Martin Dumollard

Martin Dumollard

A carte-de-visite portrait of the French serial killer Martin Dumollard (1810-1862), who was guillotined on 8 March 1862 for his part in various crimes of violence, robbery and murder between 1855 and 1861.

Posing as a master in search of a new maid, Dumollard would approach young girls in Lyon with offers of work in an agreeable house in the rural village of Côtière de l’Ain. During the journey there, undertaken on foot, he would attack and rob his victims, some of whom he also raped and murdered. The authorities uncovered evidence of twelve attacks, including three murders and one attempted murder, but there may well have been other crimes that never came to light. A search of Dumollard’s home found some 1250 items of women clothing.

His wife Marie-Anne Martinet, who had been systematically selling the girls’ personal belongings, was tried as his accomplice and sentenced to twenty years penal labour. She died in prison in 1875.

Numerous French and British newspapers reported his trial and execution in detail, though not without some exaggeration. ‘All the Paris journals have sent special reporters to the assizes at Bourg (Ain), where a trial is going on for a series of murders of a most extraordinary character. A man named Dumollard – an ugly villain with a scar and a tumour in the upper lip – has been in the habit for some years of murdering and robbing servant girls, whom he lured into lonely places under the pretext of conducting them to good situations. Fifteen cases either of murder or attempted murder are made out against him, and it is suspected that he must have been guilty of many more. His house was found crammed with clothing stolen from his victims. His wife, who picked out the marks of the linen brought home to her, is indicted as his accomplice. It was from her information that the police found out the spots in the woods and fields where Dumollard had buried the women he had assassinated. Most extraordinary scenes took place while the crowds of people from Lyons watched the Judge of Instruction and the Procureur Imperial as they went to seek for the dead bodies and dig them up’ (London Daily News,, 3 February 1862).

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 127352
© Paul Frecker 2024