Did you know that the last woman guillotined in Belgium was Montagnarde?
Euphrasie Deroux , born in Montignies-lez-Lens, on February 11, 1813 and died by guillotine in Mons, on June 22, 1846 following the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Thérèse, was the last woman executed in Belgium following of a common law conviction.
On January 20, 1844 , Euphrasie Deroux gave birth to a second natural child, Marie-Thérèse. The father, despite his commitments to provide for the education of his daughter, disappears into thin air. Barely recovered from her childbirth, Euphrasie accepted a job as a nanny with the Carliers and placed her daughter in Masnuy-Saint-Pierre, with Joachime Moulin, her cousin. In the fall of 1845, the child Carlier had grown up and no longer needed the services of his nurse. Euphrasie Deroux therefore picked up her daughter from her cousin and moved to the Mary farm in November 1845 as a spinner.
Murder of little Marie-Thérèse
On February 1, 1846 , Euphrasia, absent all day, returned to the Marys. As food, she gives hawthorn berries to her daughter, which outrages Marie-Thérèse Picrit, the wife of Augustin Mary. She points it out to him and while she is about to prepare a slice of bread for him, Euphrasia grabs the bread to cut a slice of it before giving it to her daughter at a pace that she is far from being able to absorb. Léopoldine, the Mary's twelve-year-old daughter, warns her mother who is about to leave and turns her back on the scene.
In turn, Marie-Thérèse Picrit challenges Euphrasie Deroux and tells her that she is going to kill her child. Euphrasie then decides to put her daughter to bed and make her eat the bread crusts. She launches: "let this ugly young man die today". The child struggles to vomit, her mother slaps her and continues to stuff food into the little girl's mouth, who succumbs to the mistreatment. The mother tries to revive the child by throwing a jug of water in his face, in vain: Thérèse is dead. Euphrasie Deroux then asks Marie-Thérèse Picrit and Léopoldine to keep the secret and offers money, a franc for one and a few centimes for the other, to buy their silence.
Interrogations and arrest
Shocked, Marie-Thérèse Picrit opens up to the mayor of Montignies-lez-Lens, Nicolas Paternostre, who informs the courts:
"it has come to our knowledge that a woman named Deroux Euphrasie, worker in our commune, would have caused the death of her natural child who died on the 1st of this month (February 1846), aged 2, from whom we took information near the named Thérèse Picrit, husband of Augustin Mary who it seems, is aware of the facts but we did not write a report "to keep the thing secret". »
February 10 , 1846, at the request of the Mons public prosecutor's office, he heard again - officially this time - Marie-Thérèse Picrit and her daughter Léopoldine. Various witnesses will be heard. The information is overwhelming: "Under the pretext of warming her up, she held her over the fire. She got her butt all fried and her heels burnt. »1. In these depositions, we learn that the mother frequently fed her child with bread covered with black soap or with oil. One day, while scolding her severely for soiling her dress, she broke her arm. The report of the autopsy, carried out by Pierre Defontaine, doctor and by Auguste Wattines, surgeon delivered on February 12, 1846 confirms the nature of the death by asphyxia caused by the excess of food at the entrance of the glottis. They add to the file a bay of hawthorn found in his throat. They also note that the two arms are deformed by fractures of the humerus, a small abscess on the chest on the left, a bedsore on the buttock1,2.
On February 14, 1846 , Euphrasie Deroux was arrested in Masnuy-Saint-Pierre and questioned two days later at the Mons remand center by the investigating judge. The mother, illiterate, recognizes: "It is true that I killed him but I did not want to hurt him. ". On March 5, the judge heard him again. March 31 , 1846, brigadier Henri Deramaix of the Lens gendarmerie recounts what she replied to him when he questioned her on the reasons that led her to inflict such abuse on her daughter. She replied "that it was with the intention of killing her, that she was tired of it because her work was no longer enough to provide her with the necessities of life, and that finally, the one who had made her a as a child, had promised her money and that he had never given her any and that for these reasons she had formed the plan to kill her.
Conviction and execution
On April 25, 1846 , following her trial, she was sentenced to death by the Assize Court of Hainaut. On April 28, 1846 his lawyer, Toussaint, attempted an appeal in cassation and hoped to be able to have the facts reclassified as reckless homicide. An appeal for clemency is lodged with the King. Appeal and appeal are dismissed1,2.
On June 21, 1846 , Euphrasie Deroux was informed around 6 p.m. that the execution was scheduled for the following day. She hears a mass at midnight and prays there fervently.
On June 22, 1846 , a cart crossed the Grand-Place in Mons to bring Euphrasie Deroux to the foot of the guillotine where Jean-Joseph Guillaumez, the chief executor of the province of Hainaut, was waiting. The large crowd is massed around the scaffold. Some, awaiting the arrival of the condemned, claim: "the room! ". She climbs the stairs, unsure. Sentencing is deferred for a time, the guillotine having to be settled due to its small size. Euphrasie Deroux is executed at 6 o'clock in the morning.
Official documents - Acts - Press extracts
Deroux Euphrasie born in Montignies Lez Lens, February 11, 1813, spinner, domiciled there,
Assassination of his two-year-old daughter in Montignies Lez Lens, on February 1, 1846,
condemned by the Court of Assizes of Hainaut on April 25, 1846.
Executed on the Grand Place of Mons on June 22, 1846 at 6 a.m.,
( File resting in the State Archives in Mons under n°14/1846)
- Summary of the Case.
- Death certificate of Euphrasie Deroux resting in the Archives
- Execution report.
- Documents in the file.
- Photocopy of the death certificate (Adm com de Lens).
- Account of the execution of the interested party in the Gazette de Mons of June 23-24, 1846.
Summary of the DEROUX case (ACCORDING TO THE FILE BASED IN THE STATE ARCHIVES IN MONS. (Indictment).
The accused lived in Montignies Lez Lens with the MARY couple. She had her two-year-old daughter Thérèse with her. The accused had hated this child and treated her in the most cruel manner. Sometimes she would give him bread covered in soap, oil, or other harmful materials.
One day she placed her bare behind over the fire; the child uttered cries that his mother wanted to stop by kicking him. She continued to hold her in this position until the pain silenced the child who was badly burned.
The woman MARY reproached the accused for such an action. She replied by speaking of her daughter "Let her die boldly". On another occasion, the accused had cleaned her daughter who had soiled her clothes and then began to beat and beat her to the point that she broke her right arm.
On February 1, 1846, the accused was absent all day; she returned in the evening and she began by giving her daughter some hawthorn fruit which she had brought; she then prepared to put her to bed. The woman MARY reproached him for not giving supper to her child, and she said that she was going to make him a slice of bread. Immediately the accused asked for bread and she cut a slice of it, saying "that she boldly die today that bloody ugly young man there". She put the bread crumb in her daughter's mouth, but in such quantity that she could not swallow it and made efforts to reject it. The accused slapped him several times in the face to stop his efforts. The woman MARY pointed out to the accused that she was killing her child, the latter replied that she was going to put her to bed and that she would give her the bread crusts. The woman MARY was busy spinning and she had her back to the accused who continued to pile the bread in the child's mouth. Little Léopoldine MARY aged 12, observing what the accused was doing, she was not long in attracting the attention of her mother, who having turned around saw that little Thérèse gave no sign of life. The woman MARY addressed the sharpest reproaches to the accused who sought the same undigested nature and a large number of hawthorn fruits. From these observations, it was deduced that little Thérèse had died of asphyxiation. accused who continued to cram the bread into the child's mouth. Little Léopoldine MARY aged 12, observing what the accused was doing, she was not long in attracting the attention of her mother, who having turned around saw that little Thérèse gave no sign of life. The woman MARY addressed the sharpest reproaches to the accused who sought the same undigested nature and a large number of hawthorn fruits. From these observations, it was deduced that little Thérèse had died of asphyxiation. accused who continued to cram the bread into the child's mouth. Little Léopoldine MARY aged 12, observing what the accused was doing, she was not long in attracting the attention of her mother, who having turned around saw that little Thérèse gave no sign of life. The woman MARY addressed the sharpest reproaches to the accused who sought the same undigested nature and a large number of hawthorn fruits. From these observations, it was deduced that little Thérèse had died of asphyxiation. accused who sought to the same undigested nature and a large number of hawthorn fruits. From these observations, it was deduced that little Thérèse had died of asphyxiation. accused who sought to the same undigested nature and a large number of hawthorn fruits. From these observations, it was deduced that little Thérèse had died of asphyxiation.
When questioned, Euphrasia DEROUX denied ever having done the slightest harm to her daughter. The burgomaster informed her of the information he had gathered and told her that he was going to put her in the presence of her child. Immediately, she became troubled and she asked not to see her daughter and successively she confessed the truth of the facts of which she is accused.
DEATH CERTIFICATE (Based on the death registers of the city of Mons - State Archives in Mons).
In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, the first twenty-second of the month of June at 11 o'clock in the morning, in front of us, Charles Fontaine de Fromentel, alderman of the city of Mons, Province of Hainaut, Knight of the order of Leopold; delegated by resolution of the council of burgomasters and aldermen for the purpose of intervening in the acts of civil status appeared Gaspard DUVIVIER, aged 47, and Victor LEMOINE, aged 23, both employees domiciled in this city, who declared to us that Euphrasia Félicie DEROUX aged 33, spinner, born in Montignies Lez Lens, single, daughter of Jose h DEROUX and Florentine FLAMENT died in this town today at 6 a.m. it be read to them.
Minutes of the execution of Deroux Euphrasie (Reposing in the file of the State Archives in Mons).
The year one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, on June 22 at six o'clock in the morning, in execution of the judgment rendered by the Assize Court of the province of Hainaut sitting in Mons on April 25, 1846 which condemned the named Euphrasie Félicie DEROUX aged 33, spinner, born and domiciled in Montignies Lez Lens for assassination by death and at the expense of the trial.
We clerk clerk of the court of first instance sitting in said Mons, we went to one of the rooms of the town hall where, being and from the balcony of this room overlooking the main square, we saw the aforesaid brought by the public force Euphrasie Félicie DEROUX, who was handed over to the executor of the criminal judgments, immediately had her head cut off.
Of what have we drawn up the present PV the days,
Legal proceedings documents, Procedure 14 of the year 1846.
Exhibit 1 : denunciation of the facts by the mayor PATERNOSTRE: letter to PR. By pointing out to him that it has come to our knowledge that a woman named DEROUX Euphrasie, a worker in our commune, would have caused the death of her natural child who died on the 1st of this month (February 1846), aged 2, from whom we have taken information near named Thérèse PICRIT, husband of Augustin MARY who it seems, has knowledge of the facts but we did not write PV to keep the thing secret.
Exhibit 2 : investigation carried out by the mayor Paternostre on 12.2.1846 following the request of the PR of 10.2.1846,
- testimony of witnesses: Thérèse PICRIT - Léopoldine MARY.
- deposition and confessions of DEROUX Euphrasia. Autopsy of the corpse.
- Indictment report and driving order made by the Gd of Lens.
- Hawthorn berries given by doctor PATERNOSTRE Michel, mayor assisted by Louis MASQUILLIER, municipal secretary.
- Hearing of the witness PICRIT Thérèse 52 years old, spinner.
The first this month, towards evening, the above-mentioned Euphrasie DEROUX came home from her sister's house that she had gone to see in Masnuy St Pierre from where she had brought back a packet of hawthorn berries that she fed her child on arrival. When the child had eaten the berry around 6 o'clock in the evening, I suspected that she could not have had supper with these pits, I told this child or rather I made him understand that I was going to give him a toast . Immediately, Euphrasie DEROUX asked my daughter Léopoldine MARY to give her some bread which she would cut off a piece of, which having done, she gave the crumb to her child who had difficulty swallowing it from dint of she gave him abundantly.
The child made efforts to vomit. She punched him several times in the face. I watched her as she was going to kill her. She told me that she was going to put him to bed, that she would give him the crusts of the slice of bread, that the next day we would find nothing of it. But instead of putting the said child to bed, she remained in the place, gave him, or rather heaped the crusts of the said slice of bread into his mouth, from which it resulted that the child died of asphyxiation, which seeing my daughter
Leopoldine pointed this out to me because my back was turned towards the child, I turned around immediately, I recognized that the said child no longer gave any sign of life. Her mother was busy throwing water in her face to bring her back to life but it was too late, he was dead, I reproached him for his way of doing things, I swore at him in threatening her, she begged me not to tell anyone, that she would give me a franc, I replied that I had nothing to do with her franc, that my conscience would reproach me for such villainy, which I I proved this by notifying the municipal authority.
Question : Are you not aware of any other circumstances in the way E. DEROUX treated his child?
Yes, about a month ago, said Ed's child had been sitting by the fire. His mother cleaned her then immediately began to beat her, taking him by the right arm, knocking her down several times, breaking her right arm above the elbow. I blamed her and told her to go find a surgeon, she didn't answer me. The next day, I realized that the aforementioned arm was swollen. I observed again that about 2 months ago, I saw the aforesaid ED, who was holding her child above the stove supposedly to heat it. I pointed this out to him because the child was crying. She replied that it was nothing, but I noticed that he had a roasted bottom. I reproached him again, she replied that he was dying, for if she had known that the one who had made her would not have given her money, it would not have happened to her. I even showed Mr. Henri VAN DE VELDE worker, residing in Lens and Charlotte DELABAYE wife of François MOTTE worker, said Montignies Lez Lens that said child had been burned.
Moreover, I declare that I have seen that sometimes the aforementioned gave her child Thérèse toast covered with black soap or other harmful materials"
Hearing of Léopoldine MARY, 12 years old, spinner, daughter of the previous
confirms the declarations of her mother and specifies that DEROUX had promised him 10 or 20 cents to say nothing.
Have Thérèse DEROUX exhumed by DEFONTAINE Pierre, physician and DEWATTINES Auguste, surgeon, domiciled in Lens and then at the autopsy. The circumstances of the death are indeed those recounted by the two witnesses. The doctors handed over a hawthorn berry which was seized and which was found in the victim's throat."
Arrest DEROUX Euphraise, 34, spinner living in Montignies Lez Lens First of all denies the facts.
Seeing that the said ED remained in complete denial of all the requests we made to him to know the manner of death of his child, we gave him knowledge of the depositions in his charge, made by the said PICRIT and MARY of the autopsy of the corpse of her child, of the statement of the doctor and surgeon, it made a great impression on her. After various new questions that we made to her and told her that we were going to put her in the presence of her child, she asked not to see him, she began by admitting that she made her child eat sandwiches of black soap, with oil funds, that she had tortured him, had broken his arm finally she ended up admitting that she was the author of the death of her child of whom she was tired, that
These confessions took place in the presence of François (illegible) alderman of the said MLL, of Henry DERMAIX, brigadier of Gd in Lens.
Exhibit 3 : order to make it available to PR Mons,
Exhibit 4 : Autopsy report dated 12.2.1846 at 3 p.m., 2 arms deformed by two fractures of the humerus, small abscess on the left side of the chest, bedsore wide J or 4 lines on the buttock, considerable portions of food at the entrance to the glottis, hence choking»
Document without number: March 31, 1846 response of Brigadier DERAMAIX of the Gd of Lens "To know why she had not given since" months slices of bread to eat to her child, soap and oil funds, she replied that it was with the intention of making her die, that she was tired of it, because his "work" (sic) was not "enough" for him to "provide" the necessities of life, and that finally, the one who had given her this child had "promised" her money and that he had never given her any and that for these reasons she had formed the plan to kill her. Here is Mr the PR a result of the exact truth and the own words of ED which as a father will never be erased from my memory ".
Piece 5 :
Exhibit without number: order from the mayor to the Gd to arrest ED located in Masnuy St Pierre, validated by the mayor of this commune.
Exhibit 6 : Report of the Gd relating the arrest of ED
Exhibit 7 : Order of conduct of the Gd of Lens of Euphrasie DEROUX before the PR (14.2.1846)
Exhibit 8 : Indictment of the instruction of the PR,
Exhibit 9 : interrogation at the Mons remand center on February 16, 1846 by the examining magistrate - confirms the statements,
says she is tired of her child, does not know why she did this,
It is true that I killed him but I didn't want to hurt him," says he doesn't know how to sign.
Exhibit 10 : warrant of deposit dated 13/2/1846.
: Summons to witnesses by bailiff on 16/2/1846 for 20/2 at the Palais de Justice in Mons.
- Henri VANLEVELDE, lime-burner.
- DELABAYE Charlotte, spinner, neighbors of PICRY T.
- PICRY Thérèse, housewife.
- MARY Léopoldine, spinner.
- PATEENOSTRE Nicolas, burgomaster.
- DERAMAIS Henri, Bd de Gd.
Exhibit 12 : 2/21/1846: hearing of witnesses, confirms statements.
DEROUX has another child aged 6 who stays with her sister in Masnuy St Pierre.
No mistreatment. Stayed 4 months at PICRY. PICRY notified the administration of the hospices, which did nothing.
Exhibit 13 : response from the mayor of MLL following a request from the JI to find out from Thérèse Bicry when the arm had been broken: approximately five weeks ago.
Exhibit 14 : Summons to witnesses by bailiffs on 4.3 for 5.3.1846: doctors who performed the autopsy.
Exhibit 15 : hearing of these two doctors on March 5, confirms their findings.
Exhibit 16 : March 5: re-hearing of ED by the JI
"Before living with PICRIT, stayed with Charles CARLIER at MLL as nanny, her child being entrusted to Joachim THON, On picking up her child, found that she was injured in her left arm. She was told that " it had come to him in a night of time".
Exhibit 17 : summons by bailiff on March 5 for March 9, 1846 of
Joachim Thon -Joachin MOULIN wife Julien LEROY)0 Lucie LEROY, known as Lucie GHISLAIN;
Exhibit 18 : hearing on March 7 1846.
Joachin MOULIN, 34 years old, wife of Julien LEROY, housewife, first cousin of ED
Entrusted him with the child for 15 months in 1845 - Had a lump on the right forearm following a tumor which did not know how to fix. Didn't have a broken arm.
Piece 19: March 12, 1846: indictment of the PR to the Council Chamber: body arrest order"
Exhibit 20 : referral from the Council Chamber to the PG in Brussels dated March 14 "Order of body arrest"
ED: 1m53 > black hair and eyebrows, gray eyes, fine nose, small mouth, round chin, round face»
Exhibit 21 : extract from the birth certificate of ED 11.2.181J
Exhibit 22 : extract from the death certificate from 2.2.1846 by Thérèse DEROUX.
Exhibit 23 : Condition of the exhibit: hawthorn berry.
Exhibit 27 : indictment of the PG of Brussels of 19.3.1846 for referral to the CA of Hainaut •
Exhibit 28: referral to the ÇA of Hainaut by the Chamber of Indictments of the Court of Appeal of Brussels"
Exhibit 29 : indictment of 30.3.
Heard by AUBERT JANSON. vice president of the Civil Court of Mons acting in place of Gustave BOSQUET president of the Court of Assizes, said to have piled bread in the mouth of his daughter but did not think of killing her.
Trial April 30, 1846:
drawing of lots for the jurors: 5 owners, 3 lawyers, 1 municipal councillor, two rentiers, a registrar of mortgages. Lawyer tries to put the matter of homicide recklessly. Appeal in cassation on 28.4.1846.
Execution on 22.6.1846