Home Crime An upper class lady planned the perfect murder An upper class lady planned the perfect murderMost people have grown weary of a particular family member, but few have gone as far as Madame Brinvilliers did in the 17th century. Crime 26/05/2023 by Space Navy 0 Comment Most people have grown weary of a particular family member, but few have gone as far as Madame Brinvilliers did in the 17th century. In 1666, a high-ranking French official named Antoine Dreux d’Aubray suddenly fell ill. Mr. d’Aubray vomited and had terrible stomach pains as he stayed at his mansion in northern France. Despite the first-class care of his daughter Marie-Madeleine Marguerite de Brinvilliers, he died of his illness just a few months later. When the doctor filled out the death certificate, he could think of no better explanation than that the man had died of rheumatism, but Mr. d’Aubray had been a rheumatic patient for years. The doctor’s explanation came in handy for the man’s daughter, Madame Brinvilliers. The poison in the soup she prepared for her father did its job and no one suspected anything criminal. She was sure that she had succeeded in committing the perfect crime. “In those days it was not possible to detect poisons in corpses by scientific methods, and alchemists and others alike made great fortunes selling poisons.” Poison was popular The woman had planned the mischief against the father for a long time. When Marie-Madeleine Marguérite d’Aubray was 21 years old, she married a wealthy marquis named Antoine Gobelin de Brinvilliers, who was the heir to the well-known gobelin factories, where quality tapestries were woven. The Margrave was highly respected, but he was nevertheless boring, and he was also a gambling addict. The young wife therefore took a lover named Godin de Sainte-Croix, who was an officer and a notorious womaniser. Her father did not like this at all and was very angry with his daughter. The father had connections within the court and he managed to have Sainte-Croix imprisoned in the infamous Bastille prison. The prison was full of inmates who knew a lot about poison mixtures. In those days, it was not possible to detect poisons in corpses by scientific methods, and alchemists and others alike made great fortunes selling poisons. Sainte-Croix absorbed the knowledge, and when he was finally released from custody after a year, he knew everything there was to know about poison. He and Mrs. Brinvilliers immediately set to work and began to prepare frightful things. During a visit to the local hospital, the Margravine carried out experiments that involved administering poison to the patients. In 1666 she had learned how to kill people without anyone suspecting. Soon after, she poisoned her father. The Brinvilliers inherited an enormous fortune, but the expensive habits of the lady’s lover, Sainte-Croix, meant that the money disappeared in no time. The couple therefore made the decision to murder the lady’s three siblings in order to gain control of all the family’s wealth. In 1670, the lady’s brothers, Antoine and Francois, died after eating cake. Madame Brinvilliers was a frequent visitor to the hôtel-Dieu hospice on the right bank of the River Seine in Paris. Weak people were used in deadly experiments 1. Mrs. Brinvilliers got around everything in the hospital Like many upper-class women, Madame Brinvilliers made frequent visits to the nearby hospital. The purpose, she said, was to support and make the patients happy, but in fact, everything else was in store. 2. The poison hidden in goodies When Mrs. Brinvilliers visited patients in the hospital, she usually brought treats for the poisoned patients. Wine, home-made soup and fruit puree were among the foods that were suitable for putting poison in. 3. The patient was helpless Diseases were often so advanced that sudden deaths were no surprise to health professionals. Most of those who were admitted to hospital were also poor individuals, so few missed them. An accident led to a revelation Madame Brinvilliers’ sister and her brother-in-law were next on the list, but then an explosion occurred in his Sainte-Croix toxicology laboratory, killing him instantly. When the police began to investigate the accident, a red leather box came their way. The box contained a letter from Madame Brinvilliers, as well as droppers and poison powder. The letters showed in black and white what had happened. As soon as Mrs. Brinvilliers heard about the investigation, she got to her feet and made herself disappear. She hid in a convent in the city of Liège where the police could not move her. It was not until a single constable, disguised as an abbot, lured her out of the convent, under the pretext of taking her for a walk, that the lady was finally arrested and taken to prison in Paris. “Half the nice people are involved in this and I could ruin their lives if I started talking” She confessed to the crimes and was sentenced to death, without the slightest remorse. “I’m going to be famous!”, the lady announced to herself as she awaited the execution. She could even tell that the use of poison had become common among the nobility. Only chemists could afford to pay for each portion which could easily cost 3,000 French pounds, which was six times the amount a poor Frenchman had to live on for the whole year. The tumultuous life of Madame Brinvilliers was still popular entertainment in the 19th century. The issue from which the story is taken is from 1887. “Half the nice people are involved in this and I could ruin their lives if I started talking,” she declared. Madame Brinvilliers remained silent. A year later, another scandal arose when the poisoner La Voisin was arrested. A total of 367 people were arrested and 36 executed. Most of them belonged to the upper class. In 1682, King Louis XIV actually stopped the investigation when it was discovered that the king’s mistress, Madame de Montespan, had bought poison, probably with the intention of killing her rival in love affairs.