Showing posts with label Papin Sisters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Papin Sisters. Show all posts

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.


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

Papin Sisters
Credit:neil-paton.tripod

Christine & Lea Papin – Famous for Murdering


In a location in northwest of France is a city called Le Mans known for little famous car race which tends to take place once a year – the `24 Hours of Le Mans’. However with a brief fleeting look at the entry of `Le Mans’ in Wikipedia in the section of Notable People one would perceive down in the 7th position in the midst of twenty difference aristocrats, priest together with well-known musicians, names of Christine and Lea Papin. These two sisters had gifted the city with some amount of dishonour which would then never have been achieved.

The Papin sisters instead of being famous for a splendid and promising accomplishment were famous only for murdering in the most horrific manner, their domestic employer together with her daughter in 1933. The Papin sisters belonged to a troubled family in Le Mans. Their mother was Clemence Derre and their father Gustave Papin. Though there were rumours circulating that Clemence had been having an affair with her boss, Gustave seemed to love her.

When she got pregnant in October 1901, Gustave had married Clemence and baby Emilia Papin was born in February 1902. However it kept Gustave wondering if Clemence still continued with her affair. He then decided to get a job in another town to take Clemence away from Le Mans.

Birth of Emilia


Two years after the birth of Emilia, Gustave made an announcement that he would be taking a new job in a different town. At this Clemence had threatened to commit suicide instead of leaving Le Mans. This gave rise in strengthening his suspicions that had she been having an affair. After she had come round to her senses, the couple then moved and began life afresh.

As they progressed their relationship seemed to be more volatile and according to reports Clemence showed no affection for her husband and children, becoming an unstable individual. Gustave on the other hand turned to alcohol. Clemence had sent Emilia who was 9 or 10 years old to the Bon Pasteur Catholic orphanage. Thereafter there were rumours stating that her father had raped her. Later on she had joined the convent and had become a nun.

Clemence had also given birth to two other children and both of them had been sent away at an early age by Clemence and her husband. Christine was born in 1905 being the middle child of the family seemed to be the difficult child. Immediately after her birth, her parents had handed her over to her father’s sister who had been happy to have her. She remained there with her aunt for seven years after which she went to a Catholic orphanage.

Papin Sisters

Christine - Strong Personality/Lea - Shy


Though Christine preferred joining the convent, her mother did not permit her and sometime later engaged her into service. Having an average intelligence she seemed to have a stronger personality than Lea her sister. Her employers had stated that she would be rude at times though she was a hard worker and a good cook. Lea born in 1911 on the other hand was shy and the youngest child of three girls.

She seemed to be somewhat lower intelligence than her sister and was an introvert, quiet and obedient. Lea had grown up with her mother’s brother till he died and thereafter had joined a religious orphanage till the age of 15 years. In 1926, Christine and Lea Papin being of age were fortunate to have a domestic live-in job together in the home of the Lancelin family in Le Mans. It was a home of a retired lawyer, his wife Leonie together with their adult daughter, Genevieve.

 Christine worked as the family cook and Lea cleaned the house. The Papin sisters seemed on most account good and mode housemaids and every Sunday they would dress up and attend church service. They had built up a reputation of being diligent workers with good behaviour.

The Papin Sisters – Unsocial


Being known to be quite unsocial, Christine and Lea preferred to be by themselves and everyday during their two-hour break after lunch, instead of going out to enjoy themselves, they rather preferred staying in their bedroom. The Papin sisters, by 1933 had been with the Lancelins for 6 years. Christine was 27 years while Lea was 21 years old. That year on February 2, Mrs Lancelin together with her daughter have returned home at around 5.30 to an almost dark house and it had been the second time in a week when due to malfunctioning of iron while Christine had been ironing ,had resulted in the electrical fuse to blow up. Strangely the repair man who had returned the iron that day found nothing wrong with it.

When Christine had informed Mrs Lancelin that the iron had broken down again, she became angry and an argument took place. Mrs Lancelin had been a strict employer and would often put on white gloves to check for dust, would give feedback on Christine’s cooking and make Lea redo the cleaning when she found that she had missed a spot. However this time seemed to be a different affair. It was said that Christine had snapped and being at the top of the stairs on the landing of the first floor had leaped at Genevieve tearing out her eyes with her fingers.

Brutally Slaughtered the Two Women


Lea had quickly joined in the struggle and grabbed Mrs Lancelin. Christine had ordered her to gouge out the eyes of Mrs Lancelin after which Christine ran downstairs to the kitchen to get a knife and hammer and returning back upstairs had clubbed and sliced the mother and her daughter. The sick sisters also utilised a pewter pitcher lying on a table at the top of the stairs to bash the heads of the ladies.

According to experts the incident had lasted for about 30 minutes but eventually the maids had brutally slaughtered both the women. When Mr Lancelin together with his son-in-law had returned home between 6.30 and 7.00 pm the door had been bolted from inside and they were unable to enter though they knew that someone was at home. The house had been in total darkness except for a faint light coming from the upper level of the house. This gave rise to suspicion and hence they sought the help of the police.