VERSAILLES -- "Bluebeard" Henry Landru, the most remarkable criminal of modern times, was executed on the guillotine here early this morning, for the murder of ten women and one boy.
A large crowd, which was kept in check by 400 cavalrymen, turned out before daylight to witness the execution which took place in the street in the center of the city.
Landru, who up to the last day had expected a reprieve, met death stoically. He refused any religious consolation.
Just before he was summoned to take his place on the guillotine, he said "I am innocent. I have nothing to add."
Henri Desire Landru, "The Bluebeard of Gambals," was arrested on April 4, 1919, charged with the murder of 11 women, some of them wealthy and foolish widows, and all possessing property, whom he lured to his villa on the outskirts of Paris with promises of marriage, only to kill them to secure their savings.
From the time of his arrest up until his trial, which began November 7, 1921, before the Versailles assizes, and ended November 30, "Bluebeard" was engaged in answering or evading questions of the police, the investigating magistrate, and other court officials as to the fate of his prisoner. He proved a most stubborn prisoner, and preserved an astonishing nonchalance almost up to the moment of his conviction.
Born in Paris in 1869, and well educated, Landru had previously engaged the attention of the police through his swindling operations. He was married and had two children. A dark visaged man, with shining bald head and long black whiskers, he participated dramatically in his own defense in the trial before the assizes.
An absolute lack of proof that the "missing" women were dead constituted the backbone of his defense. After his arrest the house he rented at Gambals was ransacked and almost destroyed in a search for the remains of the missing women. A few bones were found, and some hair, but not enough to furnish a "corpus delicti."