Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Papin Sisters: The Shocking Housemaids’ Crime That Shook France – Part II

Papin Sisters

Injuries on Face & Head

The police on entering the house had gone up the stairs and witnessed the awful scene where most of the injuries had been on the face and head of the victims. But the legs and bottom of the daughter portrayed deep knife grazes and both the women were beyond recognition since their faces had been completely ruined. Their teeth laid scattered around the room and one of the eyes of Genevieve had been lying on top of the stair.

Later on it was observed by the investigators that the other eye was under her body while the eyes of Madame were hidden within the folds of her neck scarf. Mrs Lancelin had been lying on her back with her legs apart with only one shoe on while the body of Genevieve had been facing down. A kitchen knife soaked in blood with a dark handle laid near her right hip.

 The entire space was covered with blood which had also been splattered on the walls two meters above the bodies. After the bodies had been discovered by the police, they searched the entire house. They pondered in their mind if the killer had done the same thing to the sisters.

Sisters Confessed Crime

However when they climbed the upper level where the bedroom of the maids was located, the door seemed to be locked. A locksmith had been called to unlock the door and when the police had they had found the girls in bed together with the robes on.

 Near the bed on a chair was kept the bloody hammer with traces of hair stuck to it. When questioned by the police on what had happened, the sister had instantly confessed the crime. The police had arrested the sister and had taken them into custody. Christine had become distressed and had fits when the police tried separating the girls. Ultimately, the authorities permitted a meeting between the two sisters and reported Christine had behaved and spoke in a manner which implied a sexual relationship.

Three doctors had been appointed by the court to order mental evaluations to the sisters to define if they were sane. Christine had shown indifference to the world and indicated that she had no attachments except to Lea. It was reported by the doctors that Christine’s affection for her sister had been of family devotion and that they had not noticed any type of sexual situation in the relationship.

No Pathological Mental Disorders

Lea on the other hand had considered Christine as a big sister or a mother figure and the appraisal stated that the sisters had no pathological mental disorders and no family history. The doctors considered the sisters, completely sane, indicating that the unusually closeness had caused the girls to act out together, both equally responsible for the murder.

 The jurors, at the hearing had taken only 40 minutes to consider and found that Christine and Lea Papin guilty of the murder. Lea had received a 10-year prison sentence while Christine had to face the guillotine, though the sentence had been transformed to life in prison. The gruesome double murder had infuriated the city and shocked the whole of France since there had never been such cruelty in a murder such as this.

Several people wondered why these two girls who seemed to be decent and had been treated well in their domestic positions could be so full of deep hatred that had led them to commit this hideous crime The murder seemed to be very atrocious and the gouging out of eyes along with their fingers seemed to be an act of animal savagery.

No Logical Motive For Crime

Philosophers, psychotherapist, writers together with the others started to chime in with their theories and some intellectuals expressed sympathy with the two girls. They saw the crime as a reflection of oppressive class divisions, poor working conditions together with prejudice while others believed strongly that since the girls had worked in decent employment with kind family, ate the same meals which the rest of the family had and had generous monthly salary, there was no logical motive for this kind of crime.

Some sources presumed that the girls could have been starved of love and affection. They had spent their formative years away from their parents’ instability with the members of the family who should have shown love to them. However they eventually had to go to a Catholic orphanage and there is no indication that they had suffered or were not cared for.

At the trial, a fourth doctor had testified and the girls could definitely not be normal. He had proposed that the relationship between Christine and Lea was a total merger of personalities. Lea had lost her identity to the dominant personality of Christine. In principle, there was no Christine and no Lea. The killer could really be the joint personality of two, a third identity. Psychotherapists all over the world are scrambling for a diagnosis.

Sensational Theory

Another more sensational theory had emerged – did Mrs Lancelin discover that the girls were having an incestuous homosexual relationship and did she perceive something which was not intended for her eyes and that could have been the reason why the girls gouged out the eyes with their bare hands. Christine did not fare well without her sister, in prison.

 She had displayed bouts of madness and had become strictly depressed and dejected and ultimately refused to eat at all. The prison officials then transferred her to a mental institute but there she continued to starve herself till she died in May 1937. Lea on the other hand had shown exemplary behaviour and served only 8 years of her 10-year sentence. She became a free woman in 1941 and lived with her mother in Nantes, France.

 There she worked in hotel housekeeping under an assumed name. Some say she died in 1982 but in 2000 while making a film – In Search of the Papin Sisters, Claude Ventura claimed to have found Lea living in a hospice centre in France. She had suffered a stroke and had been partially paralyzed and not in a position to speak and has passed away in 2001.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.