Military Review

Bluebeard from Gamba. Part of 2

In the conditions of the First World War, people often disappeared without luck. And the police already had enough worries, moreover, far from always the relatives of the disappeared turned to law enforcement officers for help. This circumstance took advantage of Landru. With the help of advertisements in newspapers, he met single wealthy women. "Processed" them, and then killed, eliminating the traces of their crimes. The police managed to reach him by chance. Madame Lacoste, a relative of one of the missing, unexpectedly met Henri.

Bluebeard from Gamba. Part of 2

Uncoiling bloody tangle

It would seem, bones and bones, what is wrong with that? But criminologists are interested in dog remains. Since the leads appeared in different places, it was decided to feel this trace. The poll of the inhabitants of Vernula was more productive than the population of Gamba. The fact is that Landru visited this city more often and rented an estate there from autumn 1914 to spring 1917. A red-bearded man with a big bald head was remembered. Neighbors recalled that around the summer of 1915, Henri first came to Vernullais with some middle-aged, but graceful and beautiful lady who spoke French with an accent. At first they visited the estate with short arrivals, but then settled here in earnest. Neighbors remembered the day when the lady came to the bearded man with large suitcases and a pair of small dogs. There are no such coincidences. It became clear that the skeletons found during the "land works" belong to the same animals. There was no doubt about the tragic fate of a woman. Then the police managed to establish that the lady wore the name Laborde. She was very wealthy, because she and her husband owned several hotels, one of which was already in Argentina. But when her husband was gone, Madame Laborde sold the business and moved to France. Here she met Diard, thanks to all the same ads in the newspapers. Their romance developed rapidly, it was going for a wedding, but ... once a woman just disappeared, as if she had never been.

Accordingly, on the police stations were sent to the orientation of Madame Laborde. It is clear that there was practically no chance to find her alive, but it was worth trying. In the meantime, there were investigative measures concerning the estate in Wernullah, the police began to dig up the area near the house in Gamba. At the same time and almost completely dismantled the building, hoping to find at least some trace. But this path led them to a dead end. In fact, the police had nothing to show Landru. And the detainee understood this perfectly, so he continued to play in silence with the law enforcement officers. But, interestingly, it was worth starting a conversation on any other topic that did not concern the disappeared women, Henri instantly turned on. He "pushed" wise phrases related to morality and morality. But it was worth asking a question about women, Landry immediately fell silent. Once he asked to bring pencils and paper to his camera, they say, he wanted to be creative. And in the evenings Henri drew and sang something under his breath. In general, he looked quite calm and confident. It seemed that the fact that he was under investigation in prison did not bother the man at all.

And the police continued to examine the contents of the boxes. And by chance, one of the law enforcement officers came across a sheet on which the names were written: “Kyusha, A. Kyusha, Rezil, Crozatier, Le Havre, Buisson, Collomb ...”. That list went on and on. The police knew for sure that Kyusha’s mother and son were missing, as was Buisson. It turned out that the names of the victims Landryu were written on paper. Earlier, Henri himself decided not to talk about it. Instead, the guards tried to find at least one of these women. And, of course, they were all missing. It was possible to make one more discovery: all the ladies were aged and had financial savings. Only Andre Cusche, and some young Andri Babelai, were knocked out of the list. And if the criminal was removed by the criminal as an extra witness, it was not so simple with Babelay. Raising archival documents, the guards managed to establish that she was a beggar who was engaged in vagrancy, and earned a living by begging. There was quite a logical question: why did the calculating criminal kill her? For example, the death of Madame Zaume was clear - a woman owned a solid state, was a shareholder of several large firms. And what could have been taken from a hobo who, most likely, was still engaged in prostitution? But before you do this history, the police began to search for Louise Zaume. After all, she was the richest Landryu from the list.

Soon we managed to find out that all of her condition disappeared in the fall of 1917. In September, a bearded man with a bald head came to the bank and introduced himself as a confidant of Madame Zhaume. After talking with the company's employee, he said that the woman was in a delicate situation and she needed to “hide” the extra bank accounts. Therefore, he asked to transfer funds to a new joint account. Since such situations occurred quite often, the bank clerk did not suspect. And in a short time the money went according to the specified details. And from that account they were quickly withdrawn. Neither Madame Jaume nor the bearded man was seen in the bank. But when the police showed the clerks a picture of Landru, they identified him, stating that he had introduced himself as a “confidant”.

Even more surprised by the police officers was the story of Madame Mercadier. Teresa was a fairly famous woman who rotated in the highest circles. In fact, she was an "expensive prostitute." Her clients were wealthy people. For example, diplomats, bankers, entrepreneurs. It was possible to establish that she occasionally visited London at the invitation of the “mighty of this world”. In general, her life was very successful. There was enough money and fans - some Nana from the novel of the same name by Emil Zola. More surprising was the fact that she somehow fell into the trap of Landry. Why would she meet a man through a newspaper ad? But the casket, as you know, just opened. Through acquaintances, Henri learned that Teresa was going to change the furniture in her house. And since she did not experience financial problems, she decided to buy antiques. And “very much in time” Teresa met Landru, an experienced and professional appraiser. It was not possible to establish whether they had a novel or not. But the police found out that Teresa came with Henri to the alleged estate in Gamba. And after this visit, as it is easy to guess, the woman literally evaporated.

Then it was possible to establish the life path of Andri Babilay. She traveled from one city to another on foot, following the train tracks. In the settlements spent a couple of months and went further. During the "parking" Andrew begged for alms, stole or engaged in prostitution. She was often detained, but quickly released. Just from the police report for March 1917, it was possible to establish that at that time she was still alive. How fate brought the beggar and Landru, it was not possible to find out. The police suggested that the girl became an unwitting witness to the crime, so Henri chose to get rid of her and put on his list.

But all this evidence was not enough to accuse Landru. You never know what is written on paper? And it was easy to explain the disappearance of women - they just went to another country. Indeed, at that time everything was a war, and the ladies were wealthy and could afford a long “resort”. What prevented the same Madame Laborde to return to Argentina and quietly drink wine on the beach? Therefore, the police were required to find irrefutable evidence of Landru’s guilt. And the guards made a request to the border service. They gave the names of the missing women, asking them to find out if they crossed the border of France. The border guards, of course, went to a meeting and assisted in the investigation. They had to do a gigantic job - to go through the archive from 1914 to 1918. No one expected a quick result. Therefore, while the border guards studied the paper, the police continued to jam their work. Looking ahead, I will say that it took a little less than a year to verify documents. And, of course, not a single woman from the list officially left France. A negative result, as you know, is also a result. The last doubts dissipated, all the women who visited the estates of Gamba and Vernullah, have long been dead. But where are the bodies?

A version was put forward that Landru got rid of corpses with alkali or acid. Like, he literally dissolved them. But even approximate calculations showed that it would take several hundred kilograms of chemicals to do this for Henri. And that would be enough to eliminate eleven bodies (as many women, according to the most minimal calculations, killed Landry). Anywhere, Landryru simply could not steal the necessary chemicals in such quantities. The only way is to try to purchase legally. So I had to check this version too. But this was not so easy. Since due to the war the chemical industry in France sharply intensified. But, despite the time and effort spent, it was not possible to find anything concrete. And the police had to admit that he was getting rid of Landru’s bodies in some other way.

Further events

In the meantime, the year was coming to a close. That is, more than a year has passed since the detention of Henri. The investigation has so far been at a dead end. All the strings that could be found soon broke off. It was clear that Landru committed crimes on estates located in Gamba and Vernulah. It was possible to establish for certain that Henri rented a house in Gamba from spring 1920 to the end of 1917. But he used the building in Wernulla earlier - from the fall of 1918 to the spring of 1914. The police came to the conclusion that something had happened in Vernulah, so Landry had to change his place of deployment. There was no other reason to move to the wilderness. The fact is that the house in Vernula was more respectable and was located in close proximity to Paris. Since Henri positioned himself as a man with “sufficient income, serious and revolving in good circles,” this option was clearly more advantageous for powdering women's brains. After all, Gambe - was farther from the capital and was much less prestigious. So there was a good reason for moving. It remained to find out what could happen.

Studying at home, the police paid attention to the furnace. In a house located in Gamba, the stove was an impressive size. It was located in the basement and was intended for heating the entire building. The estate in Vernulla couldn’t boast anything like that. In it, the police found only a fireplace, and a couple of small stoves designed to heat one room. And then a thought appeared, but what if Landru burned the bodies?

On the estate in Vernula, it was simply impossible to do that. And even if the offender previously dismembered his victim, it would not help. For the fireplace and two small stoves, this was an impossible task. Another thing is a house in Gamba. The police decided to check into this version. Although, of course, there was not much enthusiasm about this. Still, Landry was a very cunning person, able to calculate the situation a few moves ahead.

First of all, law enforcement officers interviewed Landry’s neighbors in Wernullah and Gamba. In the first case, the result was expectedly zero. But in the second ... People told the guards of the order that Henry stoked the stove from time to time, without reference to weather conditions. For example, thick black smoke with an unpleasant odor poured from a chimney in September 1917. The weather was warm and there was no sense in stove heating. The same thing happened a few more times, until the spring of the 1918 year. That is, the autumn of 1917 of the year is the date of the disappearance of Louise Jaume, and the spring of 1918 is of Anette Pascal, another lady from Landryu's list.

This fact was, although indirect, but still a serious clue. The police began to work with renewed vigor. After so much time, for the first time they felt like hunting dogs, who managed to attack a blood trail. The guards realized that they were not looking there all this time. They dug over the whole territory of the estate, but not a single shovel touched the pit of ashes located in the backyard. Nobody thought up to this point to look in it.

In the spring of 1921, several police officers came to Gamba again. They were armed not only with the usual shovels, but also with the sieve. With it, they were going to sift the contents of the pit. And their colossal works were not in vain. The police were able to detect bones, teeth, crowns, and buttons. The examination showed that the bones and teeth were human. Landru burned his victims! Findings have become direct evidence of his crimes. With such weighty evidence, it was possible to seriously put pressure on Henri and, thereby, make him admit everything.

But, contrary to the expectations of the police, Landru decided to hold on to the last. True, by and large, it did not play any decisive role. The investigation and without it was able to restore the terrible picture of the crimes of Henri. Freed from prison, Landru concluded that he would not be able to endure another time. Therefore, the offender decided to act in a different way. He was arrested because of witnesses whom he kept alive. And if so, it was necessary to eliminate them. No man, no problem. And just kill - it was too risky. Landry came up with the perfect plan. Victims should quietly and imperceptibly disappear. To enter into the confidence of the woman, to powder the brains of her relatives, and then arrange a move to the “family nest” - these are the main points of the Henri plan. And if the disappearance was revealed too early, he had prepared a maneuver - to declare that family life did not work out, they say, they did not agree on the characters. The woman left and where she is now, he himself does not know.

It was precisely established that Henri, in the estate located in Vernouille, dealt with Madame Kyusha and her son Andre, Madame Laborde and several other women. The exact number of victims was not established. Since the body he did not burn, and get rid of them in some other way. And after the murder of Babelai, the tramp, Landru changed his place of deployment. Apparently, he considered that this crime could destroy him. Thus the killer was in Gamba. The Hermitage estate with a large stove was ideal.

Since Henri was a pedantic man, he kept records concerning his victims. It is unlikely that he could have imagined then that the police would be interested in the contents of his notebook. And if he glances there, he will understand nothing. But such self-confidence and summed up the killer. He wrote down everything in a notebook. Starting from spending on tickets to cynical phrases, for example: "I go back and forth, Annette go there."

They found the police and a record in which Henri announced the sale of furniture, which Madame Laborde had brought on the estate in Vernulah.

Just in case, the police turned to all women from Landryu's list through the newspaper. They asked to contact the guards of the order and tell about the acquaintance with the bearded man. But, of course, no reaction followed. And the "Landryu Case" was sent to court.


Surprisingly, Henri realized too late that his song, as they say, is sung. But until recently he did not believe that the police would be able to prove his guilt. Therefore, he did not even try to impersonate an insane person. During the psychiatric examination, which the man underwent at the beginning of the investigation, he proudly stated that “he does not consider himself a sick person and if he is still recognized as such, he will challenge this conclusion”. Perhaps in 1921, when the hearing began, he regretted that mistake. But he could not fix anything. He, like a broken phonograph, repeated the same phrases: “If I am a murderer, then show the bodies of the people I killed!” And “I don’t care about the disappearance of women!”.

He could not explain the fact that the women with whom he became close, soon disappeared. And on the question of intimate relationships, he said: “I’m a well-bred person and I won’t say anything about my relationship with that woman. If you are interested in the circumstances mentioned, you should find a lady and get her permission to discuss them in public. ”

In general, Landru's line of defense was missing. He tried to justify himself somehow, but it turned out that he was stupid and unconvincing. The clues that the policemen so hard got from their weight literally crushed the criminal. And later (and the trial itself lasted a little less than a month), Henri only sighed contritely, rolled his eyes in a picture and mumbled: “I have nothing I would like to say ...”

So, there is nothing surprising in the fact that he was convicted of killing at least eleven women (the investigation was confident that in fact the number of corpses is much more - about three hundred, but could not prove it). News about the guillotine Landryu took calmly, even casually. Apparently, he has already come to terms with the inevitable retribution. True, the appeal of Henri still filed. But she was very quickly rejected. He had another opportunity to avoid the guillotine - to ask for pardon of the president of the country. Most often, women sentenced to capital punishment tried to grasp this straw. And sometimes the president saved them, showing humanism. But Landru did not even try, knowing that for such crimes he could not escape the guillotine.

Waiting for execution, Henri painted in a cell intended for suicide bombers. He refused a neighbor (a false prisoner, who was supposed to entertain the condemned man of the highest degree in order to brighten up his last days), explaining that he wanted to be alone. He created paintings that (unfortunately for the police) were in no way related to his criminal activities.

Landru was executed on February 25th of 1922. Before his death, according to tradition, he was offered to drink a glass of rum and smoke a cigarette, to which Henri replied: “You know that I have never been either a drunkard or a smoker ... And then, it is unhealthy.”

By the way, the head of Bluebeard from Gamba is now one of the exhibits in the Museum of Death, located in Hollywood.
Articles from this series:
Bluebeard from Gamba. Part of 1

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  1. Adjutant
    Adjutant 10 October 2018 07: 33
    No matter how much the rope - but one end.
    Maniac less - everyone is better
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. vkl.47
      vkl.47 11 October 2018 08: 07
      Good article.
  2. akunin
    akunin 10 October 2018 09: 09
    for a long time I thought who Landry looked like

    and found
    walter kovacs (Jackie Earl Haley) from The Keepers
    Thank you very much to the author, I read it with pleasure.
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 11 October 2018 22: 02
      But Walter Kovacs reminds me of a wolf: such a look brr
      1. akunin
        akunin 12 October 2018 10: 14

        there is already baldness, but a mustache and a beard.
  3. Evdokim
    Evdokim 10 October 2018 09: 51
    Practical murderer, records, oven, but ...
  4. Oleg Kolsky 051
    Oleg Kolsky 051 10 October 2018 12: 15
    It's strange that he didn't stop. Since most of his victims were rich women, then his booty should have amounted to at least hundreds of thousands of francs. And where did it all go? And in the end he had already killed for the love of "art"? Unwittingly, he wonders if this is the peak
    iceberg? And how many of these ghouls ended their days without being caught? Maybe there is not one such bowl worked? But have not three hundred missing people and the case been archived? It turns out that every week he had to get rid of the body? Unanswered questions are obtained.
    1. Ekaterina Shtepa
      Ekaterina Shtepa 11 October 2018 15: 48
      Agree. I think that some of the missing women were simply "hung" by investigators. However, a maniac - he is also a maniac in Africa ... He earned 1000% of the guillotine!
      1. vladcub
        vladcub 11 October 2018 21: 59
        Ekaterina, you are right: the police always and everywhere do not like "hangs" and will gladly write them off to someone
    2. Warrior2015
      Warrior2015 12 October 2018 01: 04
      Quote: Oleg Kolsky 051
      It is strange that he did not stop. Since most of his victims were rich women, his output should have been calculated at least hundreds of thousands of francs. And where did it go?

      Maniacs - they are like wolves or tigers cannibals, having tasted human blood, can no longer stop. They can be stopped only with the punishing hand of the Law.

      And the money apparently went to those banks, to the accounts in which they were deposited, especially if the deposits were opened to fake names.
      1. Oleg Kolsky 051
        Oleg Kolsky 051 12 October 2018 14: 11
        Good afternoon. I completely agree that this bastard has worked for the guillotine. Just a simple calculation shows that he had to get rid of the next body, and not anyhow, about every 5 days. Here you need a personal crematorium, not a stove. So, it seems that some bastard did not deservedly die his death.
  5. Stirbjorn
    Stirbjorn 10 October 2018 13: 02
    Honestly, I did not quite understand where he put the corpses during those years when he rented a mansion in Vernulla. There was no way to burn them. Or proved only the killings in Gamba?
    1. LMN
      LMN 11 October 2018 00: 51
      Quote: Stirbjorn
      Honestly, I did not quite understand where he put the corpses during those years when he rented a mansion in Vernulla. There was no way to burn them. Or proved only the killings in Gamba?

      Honestly, I did not quite understand where he put the corpses during those years when he rented a mansion in Vernulla.

      Well, there’s nothing about this in the article. yes You are right, apparently you really stopped “at Gamba.” As soon as a certain evidence base was collected, the case was simply brought to court. Do not forget about the time at which all this happened.
      How did they identify teeth for example? request
      I think this is for detectives, and so it was a great success and there was simply no need to "dig" further.
      Although I'm not sure about the "300" victims either lol
  6. vladcub
    vladcub 11 October 2018 21: 51
    Quote: Adjutant
    No matter how much the rope - but one end.
    Maniac less - everyone is better

    It’s just that it’s hard to call him a maniac. This is a slightly different phenomenon: Lada and serial killer in one bottle.
  7. vladcub
    vladcub 11 October 2018 21: 56
    Quote: Evdokim
    Practical murderer, records, oven, but ...

    And the old woman can miss: what the hell was he to make notes with the names of the victims and keep the "junk"?
    1. BRJ
      BRJ 12 October 2018 17: 57
      Quote: vladcub
      Quote: Evdokim
      Practical murderer, records, oven, but ...

      And the old woman can miss: what the hell was he to make notes with the names of the victims and keep the "junk"?

      Apparently, all the same, not everything was normal with his head. It is clear, based on the activity, of course, but I mean that he not just "cynically" violated the laws. So a maniac
  8. vladcub
    vladcub 11 October 2018 22: 06
    Quote: Stirbjorn
    Honestly, I did not quite understand where he put the corpses during those years when he rented a mansion in Vernulla. There was no way to burn them. Or proved only the killings in Gamba?

    And the police fig was bothering in search of new evidence. After all, what they have already found guilty