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Louisa Masset  



Louisa Masset




Kill Total: 1

Kill date:

27th October 1899

Kill Place:

London ?




Piano Teacher


Son - Manfred


















Louisa Masset, who was half-French and half-English, lived at 29, Bethune Road, Stoke Newington, London, with her married sister, Leonie Cadisch and Leonie's husband, Richard.

Employed as a day-governess and piano teacher, Louisa had left her child, Manfred, with a foster-mother, Miss Helen Gentle, at 210 Clyde Road, Tottenham, for a fee of thirty seven shillings per month, visiting him every Wednesday and taking him for trips to the park. This state of affairs had existed since the child was a small baby.

Next door to Louisa lived 19 year old Eudor Lucas, a Frenchman, soon he and Louisa had become close friends. The relationship developed and before long, a weekend away in Brighton was suggested, by Louisa.

There had never been any suggestion, from either party, that the liaison would develop beyond the casual and it seemed that Louisa was simply well ahead of her time in that she saw nothing wrong in seeing Eudor without committing herself to marriage. It was an attitude she would live to regret, once it had become public.


13th October 1899, Louisa wrote to Miss Gentle and informed her that Manfred's father wanted the child returned to him. She had agreed to this request and therefore wanted Manfred delivered to her so that she could take him on the ferry across to France. Arrangements were made and two weeks later,


Friday, 27th October , Louisa met Helen outside the Birdcage, a pub on Stamford Hill, and took possession of her son.

At 1:45pm that afternoon, mother and child were seen together at London Bridge railway station. The boy appeared to be distressed and Louisa was seen to take him into the buffet in order to buy him a cake. They remained there until about three o'clock when they were seen to leave together. A witness, Ellen Rees, would later say that Louisa was seen again at about six, back at London Bridge, and that then she was alone.

At about the same time that Louisa was supposedly returning to London Bridge, Mary Teahan and her friend, Margaret Biggs, entered the ladies waiting room on platform three of Dalston Junction station. There she discovered the body of Manfred Masset, naked except for a black shawl. It appeared that he had been battered with a brick, which still lay near the body, and then suffocated. Louisa meanwhile had caught the train to Brighton where she enjoyed a weekend of love with Eudor.


Monday 30th October, Helen Gentle received a letter from Louisa saying that Manfred had missed her terribly but was now in France and sent her his love. The newspapers though had been full of the discovery of the dead child and feeling that the description matched that of Manfred, Helen Gentle had already been to the mortuary and formally identified the body.

At about the same time that Helen was making that identification, a bundle of child's clothes had been found in a waiting room at Brighton station, and Miss Gentle later identified these as belonging to Manfred. Further, the parcel was wrapped in a piece of paper which had been torn from a larger piece found at Helen Gentle's house. The tears on both pieces were shown to match exactly. Finally, as if all this were not enough, the shawl used to wrap the poor child's body was identified by a draper as similar to one he had sold to Louisa Masset on 24th October , and the brick found near the body could have come from a rockery in the garden of 29, Bethune Road.

On her return to London, on the Monday, Louisa went about her normal routine, even attending one of her pupils that evening. On her journey home, after the lesson was over, she saw newspaper headlines referring to the murder of her son and would claim that this was the first she knew of the matter. She went immediately to Streatham Road, Croydon and the house of George Richard Symes, her brother-in-law. She told him what had happened and then waited there for the police to arrive.
At her trial, Louisa's defence was that she had decided to place her son in the care of a Mrs Browning, who had just started up a children's home. Apparently Louisa had first encountered Mrs Browning and her assistant on one of her Wednesday trips to the park. Having met up a few times, Mrs Browning had told her of the new school and offered to take Manfred as a pupil. Louisa, concerned about Manfred's education, had finally agreed.


On Friday October 27th, Louisa had met these two ladies at London Bridge station where she had handed over Manfred, a parcel of clothes given to her by Helen Gentle, and the sum of two pounds which was to cover the boy's education for one year. If Manfred had been murdered then it must have been these two ladies who did it. Louisa however had no receipt for the money and the address of the children's home, in Chelsea, was of course fictitious.

Louisa claimed that she was already in Brighton when she was supposedly seen again at London Bridge station. This witness must simply have been mistaken. Louisa said she had arrived in Brighton, enjoyed a meal at Mutton's restaurant on the sea-front and then gone on to her hotel. The evidence though was too telling and Louisa Masset was adjudged to be guilty and sentenced to death.

There was to be no reprieve, even when the manager of Mutton's, and one of his waiters came forward and said that they believed they could positively identify Louisa as a woman who did indeed have a meal in the establishment at the time in question.


9th January 1900, Louisa was Hanged at Newgate.




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