“I can supply you with a powder that will leave no trace”
Marie Alexandrine Becker was born in 1877 and lived in Liege, Belgium. She married and fell into the stereotypical life of a bored, middle-aged woman in the town. Then one day in 1932, while she was visiting the local market, Lambert Beyer, the local Lothario, chatted her up as she bought vegetables.
She was flattered by the attentions of the younger man and they began a passionate affair. Becker decided that, in order to be able to fulfil her dreams and desires, she would need to kill her husband. She made sure that the life insurance was up to date and then gave him a fatal dose of digitalis. Becker spent the insurance money on opening a smart dress shop. She spent all her spare time with her lover until he bored her and in November 1934 she poisoned Beyer with the same drug. He had left Becker money in his will and she had an income from the dress shop but it was not enough to finance her new life of nightclubs gigolos.
At the start of July 1935 Marie Castadot, an elderly friend, fell ill and Becker offered to nurse her. On 23 July Castadot died. Realizing that it was relatively easy to poison, Becker began killing friends and customers — all of whom left Becker a little something in their wills. It is thought that she killed 11 people before a friend mentioned that she was being annoyed by her husband and wanted him to go away or die.
Becker said, “If you really mean that, I can supply you with a powder that will leave no trace.” On 2 October 1936 the police received an anonymous letter telling them that they should take a look at the widow Becker. She was arrested soon after, her house searched and the bodies of her husband, lover and some of her friends and customers were exhumed.
When digitalis was found in all the bodies, Becker was arrested and charged with murder. Found guilty, she was jailed for life.