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THE French Ripper

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  • THE French Ripper

    More than one Frenchman was compared to Jack The Ripper...but in my view, Vacher would be the only one to rival JTR.

    He was prominent in the news and in this article, the observation is made that he focused on a certain type of victim. Whether or not that is true, the majority of his victims, male or female, were shepherds. There was an article which I placed on the boards yesterday or the day before which discussed a continental killer whose victims were all servant girls.

    He also was competent enough to hold the rank of NCO in the French military...which may not be saying much, but in any event he did display a degree of competency in that profession.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer
    January 1, 1899

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  • #2
    Thanks for posting the article, How. I haven't seen it before.

    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    He also was competent enough to hold the rank of NCO in the French military...which may not be saying much, but in any event he did display a degree of competency in that profession.
    There is a question about this. One of Vacher's superiors would testify that his fellow soldiers were terrified of him. Vacher would sleepwalk, kept a weapon under his pillow, and had violent outbursts. By promoting him, they were passing the problem on to someone else.

    He was discharged from the military after an attempted murder-suicide. Both ended in failure. Vacher fell in love with Louise Berrand who did not share his affections. When she spurned his advances, he fired three shots at her, only causing superficial wounds. He then turned the gun on himself. The bullet lodged in his brain but did not kill him. It did leave Vacher with a permanently bloodshot eye and half his face paralyzed; a twisted lip made his appearance repellent, matching his personality. He now looked like a monster.

    He spent time in two asylums and was released as cured on April 1, 1894. A cruel April Fools' joke. His first acknowledged murder would happen less than seven weeks later. His three year spree ended in eleven confirmed murders.

    Emile Forquet, Juge d'instruction (examining magistrate) was instrumental in the capture and prosecution of Joseph Vacher. Vacher would admit to eleven murders, but no more. Forquet had a large dossier of unsolved assaults, thefts, and murders; some he thought committed by Vacher.

    When Vacher was apprehended, after attacking a women who was out with her family, his description was duly sent out. Forquet wanted to make sure it was the man all of France was hunting. He requested a photograph. Vacher was photographed, with a struggle, and the picture was sent to Forquet. Another early example of the importance of photography in police work.


    I have a copy of an x-ray of the bullet in Joseph Vacher's head. It was taken to confirm his failed suicide attempt. Unfortunately, it doesn't scan well. So I will attach a military photograph of Joseph Vacher instead.

    Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      Dear Robert:

      Thanks very much for the additional details regarding Vacher's sordid story. We see that so often in crime history....the "system" releases a man as cured, only to find out he commits a murder weeks or even days later.

      Nice photograph.
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      • #4
        There was a 1976 French movie based on the case entitled Le juge et l'assassin (The Judge and the Assassin).


        • #5
          Why is it that Ripperologists named Stan ( Russo is another one with an astounding knowledge of films ) know where all the goodies are ?
          Thanks for that SD.
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