March 17, 1951
Pauline Dubuisson (24) kills her former lover Félix Bailey (27) and attempts to kill herself
Dubuisson and Bailey met at the University of Lille’s Faculty of Medicine and began a relationship soon after. They held a reportedly unstable relationship for three years until Bailey asked Dubuisson to marry him. She refused.
After his rejection, Bailey moved to Paris where he met a woman named Monique. The pair fell in love and were soon engaged. “It was then that I realized that I loved him,” Dubuisson recounted at her trial. About a year and a half later on March 6, 1951, Dubuisson visited Paris in hopes of reconciling with Bailey. He refused to leave his fiancé for Dubuisson, and she visited his apartment two weeks later on March 17 while armed with a gun.
“I meant to kill myself before him if he continued to refuse to discard Monique,” Dubuisson testified. The prosecution, however, doubted this claim and declared Dubuisson had murdered Bailey “without passion, in cold blood, out of a woman’s spite for a man who refused her because he loved another.”
Dubuisson shot Bailey three times, with one bullet piercing his temple. She then went into Bailey’s kitchen, placed her head in the oven, and turned on the gas. Neighbors alerted by the sound of gunshots notified authorities who were able to save Dubuisson’s life. She awoke in the hospital to news of her father’s suicide which had been in response to Bailey’s murder.
Dubuisson’s 1953 trial was sensationalized, with crowds in the thousands drawn in by the story of a woman who killed a man out of jealousy and the scandal of Dubuisson’s teenage years when she had been the mistress of a German doctor during World War II.
The jury deliberated for 45 minutes before returning a guilty verdict. The jurors decided against capital punishment and instead opted to give Dubuisson a life sentence of hard labor. She was released in 1960 and died of an intentional overdose of barbiturates on September 22, 1963, at the age of 36.
O’Brien, Stéphanie. “Pauline Dubuisson, le procès de la “mortelle séductrice” qui partagea la France.” Madame Figaro. February 1, 2021. Accessed: March 27, 2021. https://madame.lefigaro.fr/societe/video-documentaire-pauline-dubuisson-proces-meurtriere-annees-1950-010221-194808 (French)
“Cinéma : Pauline Dubuisson, la tueuse qui a scandalisé la France.” Vanity Fair. February 1, 2021. Accessed: March 17, 2021. https://www.vanityfair.fr/culture/ecrans/story/la-verite-clouzot-la-veritable-histoire-de-pauline-dubuisson-incarnee-par-brigitte-bardot/12749 (French)
“Crowds See Woman Condemned.” Arizona Daily Star [Tucson, Arizona]. December 4, 1953
“Mink-Clad Matrons Mob Paris Courtroom.” Waterloo Sunday Courier. November 29, 1953
“Girl in Paris Called ‘Demon’.” Fort Myers News-Press. November 20, 1953