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Henri Desire Landru
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Murderer
    (April 12, 1869-February 25, 1922)
    Born in Paris, France
    Swindler and serial killer
    Swindled an estimated 300 people
    Killed 11 people: ten women and the teenage son of one of the women
    Tried, convicted and executed by guillotine
    Preserved head on display at the Museum of Death in Hollywood
    He fathered a daughter out of wedlock with his cousin.
    In his 30s and 40s, he was arrested five times for fraud and petty theft.
    He would advertise for widows in the 'lonely hearts' sections of Paris newspapers.
    He would then seduce the women and get them to hand over their money and valuables.
    Eventually, rather than running out on his scam victims, he resorted to killing them.
    He kept a ledger of his victims, the aliases he used with them, and the amount of money he got from them, which proved very useful to the prosecution after his arrest.
    The ledger also recorded several trips to his villa for which he bought a round-trip ticket for himself and a one-way ticket for his victim.
    When police sifted through the ashes of the stove at his villa, they found hundreds of bone fragments, several human teeth, and numerous hook-and-eye fasteners from clothes.
    The best defense his attorney could offer in court was to suggest that his client was a slave trader who had sold the missing women off to an overseas brothel.
    When the police were digging up his garden for evidence, his only concern was that they would damage his roses.
    He convinced the warders to not shave off his beard before his execution.
    He inspired the Charlie Chaplin film 'Monsieur Verdoux.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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