Serial killer Helene Jegado was born in 1803 in Plouhinec, Morbihan, Brittany and died on February 26, 1852, by execution in Rennes, Brittany. She was a French domestic servant that is suspected of murdering about 36 people in an 18 year period with arsenic. It is suggested that had a murder spree from 1833 to 1841, stopped for about ten years and committed her final killing spree in 1851. She was charged with three murders, three attempted murders, and eleven robbery/thefts.
Helene was born on a small farm, and her mother died when Helene was seven years old. Helene had to work with two of her aunts at the rectory of Bubry as servants because her aunts were servants. She went with one of her aunt to Seglien town after seventeen years and became a cook. She was accused of adding hemp to the soup.
Priest Fr. Francois Le Drogo in Guern Village hired Helene in 1833. The priest and six people from the house mysteriously died from June 28 to October 3 including the pastor parents and her (Helene) sister, Anne Jegado who was visiting. Helene was not a suspect because she acted as though she was grieving and did so convincingly.
The seven people"s death may was diagnosed as natural causes because it was after the cholera epidemic of 1832.
Helene went to replace her sister in Bubry leading to three additional people, including her other aunt dying within three months. Helene took care of everyone when they became ill and was by their bedside. She then made her way to Locmine. Helene stayed/boarded with Marie-Jeanne Leboucher who was a needleworker. Marie-Jeanne and her daughter died not too long after Helene began living with them and Marie-Jeanne"s son became ill but he survived, and that may be due to him not taking medicine from Helene.
Helene started to live with Lorey who was a widow and Helene prepared soup for Lorey resulting in Lorey"s death. Madame Toussaint hired Helene in May 1835 leading to four additional deaths. A convent in Auray hired Helene as a servant in the late part of 1835, but she was fired after there were many vandalism and sacrilege upon her arrival at the convent. Helene went on to work in several places for short periods of time including Auray, Pontivy, Lorient, and Port-Louis.
Helene has killed seventeen people from 1833 to 1835. Most of Helene"s victims died from symptoms of arsenic, but she was never caught with arsenic. She murdered Marie Breger at the Chateau de Soye in May 1841. Several of Helene"s employees reported of her stealing from them, but there was no death reported from late 1841 to 1849. Helene moved to Rennes in 1849.
It is believed that Helene killed all those people and committed the crimes she did because she had psychological issues that may have occurred after her mother died.
Helene had started that killing people gave her a sense of power and she enjoyed it.
Helene Jegado began to work in 1850 for Theophile Bidard who was a law professor at the University of Rennes. Helene took care of one of Theophile"s servant, Rose Tessier who became sick but Rose died in Helene"s care. Another maid, Rosalie Sarrazin became ill in 1851 and died. Two doctors tried to save Rosalie but failed. The doctors convinced Rosalie family members to perform an autopsy because Rosalie"s symptoms were too similar to Theophile Tessier"s symptoms.
Helene Jegado claims her innocence before anyone asked her anything which made everyone suspicious of her, resulting in her arrest on July 1, 1851.
She was linked to 23 suspected deaths by arsenic/poisoning from 1833 to 1841. The deaths were not investigated because they passed the ten-year limit for prosecution and there was no evidence that she committed the murders.
Helene Jegado"s was convicted of 11 thefts, three murders, and three attempted murders during her trial on December 6, 1851, because French laws need permissible evidence and there is a statute of limitations.
Marie Breger case was dropped because officials did not want to upset the parents by exhuming the body for examination.
Helene Jegado"s was muttering in court during her trial and then instantly shouting loudly and exhibiting occasional violent outbursts against those who accuse her. She claims that she does not know what arsenic is but her victims has a massive amount of arsenic. Helene"s defense lawyer, Magloire Dorange asked for Helene to be spared from the death penalty because she needed more time to repent and she was dying from cancer anyway.
Helene Jegado was sentenced to death by guillotine. She was executed on February 26, 1852, on the Champ-de-Mars in Rennes as a large crowd looks.