Our 8th Murderess, Gesche Gottfried

Gesche (also known as Gessina) Gottfried was a German serial poisoner who murdered at least 15 people in Bremen and Hanover between the years of 1813 and 1827. Her poison of choice was a mixture of arsenic and fat (called 'mouse butter' as it was usually used to kill mice) and her victims were mainly her relatives and friends.

In 1813, she killed her first victim, her husband Johann Miltenberg. It had became clear that he was frittering away his inheritance, which was their only means of support. Once widowed, she set her sights on Michael Christoph Gottfried and, during the course of a few months in 1815, she poisoned everyone who posed any threat to her possible marriage to him. This included both of her parents and all three of her children from her first marriage.

Her twin brother, Johann returned home in 1816 following a stint in the army and demanded his rightful share of the inheritance that Gesche had received from their parents. She served him a dish of shellfish flavored with arsenic in response. Shortly after she married Gottfried, he joined the list of the lost and she immediately inherited all of his property.

Another seven people, almost all of them close friends or relatives were added to her fatal list before she was apprehended after Gesche grew careless. She prepared a meal for friends, who noticed a strange white substance on the food. It was identified as arsenic by a local doctor and, on March 6th 1828, Gescha was arrested on suspicion of murder.

She remained incarcerated for the next three years but was finally sentenced to death for her crimes and was beheaded on April 21st 1831. Due to her tireless care of her victims on their deathbeds, she was called the Angel of Bremen. She was the last person to be publicly executed there. Geshe was a woman of overriding ambition, and, once she had identified what it was that she wanted she would not let anything - including parents, husbands and children - stand in her way.

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