A DIABOLICAL POLICEMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH
The trial of the policeman Prevost, who murdered and mutilated a jeweller named Lenoble, took place on Monday. As it is some time since the crime was committed, it may be of interest to give a summary of its horrible details. In the evening of Sept. 10, between eight and nine o'clock, two women, named Thiry and Calmel, were struck by the strange appearance of an individual who was passing along the Rue La Chapelle. Clad in a long blue blouse, with a silk cap on his head, this man, of singularly tall stature, carried a black basket on his arm, and as he came up to the openings of the sewer he took a parcel out of his basket and threw it down the sewer, giving it a push with his foot. The two women followed up the man until he disappeared in a side street. They picked up a bone to which some flesh still adhered, and took it into a chemist's shop, where they were told it was the bone of a human arm. The Commissaire of police being informed of the fact, caused searches to be made in the sewers of the quarter, and eighty fragments were found, which, when put together, formed the body of a man. The head alone was missing. The women thought that the man in a blouse resembled Prevost, the policeman, who, it was found, had on that evening exchanged duty with another, on the pretext that he was helping a friend to move. Prevost was sent for and questioned on the way he had employed his time; his answers were confused. The Commissaire of Police then brusquely confronted him with the remains, and asked him where the head was. Prevost lost countenance, and confessed that the head was in his rooms. The police made an examination of the rooms, and discovered not only the head of the victim, but also a quantity of jewellery and the instruments that had been used for cutting up the body. Light was soon thrown upon this lugubrious history. The victim was a commission agent in jewellery. He had had relations with Prevost, who wanted to buy a gold chain. While Lenoble was showing his wares, Prevost struck him on the head with a heavy iron ball that is used for screwing up the connecting links between railway carriages. Before being a policeman; Prevost had been a butcher, and remembering his old trade, he took a knife and a chopper and cut up the body of his victim. This operation took him nearly all day, and after throwing the pieces into the sewers he went at nine o'clock and supped at a wine shop. It was soon discovered that Prevost was not a novice in the art of spiriting away cumbersome corpses. In 1876, Adele Blondin, a woman of Belgian origin, had mysteriously disappeared; this woman, who had been in service 15 years, had had a little income of £60 a year left her by her former master. She became the mistress of Prevost, but did not live with him. She went to see Prevost, and never returned, and has never been seen since. Prevost was not suspected at the time, but after the assassination of Lenoble an inquiry was opened; traces of blood were discovered on the floor of the lodging that he had occupied in 1876, and on being taken to the spot he confessed that he had strangled Adele Blondin in order to get possession of her money, and that he had cut up her body, thrown the pieces into the sewers, and buried the head outside the fortifications. The court on Monday was crowded in spite of the weather. The cold brutality of the crime has caused intense interest to be taken in the author of it. The examination of the accused tended to show the premeditation of the crime; he admitted all the facts as regards the murder of Lenoble, as above related. The first witness called was the Commissaire of Police, who gave Prevost a good character, and said that he was liked by his comrades. Other witnesses gave testimony to show that Prevost had had in his possession the property of Adele Blondin. The examination of the witness having been concluded, the Public Prosecutor demanded a pitiless sentence. The counsel for the accused made a warm appeal to the mercy of the jury, who, after a deliberation of twenty minutes, brought in an affirmative verdict on all the points, without extenuating circumstances. Prevost was, consequently, condemned to death.
Source: The Monmouthshire Merlin and South Wales Advertiser - 12th December 1879
EXECUTION OF A MURDERER
Prevost, the policeman and old Cent Garde of Napoleon III., was executed in Paris at seven on Monday morning for the double murder of Adele Blondin and Lenoble, both of whose bodies he cut up. The attendance of the public, misled by statements that the execution would only come off on Tuesday or Wednesday, was small, and the large body of troops and police kept the few curious who had stood for hours in a bitter frosty night from seeing anything. This is the first execution that has taken place in Paris since the advent of President Grévy, who always struggles against the infliction of capital punishment; but the heinousness of Prevost's crimes was such that after long hesitation the President yielded to the representation of his Ministers that public opinion would be scandalised if the law did not take its course. After a momentary burial the body of the criminal was taken to the Medical School, where, in the presence of numerous members of the faculty, Professor Robin tried experiments upon it. The head was sewn on to the trunk, and electric batteries were then placed to the feet. The body did not move. They were then tried on the knees, and produced a slight trembling. Afterwards, on the batteries being placed on the stomach, the effect is described as surprising. The face contracted, the eyes assumed a life-like appearance, and there were various movements in the body like those of a man under violent emotion. Nevertheless, all the doctors agreed that death must have been instantaneous when the head was severed. After these experiments Professor Robin dissected the body.
Source: The Monmouthshire Merlin and South Wales Advertiser - 23rd January 1880