which Griffiths’s
fingerprints were found
Who was the “white werewolf” who’d
snatched three-year-old June Anne
Devaney from her Blackburn hospital bed?
Police were convinced that whoever had
battered and raped the life out of her was a
local man. And there was only one way to
make sure they got him....
kept on top of it was now
standing on the floor
She summoned Nurse
Thomas who identified
the missing child as
three-year-old June Anne
Devaney, who had been
treated for a pulmonary
ailment. Then Nurse
Thomas fainted, thoughts
of the horrible face she had
seen – along with fears for
the missing girl – being too
much for her.
Two Blackburn policemen
then arrived in response to
the original summons.
When they learned of
the child’s disappearance,
they called headquarters for
reinforcements. Inspector
Stanley Barton and a squad
of detectives rushed to the
But the patrolmen had
already made a shocking
discovery. The naked
body of golden-haired
June Devaney was found
concealed in a clump of
bushes not far from the
window through which
she had been carried. An
examination disclosed
that she had been sexually
assaulted and battered to
Inspector Barton went to
work, for this was the third
child murder in Blackburn
within a few months. The
others had gone unsolved.
Clues had been scarce
in all of the cases, but
detectives now worked with
infinite patience as they
studied minutely each square
foot of the area into which
the maniacal intruder had
ventured. This painstaking
study produced the
following evidence:
(1) A faint sock print visible
on the highly polished floor
beside the cot occupied by
the small victim.
(2) Bloodstains on the
victim’s night garments,
which were found some
distance from the body.
(3) Numerous, though
almost microscopic, dark
fibres found on the victim’s
body and about the window
sill through which the killer
had entered the ground-floor
(4) Tiny fibres retrieved
from the sock print on the
(5) Two well-defined
fingerprints on the water
bottle which had been
removed from the table and
placed on the floor.
truecrime 17
The detectives were
assisted by David Jones,
staff biologist from the
North-west Forensic
Science Laboratory in
Preston. He was one of
the foremost scientific
crime experts of his kind.
He arrived in Blackburn,
along with detectives from
Scotland Yard and Inspector
Colin Campbell from the
Lancashire County Police.
Nurse Thomas told and
re-told her story of the
face at the window. She
maintained staunchly that
the cap and shoulders of the
jacket of the apparition-like
figure were “frosted white.”
Officers, puzzling over
this, concluded at the time
that what she had observed
was most likely an optical
illusion created by the
reflection of light. But,
after reenacting the
eerie occurrence many
times under varied
lighting conditions,
with no similar results,
it was concluded that
the imagination of the
frightened nurse had
been stimulated by
It was enough,
however, to contribute
an added touch of
horror to an already
blood-chilling case.
The killer came to
be referred to as
Blackburn’s “white
persons interviewed in
connection with the most
concentrated investigation
ever undertaken in
Blackburn. Hundreds of
telephone calls were checked
and re-checked in an effort
to discover a lead of some
At the end of two weeks
the police found themselves
exactly where they started.
The “white werewolf” might
just as well have been the
ghost that he had impressed
Nurse Thomas as being, for
all that officers were able to
find out.
Busy Scotland Yard men
gradually drifted off to other
By June the investigation
was left entirely in the
hands of Inspectors Barton
Above, a police officer
outside the ward where
the abduction took
place. Below, the spot
where June’s body
was discovered. Left,
a mug-shot showing
Griffiths in profile
ear clutched at the
heart of every parent
in the community.
Children were convoyed
to and from school
by members of their
families. None was allowed
to play in the streets,
especially after dark.
Most panicky of all were
the fathers and mothers
of the tots confined in
the children’s ward of
Blackburn’s Queen’s Park
Thousands of people
turned out to attend June
Devaney’s funeral on May
18th, and the child’s parents,
Albert and Emily Devaney,
received hundreds of
sympathetic letters.
The principal clue was the
fingerprints found on the
water bottle. But they were
of no immediate value as
a check disclosed that they
matched no known criminal.
There were more than
100,000 words in the
statements taken from
18 truecrime
and Campbell, who held a
lengthy conference with their
“What good is a police
force that cannot protect
the lives of our children?”
Barton asked. “I feel that
the killer lives here.” He had
bottle, police decided on
an unprecedented step – to
fingerprint the entire male
population of Blackburn. It
was an almost superhuman
Pointing to a wall map
of the community, Barton
By the second week in August nearly
42,000 prints had been taken but
none had tallied with those of the
killer. Then on August 12th, set
number 46,253 was found to match
the prints on the bottle
come to that conclusion, he
said, and, that being so, there
was but one way to proceed.
Armed with the
fingerprints from the
assigned detectives in groups
to respective areas. They
were to begin at streets in
the vicinity of the hospital
and fan outward. Each
was to be armed with a
fingerprint pad and other
essential equipment.
Inspector Campbell
and his men, establishing
themselves in an old
farmhouse on the outskirts
of town, turned the
building into a fingerprint
comparison headquarters.
There they worked around
the clock examining the
prints as they came in and
checked them against those
found on the water bottle.
The exacting task began
early in June and continued
on through July. By the
second week in August
nearly 42,000 prints had
been taken but none had
yet been found which tallied
with those of the killer.
There were few adult males
left to contact. It began to
look as though the gruelling
work had been for nothing.
Then on August 12th,
1948, set number 46,253
was found to match the
prints on the bottle. They
belonged to one Peter
Griffiths, 22, a flour mill
packer. A former Welsh
Guardsman, he had always
been out when detectives
called at his Birley Street
riffiths was arrested at
his place of employment
the same day. He was a tall,
slender young man with
thin lips that tended to draw
down at their corners. His
complexion was sallow and
covered with a light dusting
of the flour that he sacked,
which gave him a definitely
anaemic look.
Barton drew in his breath
sharply when the prisoner
was brought into his office.
For his cap and jacket
were sprinkled with a light
frosting of white dust. In
fact, it lay quite heavily on
his shoulders.
Nurse Thomas hadn’t
been imagining things after
all. Here was the immediate
explanation for her strange
description of the face she
had seen at the window.
Questioned, the ex-Welsh
Guardsman denied he had
ever been near the hospital,
let alone having been in the
children’s ward the night
of the slaying. “I know
absolutely nothing about it,”
he declared.
“But we have your
fingerprints,” remarked the
inspector. “How do you
suppose they got on that
water bottle if you hadn’t
been in the room and
touched it?”
The flour-packer studied
the tips of his fingers in
silence for a long time. Then
he replied, quite matter-offactly: “Very well. If they are
my prints I will tell you all
about it.”
In essence, Griffiths said he
removed his shoes outside the
ward, abducted the child and
silenced her cries by hitting
her head against a wall.
He had been drinking
heavily, he said, ever since
his girlfriend had broken
off with him three weeks
before, and it was this that
caused him to commit such
a terrible crime.
“He was a boy with a
restricted home life,” his
former girlfriend stated. “At
least – he said so. I tried to
help him, but I can hardly
believe what has happened.”
She added that on the
Sunday following the
murder, she accidentally met
him on the street. They went
for a walk together out to
the edge of town. Discussing
the murder, she asked in jest,
“And where were you last
He told her that he had
had a couple of drinks in the
pub and gone home about
11 o’clock.
“Never for a moment,”
she said, “did I suspect that
I was out strolling with the
killer of that little girl. I never
did see him after that.”
Now police marshalled all
available evidence against
Griffiths. This included,
besides the fingerprints,
the sock print and fibres
found at the scene and
on the child’s body. These
Below, an aerial view of
Queen’s Park Hospital,
showing the spot marked A
where Griffiths broke in, and
the spot marked B where
June’s body was found
matched similar fibres taken
from a suit which Griffiths
placed with a Blackburn
pawnbroker. The garment
was still impregnated with
flour. It also bore bloodstains
of a type which matched that
of the Devaney girl.
fter a preliminary
hearing on September
2nd, Griffiths was ordered to
be held for trial on October
15th at Lancashire Assizes.
He entered a formal plea
of not guilty by reason of
Inspector Colin Campbell
testified that the prints on
the bottle were a precise
The suit
Griffiths had
pawned after
the murder
was heavily
with the same
type of blood as
match for the samples
Griffiths had twice provided
for investigators, and which
he readily acknowledged
were his own. To
demonstrate this, enlarged
copies of both sets of
fingerprints were displayed
to the jury, with Inspector
Campbell indicating 16
ridge characteristics which
were in agreement on both
sets of impressions.
Inspector Campbell
also testified as to the
stockinged feet impressions
Griffiths in
his Army
uniform. The
was working
as a packer
at a flour
mill when he
Griffiths had provided for
investigators also being
remarkably similar in
characteristics with those
found upon the ward from
which June Anne had been
The court heard that the
suit Griffiths had pawned
shortly after the murder
was heavily bloodstained
in several locations on both
the jacket and trousers,
that the bloodstains were
of the same blood type as
June Anne Devaney’s, and
that fibres from this suit
were of a perfect match
to fibres found upon the
child’s clothing, body, and
the window ledge where
her murderer had evidently
entered the hospital.
During the trial, Griffiths’s
defence counsel said they
were not fighting for his
freedom, but for his life,
murder being a capital
offence in the United
Kingdom at the time. The
evidence against Griffiths
was overwhelming, but all
that remained was a question
of his sanity.
Dr. Alaistair Robertson
Grant, for the defence,
said that Griffiths was
displaying the early signs of
schizophrenia, a condition
for which he had treated
Griffiths’s father 30 years
earlier when he had been
hospitalised with the
Dr. Grant told the jury
that although Griffiths knew
what he was doing, he did
not realise the criminality of
his actions.
To refute this testimony,
the prosecution produced
the medical officer
truecrime 19
from Walton Gaol, Dr.
F.H. Brisby. Dr. Brisby
testified that, based on his
observations of Griffiths
throughout his incarceration
at Walton since August 14th,
Griffiths had been sane
when he had committed the
During the trial, Griffiths
described how he had
entered the hospital while
drunk, and had then picked
up the sterile water bottle,
which he told the court he
had intended to use as a
weapon if he was challenged.
He also described how he
had lifted June Anne from
her cot and then carried
her, in his right arm, out of
the hospital, down the field
to where he had proceeded
to beat and rape her. His
victim had trustingly placed
her arms around his neck
as he had carried her to this
Although Griffiths
confessed to having
swung the child’s head
into the boundary wall
approximately four times,
he made no response when
he was asked about the
sexual aspect of the assault.
Defence counsel tried
to show that damaging
admissions Griffiths had
initially made to police
had been made either
under pressure or through
Crimes That Made The Headlines
A GUN...
Judge In Tears As He Dons The Black Cap
20 truecrime
ignorance of his situation.
They had nothing,
however, to counteract
the damning fingerprint
On October 18th the
jury, after retiring for just
23 minutes, found Griffiths
guilty of murder.
He was sentenced to death
by hanging, the judge Mr.
Justice Oliver telling him:
“Peter Griffiths, this jury
has found you guilty of a
crime of the most brutal
ferocity. I entirely agree with
their verdict. The sentence
of the court is that you be
taken from this place to a
confessed to
having swung
the child’s
head into the
boundary wall.
He made no
response when
asked about the
sexual aspect of
the assault
lawful prison and thence to
a place of execution, and
that you there suffer death
by hanging, and may the
Lord have mercy on your
riffiths lodged no
appeal and so the
22-year-old 5ft 10in “white
werewolf ” of Blackburn
dropped through the trap at
Walton Gaol, Liverpool, on
the morning of November
19th, 1948. The execution
was carried out by Albert
Pierrepoint, assisted by
Harry Allen.
Griffiths’s hanging was
only the second after a
hiatus of several months as
Parliament debated a Bill
on the abolition of capital
Later, in his diary,
Harry Allen described
the execution as “a very
good job,” the death of
the condemned man
having been achieved in 30
Griffiths had paid
the ultimate price for
his crime, and the
investigation – with its
huge fingerprint probe –
had proved a landmark
in the history of British
police detective work.
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Stories from the pages of True Detective, Master Detective, True Crime and Murder Most Foul
HIS is the story of
Françoise Lapierre. It
is a story so terrible,
so utterly fantastic, that it
defies reason and leaves
us wondering how such
a monster could take on
human form.
Françoise was once a
beautiful woman – too
beautiful, she thought, to
remain for long the property
of one man. She became a
prostitute in Toulouse with
a licence to carry on her
profession, for in those days
prostitution was entirely
legal in France. But as the
years dragged by she realised
that she would never earn
enough money to keep her in
reasonable comfort in her old
age when her face and figure
wife was certainly a good
businesswoman; the Jug was
booming. The underworld
of Toulouse were not long
in discovering Françoise’s
den of iniquity and did
more there than sip an
occasional aperitif. The Jug
became a meeting place, a
home-from-home for thieves,
murderers and convicts on
the run. Françoise found
she could carry on there her
old occupation without the
knowledge of her husband.
On a night in February,
1932, the Jug was graced by
the presence of a particularly
drunk and distraught
customer. He pleaded with
Françoise to extend him
credit. She refused. The
customer became demanding,
She’s rarely mentioned today,
but there was a time when the
incredible case of Françoise
Lapierre shocked all France,
with calls for the widow’s
execution on the guillotine...
disappointedly on hearing
that he was still alive. The
result of this little incident
was that Françoise spent
three years in gaol. It was her
first attempt at homicide. She
made a better job of it next
She walked out of prison
in 1935 into the arms of
her ever-faithful Gustave.
But how old he looked, how
infirm. The Jug, he explained,
had been forced to close
owing to the persistence of its
creditors. He had nothing to
offer her but himself. Things
might be a little difficult
for a time, but surely, he
pleaded, love would find a
way. Françoise did not deny
this possibility, but looked
to herself. The years she
had spent behind bars had
taken their toll. Her cheeks
were sunken, her face had a
broken, stricken look. But her
figure was still almost superb.
Françoise lived quite
happily on Gustave’s pension
for a few months. She
began to feel much brighter
his face contorted, his eyes
staring. His hands were
clasped to his stomach and
his breath came in short
gasps. “My stomach!” he
screamed. “It is on fire!”
On March 28th, 1936,
Gustave Lapierre died of
heart failure. Françoise
dabbed at her dark eyes
with a lace handkerchief
as the doctor explained
her husband’s death. “He
was only forty-seven,”
complained Françoise.
The doctor tried to
comfort her. He patted her
on the shoulder. “Sometimes
these things happen without
warning, Madame Lapierre.”
The women of Toulouse
thought there was something
strange in the death
of poor Gustave. The
menfolk shrugged it off
and exchanged knowing
glances among themselves.
A sick man like Gustave
should never have married
so passionate a woman as
Françoise, they claimed.
A week after her husband’s
began to sag. She needed a
man who would support her
for a lifetime, one who would
not escape with the dawn.
Françoise, in fact, felt the
need of a husband.
At this crucial time there
entered Françoise’s life an
unfortunate by the name of
Gustave Lapierre. Françoise
gladly took his name,
marrying him in January,
1927. It was Gustave’s hope
to reform Françoise and
mould her into a model
wife. He was a sick man and
unable to do much work. He
therefore welcomed his wife’s
suggestion that his excess
cash should be invested in
a bar that was up for sale.
She called her bar the Jug
and spent most evenings
behind its counter. Gustave’s
efforts at reformation were
having little effect, but his
22 truecrime
obscene. He banged his fist
on the bar and told Françoise
what she was and what he
thought of her.
Françoise’s fine bosom
heaved with anger. “You
shall not insult me, you
filthy drunk,” she screamed.
She fumbled under the bar,
whilst Gustave was looking
paler than ever. A great
sluggishness had come over
him. Throughout the day he
would sit around the house
half asleep and at night was
in no mood to respond to
Françoise’s tender caresses.
And tender she was to her
“What you need,” she breathed, “is someone to
take care of you, someone to mother you when
you’re sick and make you strong again”
brought up a rusty revolver
and let loose with a volley of
The drunk pitched to the
floor. He lay there, bleeding
profusely until the police
arrived. Françoise had
made her first kill, or so
she thought. She screamed
ailing spouse. The young
bloods of Toulouse were
amazed and sorry that she
was still an unobtainable
One evening Gustave
rose from the dinner table
with an agonising groan. He
staggered about the room,
death Françoise left the city
of Toulouse. The bright lights,
the pavement cafés and the
tree-shaded avenues were out
of harmony with her grief. If
some housewives thought her
departure was abrupt, their
suspicions were tempered by
the realisation that the widow
Lapierre wanted to flee from
her sorrow. Moreover, they
were relieved that there was
one less temptation in the
streets to lure away their
Françoise took her grief
and the pension paid to a
war veteran’s widow by the
government, to Saint Girons,
60 miles from Toulouse.
Here, indeed, was a place to
be alone with one’s thoughts.
On Saturdays the farmers
came to Saint Girons to
do their shopping. The rest
of the week the place was
No longer the
glamorous, lethal
lady, Françoise
Lapierre is
escorted to the
kitchen for a
re-enactment of
the grisly murder
a ghost town with geese
waddling uninterrupted
down the street and children
playing to their hearts’
content on the pavement.
On a bright morning soon
after her arrival Françoise
saw Juan Dedieu taking his
morning constitutional a few
paces behind the geese of
Saint Girons.
He was a 75-year-old
ex-bandit with a patch over
his right eye and had served
a five-year term in prison
for murdering his mistress.
Françoise decided he was
altogether to her liking. He
was old, infirm and lonely,
not to mention the fact that
he was rumoured to be
exceedingly well-to-do.
It was love at first sight.
Dedieu and the widow
Lapierre had a great deal
in common. They had both
lost their mates in similar
circumstances and shared
the same interests. She
followed him to the zinc-lined
bar of the local café and
introduced herself. Soon he
was exercising the privilege
of buying decanters of wine
for her.
“And,” Françoise continued,
huskily, “I need you.”
That did it. On September
12th, 1936, Dedieu
moved into Françoise’s
blue-shuttered cottage. He
brought with him a steel
safe, the contents of which
had not been left out of
One philosopher of Girons expressed the opinion
of many. “Such an old man had no business
marrying such a woman of fire,” he said
Françoise’s technique was
simple: “What you need,”
she breathed, “is someone to
take care of you, someone to
mother you when you’re sick
and make you strong again.”
Françoise gazed at Juan, her
soul in her eyes. The old man
became lost in their depths.
Françoise’s calculations. It
was said that the aged Juan
did not trust banks and that
the safe contained the loot of
his lifetime of crime.
Juan Dedieu’s marriage
was well timed. Within 24
hours he had reason to
bless his devoted spouse.
She ministered unto him
constantly while agonising
pains burned his stomach
and his heart pounded until
it shook his whole being.
For four days he tossed
on his deathbed, babbling
incoherently, screaming,
whimpering, groaning.
Through a haze of agony
he saw her. She was ever by
his side, watchful and ever
ready with a soothing drink.
Perhaps in a moment of
agonised delirium before
death Juan Dedieu saw
the creature beside his
bed as she really
was. Perhaps she
R W an
U EN en art
M R y H P 19
truecrime 33
Above, a street in Toulouse. The underworld fraternity
were not long in discovering Françoise’s den of iniquity
even taunted him.
“He was seventy-five,” the
doctor consoled Françoise.
“You must remember that the
Grim Reaper likes to go after
the old. In his condition it was
better that he should die.”
The citizens of Saint Girons
shrugged as they watched the
gilded hearse go up the hill to
the cemetery. Behind it, clad
in black and alone, was the
mourning widow, the widow
Dedieu. One philosopher of
Girons expressed the opinion
of many. “Such an old man
had no business marrying
such a woman of fire,” he said.
As far as Saint Girons was
concerned the incident was
closed. The widow Dedieu
left by bus the next day for
Toulouse. She sent men to
the cottage she had shared
with her late husband. They
collected her belongings and
the steel safe from the cottage
and brought them to her.
In Toulouse Françoise
returned to “The Jug.” Once
more she became the belle of
the dive. The young men were
fascinated by this mature,
disdainful woman. But she
had no time for the youths
and seemed little interested
24 truecrime
in middle-aged men desirous
of her charms. She loved a
gentle nature, a wry neck, a
wheezing chest. Relentlessly
she pursued the elderly men
who came to “The Jug.”
It became a joke with the
habitués that Françoise found
old men better lovers – how
grim a joke they never knew.
May, 1938.
A week after taking up
residence with the widow
Dedieu, Dupont asked her to
get him a bottle of hepascol,
a liver medicine, from the
local chemist. He had severe
cramp in his stomach and
found himself feeling drowsy
all the time. When Françoise
returned with the hepascol,
Dupont, a retired police
department clerk, noticed that
the seal of the bottle had been
With hands clasped to
his aching stomach he eyed
Françoise suspiciously.
“Why is the seal of the bottle
Françoise smiled. “I felt
somewhat ill myself. I thought
you wouldn’t mind my taking
a little of the medicine.”
“But the bottle,” gasped
Dupont, terror in his eyes, “it
is full!”
Françoise claimed she had
been insulted by her lover’s
inference. She pouted her
sensuous lips. “For that,
Monsieur Dupont, you can
in future buy your own
She flounced out of the
room taking the broken-sealed
bottle with her. Shortly after
her angry exit Dupont left the
house with his luggage. He
stumbled with the weight of
his cases and the lethargy that
seemed to have come over
him with his illness. He went
at once to a doctor.
The doctor was not long
in making his diagnosis.
“Monsieur, you have
swallowed a great deal of
poison. I suggest you go at
once to the police.”
Adrien Dupont was in no
Louis Lebreton saw no omen in the fact that
Françoise had bought a black dress. His only
thought was that it showed off her figure
She bought a small house in
the Pyrenees foothills not far
from Toulouse and installed
therein an admirer by the
name of Adrien Dupont. He
was 69.
Well-meaning friends
cautioned Dupont and told
him he was acting like an
old fool over so young a
woman as Françoise. But their
warnings were unheeded. He
dipped into his life’s savings
and furnished her new cottage
from top to bottom. He paid
her a year’s keep in advance
and moved in with her in
condition to go anywhere.
For four long months he
was confined to hospital
with violent stomach trouble.
Moreover, he was sure that
Françoise would have had
the intelligence to destroy the
incriminating evidence. He
was also certain that he could
not take his accusation into
court and decided to go into a
home for the aged and forget
the whole affair. It was thus
that Françoise’s third attempt
at poisoning failed.
Françoise returned to
the Jug and found herself
another elderly admirer. At 73
Louis Lebreton was still man
enough to admire a beautiful
woman. She encouraged
him and flattered his senile
vanity. Within a few weeks
he was a slave to her slightest
whim. He accompanied her
to another small house she
had purchased not far from
Toulouse. Lebreton liked the
house and moved in with his
new mistress. He brought
with him two van-loads of
furniture and an assortment
of jewellery and cash.
Lebreton had heard the
rumours about Dupont and
his sudden illness. However,
Françoise laughed the matter
off and flattered Lebreton
that he was of far sturdier
physique than poor Dupont.
Lebreton swelled with pride.
He saw no omen in the fact
that Françoise had just bought
a black dress; he only saw that
the sombre garment showed
to perfection every line of her
lovely figure.
She was by his side when
the agony came. This creature,
this horror of a woman, sat
and watched another of her
victims die an agonising
death. The screams, groans
and pitiful writhings of a
defenceless old man could not
move her.
Gossip now spread rampant
about the Toulouse area. Four
men had become enamoured
of Françoise; three of them
she had escorted to their
graves and the fourth was in
hospital. There was also the
matter of the man she had
shot in the Jug, bringing her
victims to five in number.
Gossips began at last to
whisper, but nothing was
done. It seems incredible that
the French police had not
investigated deaths that were
so obviously unnatural.
As if to discredit these
whispers, Françoise pursued a
younger man, Leon Andrieu,
a robust man of 45. He
was strong and handsome.
The only drawback as far as
Françoise was concerned was
that he was a married man
with five children. She was
not, however, one to let such
a minor consideration stand
in her way. Andrieu was a
building contractor and had
a sizeable income. Françoise
persuaded him to move into
the cottage that Dupont had
so hurriedly fled.
Andrieu’s health seemed
to blossom in the country air
and continued to do so for
u continued on page 29
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u continued from page 24
months. The tongues that
had wagged suspiciously
against Françoise were stilled.
Obviously the Toulouse gossip
grapevine had been too hasty
in seeking sensationalism.
While one could not
dispute the fact that three
of Françoise’s mates had
perished, one had to admit
that they had all been in
the twilight of life when she
married them. Françoise had
now chosen a man of good
health and young. Perhaps
tragedy had stopped stalking
Curiosity as to the cause of
death of Françoise’s various
amours was interrupted by
the Second World War. Leon
Andrieu, who had made
such good money in his
construction business, found
There is a limit to the pain that a human being
can endure, and the agony Leon Andrieu felt in
his stomach reached that point and he died
result of being a brothel. The
better-class citizens of Tarbes
had given it a wide berth.
She pointed out that she was
entirely competent, no matter
to what use the establishment
might finally be put. But Leon
was cautious.
“You are losing your spirit,”
Françoise flared, adding
pointedly, “You are getting
too old.”
This last gibe struck home.
Leon was afraid that he might
lose his beloved Françoise.
He agreed to talk business
with the bar owner, a retired
circus magician by the name
In her domestic life
Françoise was now the soul
of respectability, that is by
comparison to what she had
been. The war years were
roaring past and Andrieu
seems to have been quite
healthy. He was not allowed
to set foot in the Flash, for
Françoise did not consider
him the right type to mix
with her exalted customers. It
seemed, at last, that murder
would not this time figure in
the calculations of Françoise
It was inevitable, however,
that Françoise should in time
Pierre Larran’s house in Tarbes.
“Someone is being cooked on Madame
Fourasté’s stove,” a witness told police
few people anxious to build
houses that any day might
tumble before Hitler’s guns.
Leon decided to retire into
the country with Françoise,
but found to his dismay that
his loving mistress was in no
mood to retire.
“We cannot simply vegetate
in the country,” she told him
in the autumn of 1940. “I
have heard of a wonderful
business opportunity, one too
good to miss.”
The venture that Françoise
proposed was the acquisition
of a bar in the nearby city
of Tarbes. She told him it
was a jewel and pointed out
that she was not altogether
inexperienced in the running
of such an establishment. The
bar had previously failed as a
of Alfred Tourrat. But it
was Françoise who set the
terms. Tourrat was to receive
500,000 francs a year for the
rest of his life. He did not
realise the manner of creature
with whom he was dealing
and looked forward to an
adequate income.
Françoise named her
new venture the “Flash.”
Overnight she turned it into
a sordid, filthy rendezvous of
convicts, prostitutes and drug
dealers. It was even more of a
success than the Jug had been,
and she kept it open day and
night. She was nearly always
there, bellowing orders to her
underlings, reproving drunks
and encouraging German
soldiers and officials.The
Flash paid well.
grow tired of Andrieu. The
next victim of her charity was
Jean Fourasté.
Françoise was immediately
attracted to him. She strode
over to his table, smoothing
the wrinkles out of her
dress and swinging her hips.
He eyed her silently. She
smiled slowly. She informed
him that she had a private
room upstairs and that he
would be most welcome.
Her eyes told him the rest.
Before long Fourasté was
a regular customer of both
the Flash and its upstairs
room. Everyone knew of
the romance except Leon
About this time, Alfred
Tourrat, the former owner of
the bar, began to complain
that he was not being paid
the annuity Françoise had
promised him. He had sued
her twice already for the
money through the years and
was threatening to file suit for
the third time. Françoise felt
that she should do something
to make her relationship with
the former bar-owner more
She put on her most
seductive clothes and painted
the lines out of her haggard
face. As a token of her esteem
she had a duck roasted
which she took with her to
Tourrat’s home. Her efforts
at seduction seem to have
been successful for Tourrat
abandoned the idea of suing
her. The duck, uneaten, lay
on the kitchen table. After she
had gone Tourrat took the
duck out to his pigs. He did
not wish to waste it but was
not hungry himself. The next
morning his pigs lay stiff and
bloated in their sty. Tourrat
must have realised that the
duck was poisoned, for he
informed Françoise that the
threatened suit was on again.
She was forced to give up
the Flash and let it return to
Tourrat in 1944.
It was not altogether
unfortunate for Françoise that
she was forced to give up her
lucrative business. The war
was drawing to its close and
Frenchmen were beginning
to wreak their revenge upon
those of their countrymen
who had collaborated with the
German occupation forces.
The Flash had been popular
with the Germans in Tarbes.
Françoise saw the danger.
When victory came for the
allies and the ancient bells of
Tarbes Cathedral rejoiced,
Françoise was safe in yet
another country hideout. With
her was Leon Andrieu.
and Leon were
both making plans for
the future. Françoise was
scheming to win the devotion
of Jean Fourasté. while Leon
was anxious to get back into
the building business. On
hearing that Leon would
need a new foreman for his
construction gangs, Françoise
suggested strong, virile Jean.
Leon was blissfully unaware
of the relationship that had
existed between his mistress
and Fourasté. He met and
hired Jean Fourasté with no
At night as she lay in Leon’s
arms, Françoise would dream
of Fourasté, the only man,
it seems, she had ever loved.
truecrime 29
in her life. The only way she
could possibly be near him
was to move into a two-room
apartment in the Fourasté
cottage on the outskirts of
Tarbes. This she did, but
there seemed no way for her
to have Jean to herself. There
was only one way she could
think of attracting Jean other
than with her body. Françoise
went off once more in the
pursuit of money.
She knew there was no
point in her returning to
the streets for if she could
not attract Jean there was
no reason to suppose that
she would be able to attract
anyone else. Early in the
spring of 1950 she heard of
Martha Bron. Martha was a
poor old soul of 80 and badly
in need of charitable services.
She owned two cottages
but was unable to take care
of herself. Françoise visited
her one day and pointed out
that for a consideration she
Françoise Lapierre’s last love,
Jean Fourasté, is escorted
to Toulouse for questioning.
He insisted his mistress was
innocent of all charges
Somehow Leon became
aware of her love. Perhaps he
heard her whisper Fourasté’s
name in the long night or
perhaps, again, he saw the
look in her eyes every time he
beheld her. The fact remains
that he came to know that his
mistress had been unfaithful
to him.
“You filthy adulteress!” he
bellowed. “You unspeakable
harlot!” Leon Andrieu did not
know that Françoise had once
shot a man for a similar insult.
Françoise said nothing but her
eyes, those dark eyes, flickered
for a moment. If Leon could
have seen them, if he had not
been blinded with rage, he
might have lived longer.
A few days after Leon’s
accusation he became ill.
Time had no meaning to him.
The day was as agonising
as the night and the dawn
brought no peace. There is a
limit to the pain that a human
30 truecrime
being can endure; a point is
reached where pain becomes
so intense, so terrible, that
the spirit and the will to live
surrender. The pains in Leon
Andrieu’s stomach reached
that point and he died.
The doctor shook his head
sadly. “A congestive condition
of the heart,” he said.
“Hastened on by the summer
heat. One learns to expect
these things.”
Françoise attempted to cry.
The sounds that came forth
were hardly sobs. They were
more muffled waves of hard
suppressed laughter. She had
succeeded once again. The
doctor was impressed with the
love Françoise displayed for
her dead lover.
This sub-human being,
Françoise, was not yet
content. She had seen the last
of Leon but Jean Fourasté
was not yet hers. He seemed
to remain faithful to his wife
Madeleine Conte was completely taken in by
the widow’s kind offer and moved in. Two days
later a doctor pronounced her dead
and children and to have
forgotten all about Françoise.
But she was frank with
herself. Françoise was no
longer simply not beautiful,
she was ugly, grotesque. Her
face had lost its beauty years
ago, but now her figure had
reached such proportions that
none of her seductive dresses
would fit her. And yet she felt
a great longing to be loved.
She wanted Jean more than
she had ever wanted anything
would be willing to take care
of her. “Just sign your houses
over to me and move into
my apartment,” Françoise
advised. “I will take care of
you and I feel sure I shall find
it a pleasure.”
Martha reached out for
the helping hand. Françoise
agreed to house, clothe and
feed her and in addition
agreed to pay an annuity
until her death. The feeble old
woman did not ask much of
life. She wanted to live the
rest of her days in the peace
and comfort to which her age
entitled her. A contract was
drawn up before a solicitor
and on June 4th Martha Bron
moved into Françoise’s garret
How Martha died is not
quite clear. She may have
been a victim of the same
poison that was given to
Françoise’s victims or she
may, by some ludicrous
twist of fate, have died a
natural death and saved
Françoise the trouble of
another murder. The fact
remains that she died. She
died and left Françoise the
two cottages that were her
only possessions. It seems too
much of a coincidence that
Martha’s death fell only a
week after June 4th, the date
on which the agreement for
the cottages was reached.
At long last a number of
people began to act on their
all the tests known to modern
science. He found no traces of
It seemed that Françoise
had been vindicated, but
lingering in young Andrieu’s
mind was the doctor’s
statement: “There are poisons
that can always be detected
and analysed. But there are
others that leave no trace after
a while.” The doctor’s words
haunted Andrieu and left him
still suspicious of Françoise
Lapierre. He knew, however,
that he could not prove his
father had been murdered.
What Andrieu could prove
was that his father’s jewels
and money were missing,
as well as his furniture
and personal belongings.
The little man sobbed with sheer terror...
“I am not joking, I saw a foot, a human foot in a
pail...It was sticking out, I saw it, I saw it!”
The small house and land Françoise purchased
in the foothills of the Pyrenees not far from
Toulouse. It was here that she installed an
admirer by the name of Adrien Dupont
suspicions. One of these
was a soldier, the son of
Leon Andrieu, who had just
returned from the front in
French Indo-China. He heard
of the death of Martha Bron
and decided that his father’s
death should be investigated.
Andrieu had no idea of the
number of people who had
fallen victim to Françoise’s
charms. He was only
interested in the strange death
of his father. “My father
was as healthy as a bull,” he
claimed. “I do not believe that
he died of natural causes and
I want his remains exhumed.”
A court order was granted
instructing that the police
dig up the body. A highly
competent pathologist made
of money to the Andrieu
family by court order. She
was an ugly, destitute old
woman without attraction or
charm. Her outlook was bleak.
There was but one friend to
whom she could turn; one
man yet remained who had
at one time been captivated
by her sensuous charm. Jean
Fourasté was still alive.
On the second day of her
freedom she appeared at the
door of the Fourasté cottage.
There was still enough
magnetism in Françoise’s eyes
to make Jean remember the
little room above the Flash.
He invited her in. Once more
she took over the two-room
garret in his house. She
viewed his wife and mother-
Investigation proved that
Françoise had taken these
items. She was arrested on a
charge of misappropriation
of Leon Andrieu’s estate and
sentenced to serve one year
in prison. Andrieu also had
the satisfaction of knowing
that Françoise would have to
pay damages. But this was not
enough. His father, Andrieu
was sure, had been murdered.
But he could produce no
evidence to support his fears.
And so it was that in
February, 1952, Françoise
Lapierre was free once more,
free to go in search of further
victims, free to seduce, free to
torture, free to murder. She
was now penniless from the
expense of paying large sums
in-law with distaste. They still
stood in her way.
decided that it was
in her own interest to be
charming to the two women
in Jean’s life. She invited them
to her room for cocktails
before dinner. She plied them
with wine during the meal
and even produced liqueurs
with the coffee. Whether the
wine tasted bitter or the ladies
were simply suspicious is not
clear. When Jean returned to
his home that day he found
that his wife and motherin-law had fled and that
Françoise had moved from
her garret and installed herself
in his bedroom. Exerting
her utmost charm, Françoise
persuaded Jean that things
would be better this way.
They lived together in the
cottage for some time. They
heard that Mme. Fourasté
and her mother were living in
a mountain cabin about 100
miles from Tarbes, afraid, it
seems, to return.
In time Françoise suggested
that she and Jean move to
Arreau, a town about 30 miles
from Tarbes. Françoise was
not very popular in Tarbes
and Jean found that his old
friends avoided him. He
was agreeable to the idea.
Agreeing with Françoise was
beginning to become a habit
with him. They moved to
Jean managed to get three
jobs in Arreau. He was church
bell ringer, special policeman
and helped the slaughterhouse
inspector. But Françoise had
time on her hands. Moreover,
the money that Jean earned at
his three jobs was not enough
for her requirements.
The house that Françoise
and Jean were renting
in Arreau belonged to
70-year-old Madeleine Conte.
Madeleine lived in a miserable
hovel in order that she might
rent out her house. It seemed
a golden opportunity to
Françoise. Once again she
played upon the weakness
of the aged. The cool,
cold-blooded ruthlessness of
Françoise is almost beyond
belief. She told Madeleine
the old story of how she
would care for her, how she
would supply her every need.
Old age can be lonely and
Françoise spoke soothingly,
sympathetically. The old
woman was completely taken
in. She agreed to Françoise’s
favourite annuity and
caretaking offer and moved
into the rooms at the top of
the stairs. Two days later a
doctor pronounced Madeleine
Conte dead.
The people of Arreau knew
little of Françoise. They knew
nothing of her reputation in
Tarbes, Toulouse and Saint
Girons. They were seeing her
in black for the first time and
were doubtless impressed by
so great a display of grief.
There was considerable
confusion about the death
certificate on this occasion.
Everyone seemed to
remember everyone else
having signed it or seen it.
Françoise claimed that she
was too distressed over poor
Madeleine’s death to worry
about legal papers. She
managed, however, to show
interest in the document that
had been made out a few
weeks before. The cottage
now belonged to her. This was
Françoise’s sixth successful
In one respect Françoise
did not profit by Madeleine’s
murder. Jean lost all three
of his jobs as a result of
increasingly bad publicity, and
there was no money for them
in Madeleine’s estate. They
sat in the cottage through
the long evenings trying to
think of some way to raise
money. They drank heavily
and soon found themselves
with nothing to live on but
memories. But Françoise was
in no mood to reminisce. She
learnt that there was another
old woman in Arreau who
was anxious to share her
truecrime 31
Jeanne Rumeau was far
more wealthy than Madeleine
had been. She was subject to
dizzy spells and claimed she
needed constant attention.
Françoise assured Jeanne that
she was able to give it to her.
The old lady remembered
nothing of the sad fate that
had befallen Madeleine
while under Françoise’s
care and accepted the offer
with delight. She had hardly
unpacked her luggage in the
cottage when she suffered
from a severe dizzy spell.
Françoise was forced to call a
She met him at the door.
He entered the front hall of
the little cottage and bent
down on one knee to examine
the old lady who lay at the
foot of the stairs. Her head
was twisted to one side and
her thin, scrawny neck looked
broken. The expression on
her lined old face was so
horribly contorted that it gave
the doctor, experienced as
he was, a start. The woman
handful of earth on the cheap
pinewood coffin. But the
people of Arreau knew that
two old ladies had died while
under her care. It was time to
move on. Yet despite the open
hostility displayed by Arreau’s
citizens, Françoise decided to
stay. She was tired of running.
Françoise was no doubt
pleased when an old friend
came and visited her. Bazeline
Pascaud was indeed an old
friend. She and Françoise had
been cellmates at one time.
They had vowed to meet
on the outside and Bazeline
had just finished her term of
imprisonment. After a warm
greeting Françoise took her
friend into the parlour of the
little cottage. Fourasté was
sitting at a table, very drunk.
He did not move as the two
friends entered.
“Get rid of him,” advised
Bazeline. “We have some
business to talk over.”
Bazeline explained that
there was a house for sale in
Tarbes that could be snapped
Françoise returned to the
cottage deep in thought. Jean
was still slumped at the table
when she returned. He did
not look up. She sat herself
before the fire and stirred
the glowing ashes with a
poker. Inspiration is said
often to come to a twisted
mind when contemplating
the hereafter. In the glowing
embers Françoise saw the
face of La Villet. La Villet,
that was her name, La Villet.
She had been a prostitute in
the old days and almost as
beautiful as Françoise. The
glow of the fire shone on
Françoise’s haggard features.
La Villet had been taking care
of an elderly gentleman in
Tarbes when Françoise had
last heard of her, perhaps with
the same intentions that had
sitting-room where stood
Pierre, a straight, upright man
despite his years. Françoise
made out that her call was
purely a social one. She was
charming to La Villet and not
so attentive to Pierre as to
arouse suspicion. When La
Villet had gone from the room
for a moment, Françoise
sidled over to the old man.
She stood very close to
him and smiled her old, slow
smile. She told him that she
would be waiting at a certain
café in Tarbes that evening.
She would be waiting for him.
That evening Françoise
waited impatiently for Pierre.
Much depended upon his
co-operation. He arrived a
little late and very nervous lest
La Villet should learn of his
clandestine meeting.
In the kitchen a man was stirring a huge vat,
while on the table, in a mixture of blood
and sawdust, lay the headless, legless
torso of Pierre Larran
was dead. Her neck had been
broken by a fall down the
stairs. But the expression on
her face! The doctor turned
his questioning glance on
“She must have fallen
down the whole flight,”
said Françoise. She paused
a moment. The doctor
continued to stare. “I saw
her standing at the top of
the stairs. She swayed, she
flung out her arms, and then
suddenly she was falling
down the stairs...It was
terrible, doctor...terrible.”
The doctor signed the
death certificate without
comment. Perhaps he could
tell from the look on the dead
woman’s face the manner of
her death. He did not know
that Jeanne Rumeau had
turned over her money to
Françoise before falling to
her death. Had he known, he
might have investigated more
thoroughly and made some
kind of a report to the police.
rançoise was punctual at
the funeral, her seventh.
She cried at the right
moments, she threw the
32 truecrime
up for a song. She needed
someone to go in with her
and had remembered her
old friend Françoise. The
house had been a brothel but
since 1948. when all houses
of prostitution had been
outlawed, it had stood empty.
“We could buy it together,”
said Bazeline. “We could
open the place again and
really make it run. Of course
I would not like this Fourasté
of yours to have anything to
do with it.” She glanced over
to the table where Jean sat
slumped and muttering.
Bazeline had already
worked out exactly what
Françoise’s share in the
partnership would be. She
brought a gold fountain pen
out of her bag and calculated
in front of her friend.
Françoise would require some
60,000 francs.
Bazeline had no way of
knowing that Françoise
was again without money.
Together the two friends
walked to the bus stop. “I
will see what I can do and
get in touch with you,” said
Françoise as Bazeline boarded
the bus.
Before his death Deferdente Bizichini, or Bikini (in
white scarf) as he was known, became a celebrity
in the town after his startling discoveries
prompted Françoise to be a
ministering angel. She would
look up La Villet, thought
Françoise, throwing another
log on the fire. It shattered
the glowing images that had
danced before her eyes. The
fire blazed forth anew.
The next day Françoise
took a long time getting ready.
She intended visiting La Villet,
and one did not visit another
woman without making
preparations. She hoped to be
able to talk to Pierre Larran,
who had been keeping La
Villet. The old man was
nearing 65, but might yet
consider her more attractive
than his present mistress.
La Villet and Françoise
exchanged warm greetings
at Pierre’s house in Tarbes.
They entered a comfortable
Françoise had a novel
proposition to put before
him. She tried to inspire
his interest in an annuity
agreement. Pierre would not
even consider the proposition.
In desperation she asked him
quite bluntly for the 60,000
francs she needed for the
half-share in the house.
“I’ll think it over,” was
Pierre’s only reply.
Pierre Larran was wiser
than Françoise had at first
supposed. He took a very
long time thinking it over.
However, the old man decided
that Françoise was, or, since
old men live on memories,
had been, more beautiful
than La Villet. He moved
into the house at Arreau with
Françoise. Jean Fourasté did
not seem to mind.
Françoise tried time and
again to persuade Pierre
to invest his money in
the proposed brothel. He
would not. She confessed
to herself that she was no
longer attractive enough to
persuade the opposite sex
to do anything. Psychology,
she thought, might work. She
asked Bazeline to explain to
the old man how profitable
such an establishment might
be. She and Françoise,
explained Bazeline, were not
going to be the attractions
of the place, they would
simply manage the house.
This seemed to reassure the
old man. He gave Françoise
the 60,000 francs for which
she pleaded but on the
understanding that he should
get a full share of the profits.
his money was well invested.
The three of them had dinner
together and went thoroughly
into the matter. The old man
decided after dinner to spend
the night with them. He felt
too tired, he said, to make the
journey back to Tarbes. He
stumbled up the stairs of the
cottage to his room, a tired,
bent old man.
he next morning Françoise
and Jean were out early.
They visited almost every
café in Arreau and drank a
great deal of wine. In their
travels they picked up a
popular local by the name
of Deferdente Bizichini, or
simply Bikini to his many
friends. He considered
himself a great friend of Jean
and Françoise that morning
staggered out of the Fourasté
home and lurched his way
down the main street of
Arreau. There was something
troubling him. He tried
to shake off the cobwebs,
fighting against the alcohol
he had consumed. At length
he found himself before the
Arreau police station. He
entered and strode unsteadily
up to the sergeant. “I would
like to see the capitaine,” he
The sergeant took him
into Captain Cayle’s office
and seated him in front of
the large desk at which the
police officer was working.
The captain was engrossed
in his reports. Now and then
he would flip over a page to
jot down a note. Bikini sat. At
length the captain looked up.
“What can I do for you, M.
Bizichini?” The captain noted
the fact that Bikini was very
“You will excuse me,
capitaine, but someone
is cooking on Madame
car. They quietly opened the
kitchen door at the rear of the
A billowing stench hit the
captain as he entered the
kitchen. Clouds of steam
made it difficult to see the
horror that lay about. A
figure rushed past him and
out of the door. The captain
called to the gendarme to
stop whoever it was that was
trying to escape. He advanced
into the steaming kitchen. In
front of the stove sat a man.
It was Jean Fourasté. He was
stirring a huge boiling vat on
the stove. There was blood up
to his elbows and out of the
vat protruded a foot, a human
Fourasté was in a drunken,
terrorised stupor. He stirred
the cauldron automatically.
He had become Françoise’s
creature. He obeyed her every
command as would a slave
without a soul of his own.
“What is that?” the captain
choked out
“Papa Pierre,” Fourasté
“I believe Françoise poisoned Pierre Larran,
probably with gardenal,” Bazeline told police.
“Fourasté only finished him off”
The date of this agreement
was February 5th, 1953.
During his stay at Arreau,
Pierre met several friends.
They urged him to have
no dealings with Françoise
and told him of two old
women and the rumours
from Toulouse. The old man
did not like the tone of their
accusations. He hurried to
a lawyer but found to his
dismay that the deal he had
made with Françoise was
perfectly binding. There was
no way that he could retrieve
his money from Françoise
other than by pleading with
her. He therefore began
badgering for the return of his
Françoise sent for Bazeline
in order that she might once
again explain to Pierre that
and joined in their journey
around the cafés.
At 10 o’clock the trio
were more than drunk. They
staggered in the streets,
arm-in-arm. Bikini had never
known Françoise to be so
generous before and decided
to stay with her until the
mood was past. At length he
excused himself saying that
he had to do an odd job for a
farmer just outside the town.
Jean and Françoise staggered
home to join Pierre Larran
who was still asleep.
At 3 p.m. Bikini was once
again feeling thirsty. He
left his job and decided to
visit Jean and Françoise in
the hope that the festivities
continued. It is not known
how much Bikini was given
to drink but at 6 o’clock he
Fourasté’s stove.”
“I see no reason why with
Madame Fourasté’s consent
the whole world should not
cook on her stove. Monsieur
Bizichini, you are drunk!”
“Oui, capitaine, but I
am not joking. Someone is
being cooked on Madame
Fourasté’s stove!”
The captain sprang to his
feet. “I warn you Bikini that if
this is some kind of joke...”
“Capitaine, do I look as if
I am joking? I have seen it in
a pail!”
The captain saw terror
in Bikini’s bloodshot eyes.
The little man began to sob
with sheer terror from what
he had seen. Captain Cayle
interrogated him gently.
“What have you seen in a
pail, Bikini?”
“I saw a foot, a human foot
in a pail!”
The captain was for a
moment speechless. “You saw
a human foot in a pail!”
“It was sticking out, I saw it,
I saw it...”
Captain Cayle took Bikini
by the arm and called for
a gendarme to accompany
them to Françoise’s house.
They sped to the cottage by
grinned foolishly.
Unable to control himself,
Captain Cayle caught hold
of Fourasté and shook him.
“Where is the rest of him?”
Fourasté glanced towards
the kitchen table. There, in a
mixture of blood and sawdust,
lay the headless, legless torso
of Pierre Larran. On the floor,
covered in blood, were strewn
a saw, a knife and an axe. The
captain turned away, horrified.
Through the door came
Françoise, struggling violently,
in the arms of the gendarme
who had been sent to catch
her. She had not got far. She
was screaming. When released
from the gendarme’s grip
she hobbled crazily about the
bloody kitchen. She screamed,
she clawed her matted hair.
She was drunk and half mad.
“Bikini killed him, Bikini
killed him, Bikini killed him!”
The captain leant out the
door. He told the gendarme
in the kitchen to collect
reinforcements. Somehow
the captain stayed in the
kitchen until more gendarmes
arrived and were able to take
Jean Fourasté and Françoise
Lapierre away.
The next day it was
truecrime 33
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impossible to interrogate
either of the murderers.
Fourasté babbled
incoherently and incessantly:
“Bikini did it, Bikini, Bikini,
Bikini.” Françoise was sullen
in her cell. She would not
speak to or look at anyone.
She stood with her face to the
wall of her cell.
On the second day the
Sûreté men came from
“Bikini killed him,” was all
Françoise would say.
“Bikini, Bikini, Bikini,”
muttered Fourasté.
The men of the Sûreté
questioned the three
prisoners endlessly. Bikini
insisted that he had no idea
what was going on in the
house from 3 to 6 o’clock.
He had been in the house,
yes. But he had not been in
the kitchen. He had been
drinking in a room next to it.
Françoise had told him
they had a rabbit stew
cooking. He had believed her.
Fourasté was the first
to break down under
I heard him go upstairs.
There was a noise. Then he
went back to bed again. I
believe Françoise poisoned
Pierre Larran, probably
with gardenal. Fourasté only
finished him off.”
Françoise denied having
given the poison to Pierre.
She accused Bazeline
of having done so. The
police never for a moment
suspected Bazeline of the
murder, for although she had
picked an estimated 60,000
pockets in her time she had
never hurt a fly.
Françoise’s accusation
against Bikini was
unsubstantiated. But it
seemed obvious that he knew
more than he was telling.
At length he confessed that
while drunk he had helped
Fourasté and Françoise to
cut up the body, holding a
leg here, a shoulder there,
while Fourasté sawed. But as
the questioning proceeded
it became obvious to the
police that whatever part
Bikini and Fourasté may have
People remembered the old women
whom she had taken care of and how
they had died under her care
interrogation. He admitted
the murder. During the night
of February 25th, he said, he
had strangled Pierre Larran.
In the afternoon Bikini had
come for a drink. He had
helped him cut up the body.
He insisted that Françoise
was entirely innocent of the
The Sûreté men searched
the house. They found two
tubes of a sleeping drug,
gardenal, two pounds of
arsenic and bottles of various
heart stimulants. These finds
put Françoise’s past life into
focus. Witnesses suddenly
came forth in droves. The
bodies of all the men she had
married or lived with were
exhumed. People remembered
the old women whom she had
taken care of and how they
had died under her care.
Bazeline came forth as
a witness to the last of
Françoise’s murders. Her
evidence was vital in the case,
for she was sure that Fourasté
was not the real murderer of
Pierre Larran. She told the
“I slept at Fourasté’s house
on the night of the murder.
At four in the morning
taken in the dissection of the
body, Françoise alone had
committed the murder,
In December, 1954, before
a court sitting at Tarbes, the
trial of Françoise Lapierre
and Jean Fourasté was begun.
Both the accused continued
to blame Bizichini for
dismembering the body and
claimed that Pierre Larran
had died in his bed. Bizichini
had died before the trial, and
his terrible description of the
dismemberment and boiling
of the body was read to the
court by Judge Pons.
On December 16th,
Françoise Lapierre and Jean
Fourasté were both found
guilty of the murder of Pierre
Larran and sentenced to hard
labour for life.
France was shocked at
the killing of poor old Pierre
Larran and there were calls
for Francoise and Fourasté to
be sent to the guillotine.
By 1954 the death
sentence was reserved
for crimes against the
state, assassination,
and poisoning, so the
couple were eligible for
execution. Why they were
spared is another story.
one of those strong,
silent men. Silent, in fact, to
the point of being taciturn.
A long-serving soldier, he
had entered the army as a
boy, stationed first at Pirbright
in Surrey, and being posted
in 1901 to Winchester, where
he served in the King’s Royal
Rifle Corps. Subsequently
he became a hero of World
War One, in which he was
wounded. By that time he had
come to regard Winchester,
where he had spent most of
had hoped for, but she had a
conscience. “Oh, I couldn’t,”
she said. “That would leave
you alone up here, Bill, and it
wouldn’t be fair.”
“It’s sensible,” her husband
told her. “Look, Emily. Time’s
going by. I’m thirty-nine now,
and you’re thirty-seven. Even
George is coming on sixteen,
and there doesn’t seem to be
anything up here for any of
us. You’ve given it a fair crack,
more than I had a right to
expect, by sticking it for two
years. And we won’t be apart
for long. What I’ll do after
you’ve gone is to finish up
here, getting us out of it as
best I can financially. Then I’ll
join you and we’ll get things
going for us down there.”
It seemed to make sense,
but both of them knew that
they couldn’t hope for much
in Winchester. There was little
work for anyone anywhere at
that time.
Case report by
Theresa Murphy
his army career, as his home
There he met and married
a local girl, Emily Dearlove,
while his sporting prowess
enabled him to play for
Winchester City Football
Club, and his skill at cricket
made him an all-year-round
sportsman. He seemed to
have it made. With his war
record in the past and sports
Part 13
skills in the present, there
seemed no way that anything
could go wrong.
But in 1923 times were
hard, and a national economic
crisis was looming. Germany,
the only likely enemy, was
defeated and also in financial
disarray, and faltering Britain
couldn’t afford a large army
for which there no longer
seemed to be a need. Bill
Gregory, and others like him,
had to go. Discharged from
the army with the trade of
shoemaker, he found himself
in an economic climate where
even the would-be tycoon was
The city of York,
however, seemed to offer
an opportunity. In times of
depression, Bill Gregory
reasoned, more people had
shoes repaired because they
couldn’t afford to buy new
ones. So, as a novice civilian,
he moved north, setting up
in business as a cobbler and
sending for his wife and son
to join him.
“It’s not much, Emily,” he
explained as he showed his
wife the dingy rented rooms
that they were to live in.
“But it gives us a start. I can
Above, an illustration of the tragedy that unfolded in
the city. Background image, Winchester today
develop the business and buy
us a proper home.”
“We’re together, which is
the main thing,” said Emily.
Over the ensuing two
years, however, Bill Gregory’s
shoe-repairing business
did anything but prosper.
Although she kept her feelings
to herself, Emily yearned for
Winchester, her home.
As things turned out,
her opportunity to leave
York arose without any
prompting on her part. Her
widowed mother was ailing in
Winchester, and Bill Gregory
returned home from his
workshop one evening to hear
the bad news from his wife.
“We had a letter from Mum
this morning,” she told him.
“How is she?” Gregory
asked, guessing from Emily’s
manner that the news wasn’t
“Worse than ever, poor
dear. She’s had to take to her
bed, and the doctor says she’ll
be bedridden for the rest of
her life. I know my duty lies
here with you, Bill, but I am
terribly worried about her.”
“It wouldn’t be you if you
weren’t, Em,” he told her.
“To tell you the truth, I’ve
been thinking a lot just lately.
Any prospects that there
may have been here for us
no longer exist. If you take
young George back down to
Winchester, you could look
after your mother then.”
This was more than Emily
n the late summer of 1925
Emily Gregory and her
son went back to Winchester,
to live with her mother at
32 Eastgate Street. In the
months that followed, Bill
Gregory worked even harder
in York, desperate to build
a business he could sell as
a going concern, to raise
enough money to start anew
in Winchester.
A year later, however, he
felt defeated. Nothing had
worked out, but he still had
aspirations. One thing that
couldn’t be taken from him
was his fine army record,
and he wrote to the 14/20
Hussars, confident that he
would obtain a position.
Sadly, however, the “land
fit for heroes” had no jobs for
them. Gregory got his reply –
he wasn’t wanted.
He was by nature so quiet
and reserved that his wife
couldn’t measure the depth
of the wound this rejection by
the army had inflicted on him.
She knew he was profoundly
truecrime 35
hurt, but that was all. Five
weeks of unemployment in
Winchester had so depressed
him that he now said even less
than usual. But then there was
good news for the family.
“Our problems are over,”
he cried as he came in one
day, in a show of emotion so
out of character that his wife
and son knew something big
had happened. “I’ve got a job
in London, a good one.”
“Oh, wonderful!” said
Emily. “When do you start?”
“October the first,”
Gregory replied.
Emily’s eyes clouded, for
the wait – though short –
would seem an eternity for
them in their poverty. Her
husband couldn’t stand seeing
her unhappiness, so he added
what he should have told her
in the first place, but had
withheld as a tease: “But the
man who will employ me is
keen for me to start earlier, so
we’ve agreed on September
Gregory was to leave for
London by train on Sunday,
September 26th, to start work,
and was confident that he
would be sending for his wife
and son to join him before he
had been in the big city for
very long.
“You deserve this break,”
Emily told him.
“You deserve it even more,
because I’ve been able to do
On sale at your
newsagent from
January 18th,
or see the offer
on page 34
Pipe connected to
running car and
passed over the
Box to be
over face
of wife
After 42 years...
In Your
This month: Cassington, Oxon
“Your DNA
Is Inside
36 truecrime
little for you since I left the
“I love you, Bill,” she said.
“Somehow it’s easier to say
that now our worries are
“I’ve wanted to say it to you
a thousand times in the past
three years,” he said tenderly,
“but it never seemed to be the
right time.”
“Then tell me now,” she
said, and he obliged.
But after the first joyful
news of his pending
employment, William Gregory
slipped back into one of his
deepest moods of taciturnity,
barely communicating with
anyone in the house.
September 26th came and
went, but he was still at 32
Eastgate Street, having made
no move in the direction of
London, or anywhere else. It
In horror she
saw the man cut
his throat while
the woman,
trying to hold
the two parts
of her own slit
throat together,
made groping
towards him
was the same the next day,
with Emily caring for her
75-year-old mother during
the day, and preparing to go
to a whist drive at St. John’s
Church Room.
“Do you want to come?”
she asked her husband, but he
shook his head and continued
reading a newspaper.
In her mother’s room Emily
told the old woman that she
wouldn’t be back late, but
Mrs. Dearlove stopped her
daughter with a whisper
as she was about to leave:
“What’s happening, Emily?”
“I told you. I’m going to the
whist drive.”
“I don’t mean that, and
you well know it. I mean
what’s happening with your
husband? He was supposed to
leave for London yesterday.”
“I know.”
“Then why didn’t he go?”
“I don’t know,” said Emily
despondently. “And you know
Bill – I can’t ask him.”
“That wouldn’t do for me,”
muttered her mother. “If it
was your father, I’d soon have
tackled him.”
Maybe you would, Emily
thought as she left the room
and the house, but then her
father hadn’t been like Bill
Gregory, who was so reticent.
She went off to play her game
of cards, resigned to letting
this hitch in her husband’s
life work itself out. She didn’t
have long to wait.
n the morning of
Wednesday, September
29th, it was a very different
Bill Gregory who came down
from the bedroom.
“Good morning, Em,” he
greeted his surprised wife
cheerfully. “Not too bad a
morning. I’m going to make
the most of it, as it’s my last
day here.”
“Your job?” asked Emily,
delighted that it had come
true at last.
“That’s it. I’ll be catching
the seven o’clock train for
London this evening.”
So that was that. Emily
assumed that her husband,
considerate as ever, had not
wanted to worry her with
whatever had delayed him
starting the new job. It was
typical of him.
Just after 6 o’clock that
evening she had to call
through the back window to
her husband, who was playing
with a ball in the garden with
their son and her brotherin-law, James Paton. It seemed
a shame to take Bill from
the game he was enjoying so
much, roaring with laughter
one minute, bursting into
song the next. She had never
seen him so relaxed and
happy, but she had to shout
to him.
“It’s gone six, Bill. You’d
better get ready if you’re
going to catch that train.”
“Be right with you, Em,”
he called back, letting out a
whoop as he kicked the ball.
“Will you walk to the station
with me?”
He came in and got
changed ready to go, talking
in what for him was a torrent
as he said how excited he
felt about starting his new
employment, which was in
Edgware Road.
“Next time we see each
other will be in London,” he
told his son.
Off the couple went
together, the first short
walk on a journey into a
fresh life. Yet they showed
no sign of elation as they
went along North Walls. A
neighbour who knew Emily
was approaching in the other
direction and went to greet
her friend, but then stood
still in astonishment as Emily
Gregory passed by as if she
hadn’t seen her.
The next person to notice
them was Morton Macklin,
a porter at the Southern
Railway station, at 10 minutes
to seven that evening.
With little interest, he saw
the couple walk up Station
Hill together. But then the
porter became a keener
observer as the woman
walked straight to the station’s
verandah, where she read
a bus timetable, while the
man, for some odd reason,
tried several times to open
a locked door. As Macklin
momentarily looked the other
way, he heard a thud, and
spun round to see the man
falling to the ground.
Believing the man was
having a fit, the porter ran
forward to give assistance, but
stopped when he saw blood
pumping and squirting in all
directions. The man’s throat
had been cut, and Macklin
dashed into the station to get
A clearer view of the
incident was obtained by a
chauffeur, Robert Kemble.
He was standing beside his
employer’s car outside the
station when he saw Gregory,
whom he didn’t know, put
his hand on Emily’s shoulder.
Kemble then looked away
to get into the car in order
to adjust a seat. When he
emerged from the car again
he was shocked to see the
woman huddled on the
ground, bleeding heavily. He
ran forward to help, but soon
realised from the gaping gash
in the woman’s throat that she
was beyond assistance.
Shop assistant Gwendolyn
Newman was about to catch
the 6.58 p.m. train home to
Southampton. In horror she
saw the man cut his throat
while the woman, trying to
hold the two parts of her own
slit throat together, made
groping movements towards
The man had slashed the
woman and then himself
without a word being
exchanged between them.
Another porter, William
George Stone, would never
forget the close-up spectacle
of Emily’s severed windpipe,
the detached muscles of
her neck and the cut and
protruding arteries.
Police investigating the
tragedy were told of the man
going off to London to work,
and being accompanied to
the station by his wife. But
Gregory had not bought
a ticket for London, and a
search of his clothing revealed
that he didn’t have enough
money to buy one.
All he had in his pockets
were two rolled-gold cufflinks,
a tiepin and the letter from
the Hussars rejecting his
earlier job application. There
was nothing to support his
claim that he had got a job
In Emily’s purse were two
threepenny bits and four
pennies. Had she learned on
that last walk that there was
no job after all? That would
account for her strangeness
when meeting her neighbour.
t the police mortuary a
surgeon confirmed that
Gregory’s fatal wound had
been self-inflicted, and there
was no doubt as to who had
cut Emily’s throat. So instead
of having to decide who was
responsible for the deaths, the
inquest jury were concerned
with why they had taken
“Have you heard your
father threaten your mother?”
Winchester Railway
Station entrance today
the coroner, Theophilus
Brown, asked George
Gregory, the deceased
couple’s son.
“No. They were on good
terms for the five weeks he
lived with us in Eastgate
Street, and he was perfectly
normal when they went off to
the station.”
“Other than this five
weeks,” the coroner
continued, “did you hear him
threaten your mother at any
other time?”
“Only once, when we lived
in York, and then it was just a
“In what way did he
threaten her?”
“He said he would like to
cut her throat,” said George
James Paton, the brotherin-law who lived with the
family, testified that he had
never heard of any rows
between Emily and William
“Do not answer so quickly,”
said the coroner. “Think
– had there been any rows
between them?”
“Not in my presence.”
“Then have you heard of
any rows between them?”
“None, sir,” repeated Paton.
“Wasn’t there ever any
unpleasant talk between
them? Didn’t you ever hear
him threaten his wife?”
“Then how do you explain
the fact that they were apart
for twelve months?”
“Because Emily came to
Winchester to look after her
mother,” said Paton.
Hardly able to speak
because she was so upset,
Emily Gregory’s widowed
sister, Mrs. Ward, told the
court that there had never
been a rift of any kind in the
Gregorys’ relationship.
But this didn’t satisfy
the coroner. “Hadn’t there
been some trouble between
this man and his wife?” he
persisted. Then, as Mrs. Ward
remained silent, he added, “It
is going to extend this inquiry
very much if you don’t
give straight answers to my
Mrs. Ward then admitted
there had been some trouble
between her sister and
“Trouble about his doings
and her doing?” asked the
“Yes, sir.”
“Is that the real reason why
they lived apart for some
twelve months?”
“Yes, sir.”
“We have heard evidence of
a state of disharmony between
this couple,” said the coroner
when Mrs. Ward stepped
down. “I am not going to
apportion blame on dead
people, but there were equal
faults on both sides.”
Although they may have
wondered how he reached this
conclusion, the jury returned
a verdict that William James
Gregory had feloniously killed
his wife before taking his own
life while of unsound mind.
Before the couple were
buried together, a Union
Flag draped the coffin
of William Gregory in
belated tribute to the
man who had found that
braving German bullets
was one thing, but coping
with unemployment was
quite another.
truecrime 37
Suchowlansky in Grodno,
Russia, into an Orthodox
Jewish family. He was eight
years old when the family
arrived in New York on April
8th, 1911, aboard the SS
Kurst to begin a new life
away from the anti-semitism
While still at school Lansky
ran his own crap game and
began raking in more cash
than his father earned as a
During one of these
games a handsome kid a few
years younger than himself
a wild reputation and was
considered by some to be as
crazy as a bedbug – which
gave him his nickname,
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
was the complete opposite
of Lansky. Siegel was brash
N A SCENE from the
movie Godfather II,
Hyman Roth, a character
thinly based on Jewish
mobster Meyer Lansky,
boasts to Mafia don Michael
Corleone about the Mob.
“Michael, we’re bigger than
US Steel!” he says.
These words were adapted
from dialogue picked up
from an FBI-bugged hotel
room occupied by Meyer
No tape exists to prove
that Lansky actually spoke
those words but as with
much of Lansky’s life the
myths and legends are larger
than the little man himself.
Police, federal agents and
journalists have labelled
Lansky the Mob’s treasurer,
the syndicate’s chairman
of the board and the most
influential godfather in
the history of American
organised crime.
He was reputed to have
a personal fortune of
over $300 million. From
bootlegger in the 1920s to
being dubbed one of the
most dangerous men in
the world in the 1970s, the
factors surrounding Lansky’s
life are often stranger than
He was born Meyer
Above, Meyer Lansky
early in his criminal
career. He soon rose
through the criminal
ranks in Brooklyn
38 truecrime
The Mafia’
This police mug-shot (above) from 1932 featuring “Lucky” Luciano, centre, and
Meyer Lansky, right, would return to haunt Lansky in 1970 when he applied for
Israeli citizenship. It was irrefutable proof of his connection to organised crime
of Czarist Russia.
The family established
themselves in the
Brownsville district of
Brooklyn where Meyer
and his elder brother Jake
attended school under their
now Americanised name
of Lansky. Although a
good scholar, little Meyer
would spend most of his
time studying the gamblers
along Delancey Street on
New York’s lower East Side.
After losing his meagre
pocket money several
times, it didn’t take long for
the shrewd boy to realise
that there were no lucky
gamblers, only winners and
losers – and the winners
always controlled the game.
started a fight between rival
dice shooters. The kid had
Lansky had stood
up to Salvatore
Luciano, the
dreaded Lucky
Luciano who
one day was to
become leader
of the American
Mafia with help
from this puny
little Jew who
now refused to
pay tribute to any
and powerfully built. The
diminutive Lansky was quiet
and shy. But he was no less
tough than Bugsy. The pair
soon became inseparable.
With Meyer’s brains and
Siegel’s brawn the two boys
attracted other street kids
into a gang that was soon to
be known as the Bugs and
Meyer Mob.
Lansky’s toughness
was put to the test one
day in 1915 when he was
surrounded by a gang of
young Italians who preyed
on solitary Jews, beating
them up if they did not
pay protection. Hopelessly
outnumbered, Lansky was
ordered to pay up by the
gang’s leader, a tough young
Case recalled by
Tom Prior
’s Unlikely
Meyer Lansky. The
Russia-born, New
York-bred Mafia
don and treasurer
became the most
influential figure in
American organised
Sicilian with a pockmarked
face. Like a bantam rooster
Lansky squared up to the
stocky gang leader. “Go do
yourself,” was his defiant
Lansky had stood up
to Salvatore Luciano, the
dreaded Lucky Luciano
who one day was to become
leader of the American
Mafia with help from this
puny little Jew who now
refused to pay tribute to any
Italians. The young Lansky
didn’t get beaten up and
didn’t pay any tribute.
Another friendship was
formed with Luciano that
day – a friendship that would
change the face of organised
crime in the decades to come.
hile working as a tool
and die mechanic by
day the 16-year-old Lansky
moonlighted as a bouncer in
a gambling joint. He wielded
a lead pipe during labour
troubles and tried his hand
at pimping. He was arrested
on October 25th, 1918, on a
charge of felonious assault.
Less than a month later he
was charged with disorderly
conduct. Both charges were
entered by prostitutes whom
Lansky tried to get to work
for him.
Over the next decade
he would appear in court
regularly. On March 6th,
1928, for example, he was
charged with the attempted
murder of another hoodlum.
The case was dismissed
but not before Lansky
was fingerprinted and his
mug-shot taken. A couple of
months later he was up on
another attempted murder
charge. Both charges were
dismissed. That same year he
became an American citizen,
stating on his papers that he
had no criminal record!
In 1929 Lansky, with
Siegel as his best man,
married his sweetheart Anne
Citron. Exactly nine months
later they had a son they
named Buddy. The child
suffered from cerebral palsy.
Lansky couldn’t handle
the thought of having a
truecrime 39
“cripple” for a son. He
at first walked out on his
family, but later took his
wife and baby to doctors all
over America for treatment,
spending considerable sums
of money, but to no avail.
During 1929 Lucky
Luciano began the process
of Americanising the mob.
With Lansky’s help he
organised a meeting at
Atlantic City, attended by
the country’s top mobsters.
They agreed on a loosely
based combination to
oversee the bootlegging and
gambling rackets.
Lucky next ordered a
purge of the older Sicilian
bosses who refused to work
with Lansky and Siegel.
Luciano’s boss Salvatore
Maranzano was the first
victim. Posing as federal tax
agents, Jewish killers from
the Bugsy and Meyer mob
gunned him down in his
Park Avenue office. That
same night, legend has it,
60 Mafia bosses across the
country were murdered,
although no hard evidence
exists to support this. After
Maranzano’s death, Luciano
was the most powerful Mafia
tracks around the country
and opened many carpet
joints – gambling and
drinking houses – around
major cities across the
The brutal death of
Benjamin “Bugsy”
Siegel (left and below,
in the morgue). Lansky
took over the Flamingo
and the crowds that
came to see the folly
that had cost Siegel
his life made it a huge
the firm went bust in 1935,
having made a small fortune
for the little man.
uring the mid-30s Meyer
returned to his first love,
gambling. With his brother
Jake, Lucky Luciano and
New Jersey crime boss Joe
Adonis as partners, Lansky
moved into the plush
gambling rackets around
Saratoga in upstate New
York. He bought controlling
shares in a number of dog
America’s top
Mafia bosses
gathered for the
send-off. They
heard Luciano
offering some
advice. “Listen to
Meyer,” he said,
acknowledging the
role that the little
Jewish gangster
had played in
shaping the future
of organised crime
boss in the United States
with Meyer Lansky at his
Towards the end of
Prohibition in 1933, Lansky
and Siegel had built a
profitable bootlegging
business. Lansky had
become a partner in the
Molaska Corporation, a
supplier to the newly legal
distilling industry. The
company was, however,
supplying several illegal stills
until agents from the Bureau
of Alcohol and Tax closed
them down. A confusing web
of frontmen enabled Lansky
to escape prosecution when
40 truecrime
The Lanskys in the 1940s. From left, sons Paul and
Buddy, daughter Sandi, wife Anne and, standing,
Meyer Lansky
The sunshine of Florida
beckoned Lansky to
winter at Palm Beach. By
1937, South Florida had
become Lansky’s base of
operations with extensive
gambling activity around the
Dade-Broward county line.
In all these operations
Lansky preferred to stay in
the background, pulling the
strings on a gambling empire
that was soon to spread to
Cuba. There Lansky had
begun to sew the seeds for
a lucrative deal between the
Mob and Cuban politicians.
On February 11th, 1942,
while being converted
into a troopship at New
York’s Hudson pier, the
French liner Normandie
was destroyed by fire. US
Naval Intelligence suspected
sabotage and, as the Mob
virtually controlled the
docks, came up with a plan
to enlist the help of the
Fulton Fish Market
racketeer Joe “Sock” Lanza
was approached first. He
quickly told the naval
officers to look much higher
for help. They were told
to approach Luciano who
was serving a 30-to-50-year
sentence for controlling New
York’s prostitution racket.
Luciano’s lawyers
recommended Meyer
Lansky be recruited to act
as go-between for the US
Navy and Luciano. Meyer
quickly won a concession
for Lucky. He was moved
to the more relaxed Great
Meadow Prison near Albany.
Within weeks of Lansky
meeting Luciano, eight
German secret agents were
rounded up in New York and
By the end of 1942 all
sabotage had practically
ceased on the waterfront.
As the war progressed,
Luciano was asked for his
help in the invasion of Sicily.
Through Lansky hundreds
of Sicilians familiar with the
Sicily coastline were passed
to naval intelligence. Vital
information was gleaned
from these reports, and
helped the Allied landing in
At the end of the war,
New York Governor Thomas
Dewey, the man who had
jailed Luciano 10 years
earlier, granted the gangster
executive clemency on
the condition that he was
deported back to his native
Sicily. A farewell party was
held aboard the SS Laura
Keene, the ship that was to
take Luciano into exile.
America’s top Mafia bosses
gathered for the send-off.
They heard Luciano
offering some advice.
“Listen to Meyer,” he said,
acknowledging the role that
the little Jewish gangster had
played in shaping the future
of organised crime.
Joe Adonis, Frank Costello
and Longy Zwillman all
listened to Meyer and were
all rewarded with a piece of
the future action in Cuba
and Las Vegas where mob
casinos, under Lansky
control, generated millions
of dollars into the Mafia’s
coffers through a scheme
supposedly dreamt up by
Lansky, known as skimming.
Money was removed from
casino winnings in the
counting rooms, placed
into bags and Mob couriers
would deliver it to Lansky
before any federal or state
taxes were paid.
uring the late 1930s,
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
had been sent by the New
York syndicate to establish
gambling on the West Coast
Siegel told his pal Meyer
that the place would cost
$2 million and Lansky gave
the green light to use Mob
money. When the Flamingo
opened its doors on
December 26th, 1946, the
costs had rocketed to over
$6 million – and it was still
The first night turned into
a financial disaster. Losses
at the tables forced Siegel
to close down a month
later. The eastern syndicate
mobsters who had backed
the project on Lansky’s
say-so demanded their
money back. They believed
Siegel had pocketed some of
the construction money and
had it secreted away in Swiss
bank accounts held by his
mistress, Virginia Hill. When
they demanded their money
back, Siegel reportedly told
them, through Lansky, to go
to hell.
On the night of June
20th, 1947, as Benny
Siegel relaxed at the
Beverly Hills home of
his mistress, a syndicate
assassin cut loose with a
stream of steel-jacketed
bullets through a downstairs
Senator Kefauver’s crime hearings of the early
1950s named Lansky as one of the principal
partners in the crime syndicate dominating
New York and the eastern half of the
United States. The publicity that Meyer had
successfully shied away from was beginning
to catch up with him
and run the lucrative racing
wire that relayed results
to bookmakers. With his
film-star looks, Ben was a
natural for the Hollywood
crowd. George Raft was his
best pal and he was soon
socialising with many other
big stars. Hollywood women
fell for his dazzling smile and
rough Brooklyn charm.
The desert town of Las
Vegas began booming during
the war years. Legalised
gambling in Nevada meant
small casinos were springing
up everywhere to cater for
the growing population.
Siegel bought into some
small casinos but dreamed
of building the biggest and
best casino in Las Vegas. In
1945 he purchased a desert
plot some miles outside Las
Vegas and began to build the
fabulous Flamingo Hotel on
what was to become known
later as the Strip.
window. Three bullets
smashed into Siegel,
demolishing the handsome
gangster’s face. His right eye
was blown out completely,
and was later found some 15
feet away from his body.
Lansky moved his own
men in to run the Flamingo
and the casino soon began
turning in fabulous profits
– even after Lansky had
skimmed money to pay back
the syndicate investors.
Siegel’s death acted as
a magnet that drew the
crowds. Las Vegas expanded
and so did Lansky’s control
of the casinos.
ighteen months after
Siegel’s demise, Meyer
Lansky remarried. His
first wife had divorced
him on the grounds of
extreme cruelty but the
truth was that Anne Lansky
had suffered a number
Win a pair of cinema tickets to see the current
film of your choice. All you have to do is answer
a simple crime movie-related question. Answer
the bonus question too and you could win an
extra £25!
1. After the critical and box-office success
of his adaptation of Mario Puzo’s best-selling
Mafia novel, The Godfather, director Francis
Ford Coppola returned to his epic Mafia saga
in 1974.
The Godfather Part
II presents two parallel
storylines. One involves
Mafia boss Michael
Corleone (Al Pacino) in the
late 1950s, after the events of the first movie;
the other is told in a series of flashbacks following
his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro, above,
playing the younger version of Marlon Brando’s
character from the first film) between 1917 and
1925, tracing the formative days of the Corleone
crime “family” in New York.
Vito, who fled from Sicily as a child, struggles on the cusp of
criminality, trying to make a living for his wife and family in Little
Italy. After killing Fanucci (Gastone Moschin), the representative of
Black Hand, who attempts to extort money from local business, Vito
finds himself newly elevated and respected in the community. The
Corleone Family business is born there in a web of family
and tradition, a new dark “American Dream,” with crime
organised and driven by corporate ambitions.
By the 1950s, his son Michael
(Al Pacino, right) heads the
family business, now based in
Lake Tahoe. Michael conspires to
expand into Las Vegas and Havana in cutthroat fashion but is gripped by paranoia
upon realising that his allies want to kill
him. His marriage to Kay (Diane Keaton)
sours and his brother, Fredo (John Cazale),
betrays him. After avoiding government
investigators, Michael annihilates his
Your question: Nominated for 11
Academy Awards, how many did the
film eventually win?
2. For the additional £25: Al
Pacino and Robert De Niro do not
appear together in The Godfather
Part II but later shared the screen in
which 1995 heist drama directed by
Michael Mann (right)?
Send your answer(s) to True Crime, PO Box 735, London
SE26 5NQ or email
First correct entry out of the hat after the closing date of
January 18th, 2018, wins. Answers and winner will be
screened in True Crime March 2018.
Last time we featured L.A. Confidential (1997). Our question
asked which actress (below right) won an Academy Award for Best
Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as the surgically-altered
Veronica Lake lookalike and high-class call girl Lynn Bracken? The
answer was Kim Basinger.
For the additional £25 we asked about The Black Dahlia,
another novel by writer James Ellroy made into a
2006 neo-noir movie, featuring which actress
(left) played victim Elizabeth Short? The
answer was Mia Kirshner. Our winner is
Donna Anderson of Belvedere. Well
done – your prizes will be with you soon!
truecrime 41
of nervous breakdowns
brought on by her husband’s
work. After a four-month
romance Lansky married
Thelma “Teddy” Schwartz
on December 16th, 1948 in
Teddy was the perfect
Mob wife. She never
questioned her husband’s
activities and was fiercely
loyal to Meyer. He in turn
confided in her about
his business. She even
accompanied him when they
stopped off to meet Lucky in
Rome during a luxury cruise
of Europe.
The Lanskys travelled to
Switzerland where Meyer
supposedly opened secret
bank accounts to stash
away the Mob’s money
and conferred with his top
money man John Pullman,
an ex-bootlegger who was an
important cog in Lansky’s
worldwide financial empire.
millions of dollars for
the American Mafia and
Batista’s crooked regime.
Lansky also cleaned up
the casinos and American
tourists flocked to Havana.
The city soon rivalled
Monte Carlo as a prestigious
gambling resort.
Lansky, using most of his
personal fortune, built his
own hotel there called the
Riviera. It was the largest
purpose-built casino in
the world outside of Las
Vegas, but with this project
his luck ran out. After only
a year of operating, the
Riviera and the rest of the
American-owned casinos
were closed down after
Batista fled from the young
counter-revolutionary Fidel
Castro. The Lansky brothers
and their cohorts made a
quick exit from Cuba. The
golden age of gambling was
fter the Kefauver
hearings and the
uncovering of a Mafia
conclave at Apalachin in
1957, the heat from law
enforcement and the Mob
wars took its toll on Lansky’s
enator Kefauver’s crime
hearings of the early
1950s named Lansky as one
of the principal partners
in the crime syndicate
dominating New York and
the eastern half of the United
States. The publicity that
Meyer had successfully shied
away from was beginning to
catch up with him.
The Internal Revenue
Service began investigating
his tax affairs. The Justice
Department began
denaturalisation proceedings
on the grounds that Lansky
had lied about his arrest
record when applying for
citizenship back in 1928.
He managed to escape
prosecution but in May 1953
he was arrested in Saratoga
and charged with being a
common gambler.
Convicted, Lansky spent
his one and only stretch in
prison after being sentenced
to a $2,500 fine and a
three-month spell in the
county jail. He swore it
would be his last time behind
In March 1952, Fulgencio
Batista led a bloodless
coup that installed him as
President of Cuba. Before
long the president had hired
his old pal Meyer Lansky as
adviser on gambling reform
with an annual retainer
of $25,000. The fix was
on. Laws were passed that
helped gambling to flourish.
Batista and the Mob shared
the gambling profits.
Under Lansky control
the Mob casinos generated
42 truecrime
When the Kefauver crime hearings began, the
closer scrutiny of organised crime saw many of
Lansky’s contemporaries retired or murdered –
many allegedly on Lansky’s orders. Above left, Joe
Adonis was deported and left for Italy in 1956; Frank
Costello, right, wounded in an assassination attempt
in 1957, soon left the business to become “The
Prime Minister of the Underworld.”
“Little Augie” Pisano and his companion Janice
Drake were murdered in Pisano’s Cadillac in 1959,
after he had attempted to muscle into Lansky’s
Florida interests
Meyer and
his wife were
watching a TV
documentary on
organised crime.
According to
the FBI report
Lansky remarked
to his wife that
organised crime
was bigger than
US Steel
contemporaries in crime. Joe
Adonis, under deportation,
followed Lucky back to Italy.
Frank Costello “retired”
after a gunman grazed his
scalp. Albert Anastasia was
shot to death in a barber’s
chair. Vito Genovese was
jailed on narcotics charges
and Longy Zwillman
supposedly committed
According to
Mob-watchers, Lansky
had a hand in some of the
Lansky had enemies and
he dealt with them as he
did in the old days – with
violence. In 1959, when New
York mobster Little Augie
Pisano tried to muscle in on
Meyer’s interests in Florida,
the little man despatched
his trusted enforcer Vincent
“Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo to
deal with the situation.
Alo set up a meeting with
Pisano in Alo’s apartment.
Little Augie never arrived.
He and his beauty queen
companion Janice Drake
were found slumped
together in the front seat of
Little Augie’s black Cadillac.
Several bullets had been
pumped into the back of
their heads. Lansky had no
more problems in Florida –
or anywhere else.
In 1962, an FBI
surveillance bug placed in
the counting room of the
Fremont Casino in Las
Vegas overheard Lansky
couriers counting the skim
from the casino profits.
While nothing could be done
with the illegally obtained
information, the FBI had
begun to target Lansky
for prosecution under the
Bureau’s top hoodlum
Lansky was followed by
agents everywhere he went.
Staying in an FBI-bugged
room at the Volney Hotel in
New York, Meyer and his
wife were watching a TV
documentary on organised
crime. According to the FBI
report Lansky remarked
to his wife that organised
crime was bigger than US
Steel. Five years later when
Lansky’s comment was
leaked it had become a direct
quotation: “We’re bigger
than US Steel.”
Publicity about Lansky
was growing. A British Royal
Commission suspected
him of having hidden
interests in the Bahamas
with his sidekick “Jimmy
Blue Eyes” Alo. The British
Vincent “Jimmy Blue
Eyes” Alo was a close
associate and friend
of Lansky, after being
introduced to him by
Lucky Luciano in 1929.
After retiring from the
Mob in the 1970s, Alo
died of natural causes,
aged 96, in Florida in
March 2001
Home Office prohibited
Lansky and actor George
Raft from entering Britain
after the FBI suspected
Lansky of organising Mafia
involvement in Raft’s Colony
Club in London’s Berkeley
From South America,
Canada and Australia
came reports of Lansky
aides infiltrating gambling
In 1970 the Reader’s Digest
published a profile of Meyer:
“The Shocking Success Story of
Public Enemy Number One.”
Other articles followed.
This publicity forced the
FBI to step up the pressure
on the little man. Returning
from a gambling conference
in Acapulco, Lansky was
searched at Miami airport.
A vial of mild sedatives that
Meyer took for his three
ulcers was found on him.
They had been obtained
without prescription and
Lansky faced a felony drugs
charge. He was acquitted but
with the justice department
breathing down his neck
Lansky fled to Israel.
ansky landed in Israel
on July 27th, 1970, and
applied for citizenship
under the Law of Return
which granted citizenship
to anyone born of a
Jewish mother. After a
two-year court battle and
sworn testimony about
his underworld influence,
supplied by US authorities,
the Israeli high court denied
Lansky’s bid to become an
Israeli citizen on the grounds
that his past made him a
“danger to public safety.”
A 1932 Chicago police
department photograph,
showing Meyer in a line-up
with Lucky Luciano,
Chicago Mob boss Paul
Ricca and three other
hoodlums, contradicted
Lansky’s arguments that
he had never been involved
with organised crime.
Because his American
passport had been
withdrawn for his refusal to
return to America to face
several indictments, Lansky
was given Israeli travel
papers and the little man
embarked on a desperate
36-hour flight from Tel
Aviv across four continents.
Each country en route
refused him entry and the
70-year-old exile was forced
to land in Miami where the
FBI waited to charge him
with contempt of court, tax
evasion, and a Las Vegas
skimming conspiracy.
A year after his return to
America, Meyer underwent
open-heart surgery. He
recovered and was ultimately
adjudged too ill to stand
trial on all the charges
laid against him. His own
doctors and court-appointed
Meyer Lansky, aged 70, gets into his attorney’s car
after being freed on bonds totalling $250,000, nine
hours after landing in Miami from South America in
July 1972
physicians found he was
suffering from heart trouble,
chronic bronchitis, ulcers,
bursitis and arthritis. By
1976 the justice department
had admitted defeat and
given up trying to put the
74-year-old behind bars.
Meyer Lansky spent his
retirement in seclusion.
His name was mentioned
repeatedly in hearings relating
to casinos in Atlantic City and
in connection with loans from
Teamster union pension funds
but the little man was far
away from the action, content
with taking his dog Bruzzer
for leisurely walks along the
Miami beach front.
On January 15th,
1983, Meyer Lansky
died of cancer at Mount
Sinai Hospital, Miami.
Newspapers around the
world announced the death
of the underworld’s financial
genius, all recalling the $300
million Lansky fortune.
But there was no fortune.
It was just another part of
the Lansky legend.
Meyer Lansky had set up
a trust for his children but
this provided only a modest
sum. Lansky’s widow and
two younger children, both
married, lived comfortable
yet unpretentious lives that
had none of the trappings of
a hidden fortune.
The Lansky myth was
finally shattered when his
son Buddy was evicted
from a private nursing
home after the Lansky
trust money had dried
up. Seven years after his
father’s death, Buddy
Lansky died in a Dade
County charity hostel – a
final sad indictment on
the life and legend of
Meyer Lansky.
truecrime 43
September 21st
Mexican university student
after she used a ride-hailing
service has
outrage and
street protests
by activists
who say that
the country’s
have done little to prevent a
litany of femicide.
Mara Fernanda Castilla,
19, had hailed a car from
Cabify, a Spanish ridesharing service, in the early
hours of September 8th,
after going out clubbing
with friends. Her body was
found abandoned in a ditch
some 60 miles south-east of
Above, the site where the
body was discovered. Left,
victim Mara Fernanda Castilla
Mexico City.
The cab driver passed
by her apartment, which
ended the paid portion of
the ride, and sent a receipt
to her email. But security
cameras did not show Mara
exiting the car or entering
the building. According
to investigators, she was
taken to a hotel where she
was sexually assaulted and
strangled. The driver has
since been arrested.
News of the murder
came during Mexico’s
independence holiday.
Protesters in major cities
marched to protest against
violence against women.
Puebla, where Ms.
Castilla was studying, has
seen 83 femicides in 2017.
In recent years,
ride-hailing services such
as Cabify and Uber have
grown in popularity in
Mexico because they are
perceived to be safer than
ordinary taxis.
Meanwhile, armed
robberies occur
regularly on public
transit in the suburbs of
Mexico City, while the
subway in the capital
has female-only cars to
prevent sexual assault.
September 21st
self-confessed “adrenaline
junkie” Emma Kelty was
tortured and raped before
being killed while kayaking
the Amazon River in Brazil.
The primary school teacher,
from Finchley, north-west
London, was last heard of
when one of her attackers
triggered her distress signal
while in a notoriously
dangerous area.
Local police arrested
seven men on suspicion of
her murder while searching
for the teacher’s body. Their
gang leader, Evanilson
Gomes da Costa, 24, died
after being shot by rival
Residents of the small
riverside community of
Lauro Sodre, near to where
the crime took place, said
all seven men accused of
her murder are well-known
drugs users in the village.
A local man said the
woman had put up her tent
on the beach in exactly the
area where the Colombia
drug traffickers go through
and which is crawling with
pirates who wait for them to
arrive so they can attack.
The local said one of the
44 truecrime
Murdered while on a kayak
journey: Emma Kelty
gang confided in him that
when the men saw Emma’s
tent they thought it belonged
to a Colombian with drugs,
so they started firing shots
from 50 yards away. Emma
was hit in the arm and
started waving frantically
and screaming for help.
The witness said that
when the four men saw
that she was a woman they
attacked her, believing she
was carrying drugs. They
cut off her hair with a knife
while demanding to know
where the drugs were.
According to the witness,
one of the group then slit
her with a knife, before all
four men sexually assaulted
her. He said they then
dragged her body to the
river and dumped it in the
fast-moving water.
The men fled into the
forest after the killing.
Disgusted locals reportedly
provided the police with the
details and their identities.
The “SOS” button on
her GPS device had been
pressed inadvertently by
one of killers. The signal led
investigators straight to the
riverside village, 150 miles
west of Manaus, in an area
without a telephone line or
mobile phone signals.
A spokesman said that the
criminals thought they could
kill her with impunity, but
then they pressed the button
which alerted the police.
Police recovered the GPS
device, as well as a mobile
phone and a memory card,
which the gang sold to local
villagers after killing Emma.
Emma Kelty was an
experienced traveller
who had previously skied
alone to the South Pole.
She had resigned as head
teacher of Knollmead
Primary School in
Surbiton for the trip
and was 42 days into the
4,000-mile journey when
she went missing.
l continued from page 15
September 22nd
pleaded guilty at Bristol
Crown Court to the
murder of his 58-year-old
stepfather Ian Baker.
The court heard that
Ford had been released
just days
before his
him up
to collect
some of his Above, killer
belongings. Martyn Ford.
Below, victim
But while
Ian Baker
the pair
were alone
at Mr.
home in
on June
4th, 2017, Ford attacked
him in the kitchen before
dragging him into the
living-room and attacking
him again with what
police believe was a
Ford then tried to
clean up the blood and
searched the house for
cash and goods before
calling a cab.
Mr. Baker, a fatherof-three and stepfather
to another three, was
described as caring and
Ford, 38, said he and
his stepfather had got
into a row when he was
picking up his belongings
and found that Mr. Baker
had thrown out some of
his mother’s possessions.
The court heard the
attacks started when
Mr. Baker was pushed
onto a chair. He suffered
a fractured skull after
several blows from a
hammer and was kicked
while on the floor.
Ford was given
a mandatory life
sentence and told by
Judge Peter Blair QC
that he would spend at
least 20 years and four
months behind bars
before being considered
for parole.
l more Chronicles on page
When a pregnant woman’s body was dumped in a Dublin
street, a notorious nurse became a prime suspect for murder...
HO IS likely to be
the first person to
spot something
wrong? Perhaps an early
bird, first-on-the-street
milkman. And that’s how
it was shortly before 6.30
a.m. on Wednesday, April
18th, 1956, when something
caught the eye of Patrick
Rigney as he delivered milk
in Dublin’s Hume Street.
Case report by
Matthew Spicer
Near the front doorstep
of number 15 he noticed
what he thought was just a
bundle of old clothes, until
he saw two legs protruding.
Police were called, and closer
inspection revealed the
legs were those of a young
woman. Her body, naked
from the waist down, was
covered by a black raincoat,
a skirt and some pillows.
A stocking was tied loosely
around her neck, and her
legs were lashed together
above the knees by another
stocking. Beside the body
was a woman’s handbag
and a box containing a
pair of women’s shoes. The
woman was dead, and there
were signs that her body had
been dragged some 25 yards
along the pavement from 17
Hume Street.
At 8.20 a.m. the state
pathologist Dr. Maurice
Hickey arrived at the scene.
Judging the woman to be
around 30, he found that
she was about five months
pregnant and had died
during an abortion.
Further inquiries
Above, Mamie
Cadden under
arrest in April 1956.
Five years earlier,
showgirl Brigid
Breslin had died in
Hume Street (top)
established that her body had
been where it was found at
least 90 minutes before Mr.
Rigney spotted it. Another
milkman had seen the heap
of clothes just after 5 a.m.,
but hadn’t noticed the legs.
Conducting a
post-mortem, Dr. Hickey
found that the woman had
died after a liquid or gas
had been pumped into
her to destroy the foetus
by separating it from the
wall of the womb. Air had
entered the bloodstream, and
on reaching the heart had
proved fatal. The pathologist
thought the woman would
have lost consciousness 15
seconds after the pump was
inserted in her vagina, and
she would have died about
two minutes later. Under
Irish law at that time, if an
abortion was performed
illegally by another person
and death resulted, this was
Papers in the woman’s
handbag identified her as
33-year-old Helen O’Reilly.
Irish and no longer living
with her husband, she had
returned to Dublin on
April 4th from Preston in
Lancashire. On April 13th
she had taken lodgings in
Ely Place, near Hume Street,
and the neighbourhood’s
publicans told the police
they thought she was a
prostitute. During the
Second World War her
husband had been interned
for helping Nazi Germany –
he was Ireland’s equivalent
of the Nazi propagandist
William Joyce, the notorious
“Lord Haw-Haw.”
Mrs. O’Reilly’s bankbook
found in her handbag
showed that she had
withdrawn £15 on April
16th. Nearly £5 was still in
the bag, so she had spent
£10 in the last two days of
her life.
One witness was a Mrs.
Farrelly, lodging at 17 Hume
Street. She told the police
that in the early hours of
April 18th she was woken by
truecrime 45
what sounded like something
being dragged along the
landing. Another witness, a
man lodging in a front-room
at 15 Hume Street, said
that sometime after 3.30
a.m. that day he heard what
he thought was someone
sweeping the pavement. The
sound ceased after six or
seven minutes.
The most colourful tenant
at number 17 was a blonde
American of Irish descent,
Mary Anne “Mamie”
Cadden, a 65-year-old
former midwife. In the late
1930s, when there were few
women motorists in Ireland,
she had become a familiar
figure in Dublin as she drove
around the city in a red
sports car.
Known to many as Nurse
Cadden, she now eked out
a living giving advice on
constipation, rheumatism
and hair problems. But that
wasn’t all. Two episodes in
her past now made her the
prime suspect in the murder
inquiry. In the 1940s she
had been given a five-year
jail sentence for performing
an illegal abortion which put
her client in hospital. Then
in 1951 another woman
was believed to have gone
to Nurse Cadden to have
her pregnancy terminated.
Detectives suspected that
after returning home the
client – a 30-year-old
Brigid Breslin
– had begun
and had
collapsed and
bled to death in
the street while
heading back to
Mamie Cadden
for help.
At that time
the police had
evidence against
Mamie to charge
her with Brigid
Breslin’s murder,
but now the
of a second
dead woman
almost on the abortionist’s
doorstep seemed more than
a coincidence.
Asked if she had heard
anything in the early hours
of April 18th, Mamie said
her room was at the back of
the house. She had kept her
radio on all night to help her
to sleep as she was suffering
from arthritis, and she’d
heard nothing suspicious.
46 truecrime
Helen O’Reilly,
the 1956 victim.
During the war her
husband had been
interned for helping
Nazi Germany
When police informed the
occupants of No. 17 of the
body’s discovery, she had
commented, “Sure, it must
have been a man who did
While conducting the
post-mortem Dr. Hickey
had noted a strong smell of
disinfectant in the womb. He
suspected that disinfectant
had been used to help
the foetus,
and when
officers saw
Mamie in
her rooms
they had
intensified, and they
returned with a search
“You won’t find anything
here,” she told them, but in
a hatbox they found forceps,
two syringes and two
instruments used to examine
wombs. Mamie said these
items were from her last
medical job at a maternity
home which had closed in
1939, and the hatbox had
not been touched for years.
Detectives noticed finger
marks in dust on the box,
however. Asked about
some rubber tubes found
in her rooms, Mamie said
she used them for enemas.
The officers also took away
a medical manual, some
surgical lamps, a few rubber
Inside Mamie Cadden’s Hume Street flat. “You won’t
find anything here,” she told detectives
sheets and her diary.
In response to further
questions she said that on
April 17th she went to bed
at 2 p.m., got up at 7 p.m.,
and after chatting with Mrs.
Farrelly for a few minutes
she went to bed again until
10.30 p.m. Then a man
called to consult her about
a hair problem. She thought
he came from Kilkenny,
some 75 miles away, and she
didn’t know his name. She
said the consultation lasted
about an hour, and this was
confirmed by witnesses who
had seen her talking to a
man in the hall.
Mamie added that she
went to bed shortly after
the patient’s departure, and
didn’t awake until 8 o’clock
the next morning.
According to Mrs.
Farrelly, however, Nurse
Cadden had spent much of
the afternoon talking to two
women in her room. Then in
the evening she had gone up
and down the stairs several
times, fetching water from a
landing tap.
A week later Mamie
was questioned about
entries in her diary and the
instruments the police had
removed from her room. She
said that an April 17th entry
“2 p.m. blue coats” referred
to two clients who wore blue
coats. The patients had made
a 2 p.m. appointment for
hair treatment, but hadn’t
shown up. Superintendent
George Lawlor told her
he thought the entry was
originally “black coat.” It
had been made in red ink
and he believed she had
written something over it in
black to make it illegible.
Denying this, Mamie
claimed she didn’t know the
names of any of her patients,
saying she identified them by
the colour of their attire.
A diary entry for April
10th appeared to read “6
p.m. black coats.” Asked
about it, she said it was for
a woman client, and she
couldn’t recall her treatment.
The diary showed that
Mamie’s fees were usually
less than a pound, so £50
recorded for March 30th
prompted more questions.
She said it was for her
services to two or three
members of a family.
Superintendent Lawlor
then said that Helen
O’Reilly’s coat was black,
and he had reason to believe
that she was in Mamie’s
room on April 17th.
“I never saw her face
before,” Mamie replied,
reaching for the evening
paper which had a
photograph of the victim. “I
passed a remark when I saw
her photograph, to a man
who was here, that she had
the mouth of a prostitute.”
In answer to questions
about her instruments,
Mamie said the syringes
were for enemas, and the
forceps was a clamp used in
maternity cases to prevent
bleeding after the umbilical
cord was cut.
Questioned further about
the man who had called to
see her at about 10.30 p.m.
on April 17th, she seemed
to have forgotten her earlier
account of his visit. She now
said she had talked to him
about his arthritis, and about
the use of cortisone. “If I
knew this dirt was going on I
would have let him up to my
room to show him there was
no corpse there.”
She also now said he had
come “from nearly 200
miles away.” She had been
too tired to “give him some
stuff,” had told him to call
again, and she hadn’t seen
him since.
Nothing in this account
seemed to add up. If she was
so tired, why had she kept
the man talking in the hall
for an hour, when she could
have treated him upstairs
in a matter of minutes?
Was there something in her
rooms that she couldn’t let
anyone see?
The police thought so, and
traces of blood found on the
floor of her apartment and
its approaches strengthened
this suspicion. So on May
27th Mamie Cadden was
arrested and charged with
Having already told the
police that she suffered from
arthritis, she now said she
had nothing to say except
that she denied the charge.
“As a matter of fact, I am
unable to stand up,” she
added, saying she would get
a doctor to confirm that.
And as for Helen O’Reilly,
she had never even heard of
her, she said.
er 10-day trial began
at Dublin’s Central
Criminal Court on October
22nd, the prosecution saying
that if she had performed
or helped to perform Helen
O’Reilly’s illegal, fatal
abortion, she was guilty of
murder, whatever her intent
appointment with a patient
in a black coat.
Nearly three days of the
trial were occupied by Dr.
Hickey’s evidence. He said
that all the instruments
found in Mamie’s rooms
could have been used in
an abortion, and whoever
carried out the operation
on Helen O’Reilly had
some skill, as neither the
vagina nor the cervix had
been damaged. The victim’s
clothes and skin were dirty
and dusty, as if she had been
dragged along a pavement,
and he thought she died
around two or three a.m.
If the woman’s
appointment was at 8 p.m.,
the defence suggested,
Mamie Cadden was unlikely
to have been involved in
the death some six or seven
hours later.
The garda technical
bureau had also compared
hairs and fibres from the
Above,the basement steps of 15 Hume Street where
Helen O’Reilly’s body was found. Right, a page
from Mamie Cadden’s diary for April 1956. Police
believed the entry for the 17th had been changed
from “black coat” to “blue coats”
and regardless of whether
the victim consented to
the operation. (An illicit
operation was a felony, and
the killing of someone while
committing a felony was
murder in both Irish and
English law at that time.
This rule was removed from
English law in 1957, and
from Irish law in 1964.)
Mr. Rigney, the milk
roundsman, told the court
that while heading for St.
Stephen’s Green in the
morning of April 18th he
had glanced down Hume
Street. On the pavement
where he later found Helen
O’Reilly he saw a woman
crouching. She wore glasses,
was stockily-built and was
wearing something white.
When he reached the body
shortly afterwards he saw a
woman looking up at him
from the adjacent basement.
He noticed only that she
had fair hair “raised up”
on her forehead, and he
couldn’t say if she
was the woman he
had seen earlier in a
crouched position on
the pavement.
Mamie Cadden had
fair hair and spectacles,
as everyone in the
court could see, and
her build was stocky.
A forensic expert
from the garda
technical bureau had
photographed Mamie’s
diary entries. By
using a filter he had
eliminated the black
ink, and the original
entry for 2 p.m. on
April 17th clearly read “blue
coats,” so in that respect
Mamie had told the truth.
But the photographer’s use
of another filter revealed that
another obliterated entry
for April 17th read: “8 p.m.
black coat.” So Mamie had
tried to conceal the fact that
just hours before the body
was discovered she had an
On the pavement where he later
found Helen O’Reilly he saw
a woman crouching. She wore
glasses, was stockily-built and was
wearing something white
victim and her clothes with
hairs and fibres found in the
defendant’s rooms. In colour
and texture the samples were
similar, but the evidence was
not conclusive.
Mamie Cadden did not
go into the witness-box to
testify on her own behalf,
and in his closing speech her
counsel Mr. Noel Hartnett
asked the jury to consider
why a stocking had been tied
round the victim’s neck, and
who owned it. It belonged
to neither the victim nor the
defendant, he said, so was
it another abortionist’s, tied
round Helen O’Reilly’s neck
to suggest strangulation?
Furthermore, the victim’s
truecrime 47
l continued from page 44
September 23rd
in Boston have
revealed that Aaron
Hernandez (right),
a former American
footballer who
committed suicide
while in prison for murder,
had the most advanced case
of degenerative brain disease
CTE (Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy) seen
by them in a young man.
Hernandez was aged 27 when
he hanged himself in his cell
in April 2017. Days earlier he
had been acquitted of a 2012
double-murder but was still
serving a life sentence for the
2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
At the time of his death,
Hernandez was in the
process of filing an appeal
for that conviction.
September 26th
A BRITISH car salesman
who claimed his wife choked
to death during a sex game
in Majorca that went wrong
has admitted killing her with
a phone cable during a fit of
rage. Warren Lyttle, 52, made
his dramatic confession after
taking the witness-stand in
a Spanish court following
an 11-hour plea-bargain
with prosecutors who
were demanding a murder
conviction and 20-year jail
sentence. Taking the stand,
Lyttle said: “We argued
about money and because we
had been drinking.”
Lyttle was asked by the
state prosecutor during
questioning if he had
strangled his wife with a
mobile phone cable and gave
the one-word reply: “Yes.”
Jurors at a criminal court in
the Majorcan capital Palma
were told that as part of a
deal involving him owning up
to ending his wife’s life, the
British expat was now facing
a lesser charge of homicide
and a 12-year prison
Lyttle was arrested in
January 2016 after he called
police and paramedics to his
home in Costa de la Calma
where 49-year-old Lisa Jane
was found dead.
A post-mortem showed
the mother-of-one, whose
main residence was in
Kilburn, north London, but
who travelled regularly to
Majorca to spend time with
48 truecrime
Warren Lyttle with police
her husband, had died from
asphyxia due to strangulation.
Lisa Jane had only flown to
Majorca two days before she
was killed in the early hours
of January 23rd, 2016, for a
week’s holiday.
Her self-confessed killer
told a judge in a remand
hearing 24 hours later that
she choked to death during
a sado-masochistic role-play
she proposed. However, state
prosecutors did not believe
his claims and said Lyttle had
an argument with his wife
during which he attacked her
with a mobile phone cable.
“He placed it round her neck
and strangled her with it,
compressing her neck and
causing her death from a lack
of oxygen.”
Once the nine jurors had
been selected, no mention
was made about the sex
game claims. The trial was
shortened with evidence
from police and forensic
experts because of the
plea-deal and Lyttle’s trial
admission. He will serve 12
years in prison.
l more Chronicles on page 50
An early police photo of Mary “Mamie” Cadden when
she was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment
umbrella, found with her
corpse, bore a fingerprint
which was neither hers nor
Mamie Cadden’s. So whose
was it? It had been left by
the actual abortionist, the
defence suggested.
Mr. Hartnett went on
to point out that when the
milkman witness described
the woman he had seen near
the body, he said he saw the
glint of her glasses. But that
was impossible, as the sun
did not reach Hume Street
until 8.30 a.m.
The jury might wonder,
Mr. Hartnett continued, why
the milkman did not speak
to the woman he saw in the
basement. How did he know
the victim was dead and
not just drunk? Mr. Rigney
was clearly deeply shocked
by what he had seen and
wanted to leave as quickly as
possible, the defence counsel
said, so how could the jury
rely on his evidence?
The court was not initially
told that Mamie Cadden
was known to the police.
Anxious not to prejudice her
trial, officers giving evidence
said nothing of her abortion
conviction, but one of them
let slip that although he did
not know her by sight, he
knew of her.
This had prompted the
defence to ask the judge to
send the jury out, but he
rejected their submission
that the trial should be
halted, and Mamie’s counsel
had then decided to tell the
jury everything.
The court had
consequently heard not only
that Mamie was a convicted
abortionist but that in
1939 she was described as
“the most hated woman
in Ireland” after she was
found guilty of abandoning a
six-week-old child. She was
working at a maternity and
children’s home in County
Meath at the time, and the
baby was found dumped
at a roadside shortly after
witnesses saw Mamie driving
off in her red sports car.
For that offence she had
been given a 12-month jail
In an attempt to turn her
reputation as an abortionist
to advantage, Mr. Hartnett
argued that she was so well
known in this role in Dublin
that it would be only natural
In 1930s Dublin, Nurse Cadden was a familiar figure
driving around the city in her red sports car
for another abortionist to
dump a dead client near
Mamie’s doorstep so that
she would get the blame.
But the jury took just
an hour on November 1st
to decide that Mary Anne
Cadden was guilty, and
the American’s response
to the death sentence was
characteristically robust.
“You will never do it!” she
said defiantly. “This is not
my country. I am reporting
this to the president of my
country.” Then she referred
to her abortion conviction,
saying it was false.
She was then told she
would be hanged on
November 27th at Mountjoy
Prison. No woman had been
executed in Ireland since
1925, and in the court the
death sentence was greeted
with quiet sobs. Outside, a
large crowd shouted, “Hang
Mamie Cadden appealed
against her conviction, so her
execution was postponed.
On Christmas Eve her
appeal was dismissed
and her hanging was set
for January 10th, but her
prophecy was soon proved
correct. On January 4th
she was reprieved, to
ultimately become the
last woman sentenced to
death in Ireland for murder
under the ordinary law. (In
1976 Marie Murray was
sentenced to death for a
policeman’s murder, after
being convicted by a Special
Criminal Court which sat
without a jury and dealt with
terrorist cases.)
In 1958 Mamie Cadden
was transferred from
Mountjoy Prison to Ireland’s
equivalent of Broadmoor at
Dundrum, where she died
from natural causes on April
20th, 1959.
Forty-six years later,
interest in her case was
renewed with the publication
in 2005 of a book by Ray
Kavanagh: Mamie Cadden
– Backstreet Abortionist.
According to this account,
Mamie was justly convicted
of murder, and she had an
accomplice, one Standish
A married member of
an old Anglo-Irish farming
family, O’Grady lived in a
mansion on a large country
estate in County Cork. He was
having an affair with Brigid
Breslin, and when she became
pregnant he organised her
abortion, the book claims
The cost was £20, and she
died on Mamie’s “operating”
table at 17 Hume Street,
O’Grady and Mamie then
putting her outside No. 19.
The dead woman’s handbag
contained a letter from
O’Grady, topped by his family
crest, and – like Mamie – he
was interviewed by the police
but never charged.
Over the years, according
to Kavanagh, O’Grady was a
contact man taking women to
Mamie’s flat. He had property
in Dublin, and when Helen
O’Reilly died just after 8 p.m.
Mamie sought his help. There
were too many people around
when he arrived
at 9.20, so he said
he would return at
6 a.m.
unfazed, Mamie
then got into bed
with the corpse.
Kavanagh says
that as Helen
O’Reilly weighed
only nine stone,
Mamie was able
to help O’Grady carry the
body to No. 15 despite her
arthritis. And while the police
were interviewing her shortly
after 8.15 a.m., she received
a telephone call from a man.
This was possibly O’Grady,
wanting to know if the body
had been found.
When questioned by the
police he denied knowing
Mamie, but he may well
have been “the man from
Kilkenny” seen talking to her
in the hall at No. 17 on the
night in question. The location
of his home in County Cork
would explain Mamie’s later
statement that the late-night
caller had travelled 200 miles
to see her.
For old-timers the case
was a reminder of the
early 1940s when travel
from Ireland to England
was severely restricted.
Dublin had consequently
experienced a rise in
abortions, which before the
war would have taken place
in Britain, many Irish
women going there for that
In November 2017’s TC we challenged readers’
true crime knowledge with a special prize quiz.
Below are the questions with the correct answers
– and the names of our lucky winners. Many
thanks to all those readers who took part!
1) What’s the name of this Scottish serial
killer (right)? B) Peter Tobin
2) What nationality were the bodysnatchers
Burke and Hare? C) Irish
3) Which Chicago Mob boss was known as
“the only man Al Capone feared”? B) Hymie Weiss
4) How old was American murderess Louise Peete
at the time of her execution in 1947? B) 66
5) In which English city did the unsolved murder of
Julia Wallace take place in January 1931?
C) Liverpool
6) Which killer, in 2003, sedated her victim with a
strawberry milkshake before bludgeoning him to
death? A) Nancy Kissel
7) Which English serial killer lived at 10 Rillington
Place, Notting Hill? D) John Reginald Halliday Christie
8) Which infamous English killer attended
Gresham’s School in Norfolk? C) Jeremy Bamber
9) How did serial killer Stephen Port murder his
four known male victims? B) Drugs overdose
10) In which year did rampage killer Michael Ryan
strike in the market town of Hungerford, Berkshire?
C) 1987
11) How many times has John Lennon’s killer, Mark
Chapman, been denied parole? C) 9
12) Which award-winning US podcast investigated
the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student
Hae Min Lee? D) Serial
13) Can you name the Aussie killer (right)?
C) Mark “Chopper” Read
14) In which Australian state was HM
Prison Pentridge? C) Victoria
15) At which jail was the Australian outlaw Ned
Kelly hanged? A) Melbourne
16) What was the name of the “Brides in the Bath”
killer? A) George Joseph Smith
17) Which of the following was NOT an executioner?
D) Gordon Cummins
18) In the August of which year did the Great Train
Robbery take place? B) 1963
19) What nationality was 19th-century killer Martin
Dumollard? B) French
20) What was the nickname of English gangster
Jack Comer? B) Spot
The winner of the £100 first prize, with 20 questions answered
correctly, was Mrs. Carol Thorp of Sheffield. Congratulations!
Your prize will be with you soon. The three runners-up, also
scoring top marks and each winning a six-month True Crime
subscription, were Mr. Steven Fisher of Hedge End; Miss
Amber Blakeman of Bordon; and Mr. Brian Johnston of The
Wirral. Well done!
truecrime 49
l continued from page 48
September 27th
fridge, freezer and elsewhere.
42, and
Baksheev, 35,
have been
as police
investigate Natalia’s
Russia suspect a couple
of alleged cannibals made
human meat pies and sold
them to restaurants. They
did this from their home at a
hostel in a military academy
in Krasnodar, southern
Russia. Dismembered human
remains were found in their
confession that the couple
killed and ate 30 or more
Detectives were tipped off
after road workers found a
phone belonging to Baksheev
which included “selfie”
photographs of him with
a woman’s severed hand
and other body parts. He
is believed to have killed
the woman after the couple
quarrelled with her during a
drinking session.
Phones belonging to other
victims were found during
searches as well as recipes
and video lessons for cooking
human meat.
Investigators later
discovered fragments in a
salt solution and frozen meat
in the couple’s home. A
photograph was also found of
the male suspect apparently
with a severed hand in his
It’s believed the couple
trawled dating websites
Detective Monthly
Above, detectives with a
mystery jar found at the
hostel. Inset above, suspected
cannibal Dmitry Baksheev
THE 7.42 TO
46 Mowed
South Africa‘s Supercop
On sale at your newsagent from January 25th or see the offer on page 34
50 truecrime
to find their victims.
Neighbours say Natalia, a
former nurse, made and sold
pies to boost her income.
According to newspaper
reports, Natalia offered to
supply meat to a café in the
city and sought work as a
Café owner Vitaly
Yakubenko said: “It was in
2010. She was very active,
asked lots of questions but
mainly about where we buy
our meat and fish and how
fresh it is. She made clear she
could supply meat.
“I said that we work only
with certified suppliers.”
The couple reportedly
supplied human meat pies
to Russian pilots, including
military trainees and student
pilots attending the academy
where Natalya worked.
Lyubov Baksheeva, second
wife of Vladimir, Dmitry’s
adoptive father, said the
alleged cannibal had grown
up in an orphanage before
Vladimir and his first wife
adopted him.
Ms. Baksheeva said he
had been jailed in his teens
for robbery and theft. “We
knew that this woman
Natalia influenced him in a
bad way,” she said.
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