The maid murders

The Papin sisters

The Papin sisters

Christine Papin was born on March 8, 1905 in Le Mans, France to Clemence Derre (mother) and Gustave Papin (father). After Christine, another baby was born. Her name was Lea Papin, born September 15, 1911. Shortly after Christine’s birth, they sent her to live with her aunt which she later relocated to a Catholic orphanage at the age of seven. Same for Lea, she was also sent to live with her uncle.  

The time that they did spend living with their parents wasn’t exactly the best since they were surrounded by a lot of chaotic arguments, attempted molestation, rape, and other forms of physical and verbal abuse. 

Their parents were in conflict long before their births. Clemence’s first birth of her first daughter brought no celebration. When Christine came into their lives, her mother was severely depressed and her father was deep into alcoholism, meaning they really didn’t give the required attention to her. Later the parents filed for a divorce.  (

In the year of 1926, after the sisters reunited, they both scored a dream position; which was a live-in maid service in the city of Le Mans, France for the Lancelins family: Rene (father/husband) and Leonie Lancelin (mother/wife) along with their daughter, Genevieve Lancelin. Rene was a retired lawyer who had bought a two-story townhouse while on a search for live-in maids, who then found the Papin sisters and employed them. 

Life in the Lancelins’ house was a wish come true. The Papin sisters were guaranteed a stable household without the threat of being sent to an orphanage or a random relative. The Papin sisters were well-fed, housed, paid and clothed.  Although they all ate the same food, lived in a heated room, and they were paid minimum wages (

 Well, even though the Lancelin’s provided them physically, they were treated the same way, with the same lack of attention, as they were by their parents. As a matter of fact, after being employed by the Lancelins for seven years, Rene never spoke a word with the sisters. To make matters worse, Leonie was cold and withdrawn. 

As tension rose between the sisters and the family, a paranoid 27-year-old Christine and an introverted 21-year-old Lea, along with the Lancelin women, it seems as if it would only be a matter of time before the sisters either got fired or would take out their anger on their employers. 

On the evening of February 2, 1933, the Lancelin family were not supposed to be home. Rene was out spending the day with a friend, while Leonie and Genevieve had set out a plan to go evening shopping, then staying at Leonie’s brother’s home. On the other hand, the sisters were still busy doing they’re same routine. One errand which was to retrieve the family’s broken iron from a local repair shop.  After picking it up the sisters decided to plug it in, causing it to have an electric blowout. The sisters didn’t give much thought into cleaning it up that day, so left it for the next day.  

But, the family had swung by their house before going to Leonie’s brother’s house. Once they arrived, they found it strange that the light was out in their home, so Leonie went to look for the sisters.  As she found them, instead of being understanding about the situation, Leonie went on a full rage-anger attack on the sisters. As it began, it appeared that Christine had more anger up to her pinky than Leonie did on her full body, which caused Christine to smash a hard jug over her head.  A few seconds later, Genevieve came to check on her mother, and saw her being attacked so she struck back for her mother but unfortunately, Christine turned to Genevieve and gouged out her eyes. A misguided Lea entered the scenario as well, looking at Christine for instructions, where she then got told to gouge out the eyes of Leonie.  

After a while, the sisters took turns beating the Lancelin women with hammers, knives and other kitchenware items until they were dead. The sisters cut up their faces to the point where they became unrecognizable. They also cut their chest, thighs, butts and genitals. After a good two hours of overkill, the sisters went to bed, stripped naked together as if nothing had happened. While for Rene, after hanging out with a friend, he was waiting for Leonie and Genevieve to meet up with him, he found it quite strange that they weren’t arriving so he went back to their home to find the house pitch black, locked and silent. He found it strange, so with the help of police, they broke in and found his wife and child dead, but to their surprise, the Papin sisters were both in bed together, in good health, but covered with blood of their victims. In a quick glimpse, they attributed the murder of Leonie and Genevieve to the Papin sisters. 

As Christine was seen the leader for the murder, she was sentenced to death by guillotine in the Le Mans public square near the end of 1933. But, after a self-harming meltdown in her prison cell, they instead sentenced her to life in prison, which she later died from succumbing to starvation in the year of 1937. As for Lea, she was only viewed as an accomplice to the murder for which they just gave her ten years in prison. After she was freed after eight years due to good behavior, she went to live back with her mother till her passing.