Friday, 29 August 2014

Marie Alexandrine Becker - A Rose West Before Her Time

Serial killers have been around in all shapes and forms throughout history, and that includes female serial killers.  From Elizabeth Bathory, to baby farmers like Amelia Dyer, the murderous Liverpool sisters who poisoned their own families simply for insurance money, Aileen Wournos and of course, good old innocent Rose.  There was a forerunner to her in Belgium in the 1930`s, Marie Becker.  What was different about her, was that she did not start killing until she was in her mid 50`s, but the motive was the usual one; greed.  She loved only two things.  Money and a robust young lover.  This European serial killer was born in 1877, and when she married, she lived in Liege with her husband.  Life was for years, very boring to her until one day, whilst out shopping in town, she ran into Lambert Beyer.  This younger man was the local romeo, and she enjoyed the flirting they did, and decided that she wanted him.  They had an extremely active affair but there was a fly in the ointment; her husband.  She made her mind up that he simply had to go.  Naturally, she had an insurance policy on him that was fully paid up, so in the latter part of 1932, she poisoned him with Digitalis.  This comes from the Foxglove flower.

    Marie splashed out on receipt of the insurance and opened a dress shop.  She split her time between the shop and Beyer`s bed.  Over time, he grew bored with him and despatched him the same way as her husband.  He had left her money in his will, and despite the money she earned from her shop, she needed more to keep her new lifestyle intact.  She was a nightclub girl who paid for as many young stallions as she could.  Her actions took an extremely dark turn at the start of July 1935, when a friend of hers, Marie Castadot, was taken ill.  Marie Becker offered her services as a nurse, and before long, Mme Castadot was dead.  Marie had now hit upon a way to get money; kill her friends and customers if they had left her any money in their wills.  One day, a woman was complaining about her husband to Marie and that she hoped he would either leave or die.  Marie offered to supply something that definitely do the job.  And it would not be traced.

    She was thought to have murdered nearly a dozen people before Police received a letter in October 1936 saying that they should investigate Marie Becker very carefully.  They did, and after conducting a search of her home, made a Christie/ Rose West style discovery.  Bodies in various locations.  All the bodies, after post mortems, were found to contain Digitalis.  She was charged with numerous murders.  At their funerals, she had put on a quite a display of "grief" but she quickly dried  her eyes when she received money from their wills.  Convicted, she was jailed for life.

    An aside about West; some believe that like Hindley & Homolka, she was under the control of her murder partner; Fred.  I disagree.  One murder was shown to have been committed whilst Fred was in jail.  What does that tell you?  Rose wanted to kill Caroline Roberts.  Fred let her go, and it was her evidence that helped bring Rose down.  What does that tell you?  Do you believe that a man with limited intelligence could control somebody?  Fred was as thick as pigshit, Rose was not.  She, like Myra Hindley and Karla Homolka, were as bad as, if not worse, than their partners.