In 1831 the Owners and an Employee were arrested
For the murder of Jean-Antoine Enjolras. Found by the river with his skull smashed in, Enjolras was a customer at The Red Inn. And as it turned out, not the only one to have met a grizzly end. Some even suggested that the remains of previous guests were fed to other guests during meals. And as witnesses started coming forward a long list of other crimes came to light. Pierre, his nephew, and the Martin’s employee, Rochette, were arrested on November 1st. But, as it was not believed women could commit such crimes, Marie was not arrested until later.
The Martin’s and the Red Inn
For 23 years they ran the Red Inn. But before they were inn keepers they were farmers. You’d think this would give them sympathy for others trying to make a living off the land, but it didn’t. Pierre was a henchman for local nobility, helping restore land to them after they returned from exile. Not bothered in the slightest by the families he put out along the way. His neighbours loathed him. But as politics changed they became unnecessary and the pair had to find another way of accumulating wealth.
The Body: Jean-Antoine Enjolras
A local horse dealer, in search of a lost heifer, never returned. When the authorities came to investigate, he was found on the banks of the river near the Red Inn. His skull caved in and one knee smashed. Through the trial it emerged that Enjolras had been drinking at the Inn. And that Marie had made him a cup of tea before he left.
What better way to get rid of a body than to feed the meat to your paying guests. After all Sweeny Todd did it. But was there any proof? Some witnesses claimed to have seen severed hands simmering in the soup. Others that Marie used parts of previous victims to make pate and stew to serve to guests. And that a sickening smoke came from the chimneys, presumably from the bodies said to be burnt in the ovens. With accusations of cannibalism, over 50 accusations of murder, and rape, it’s a wonder they were only tried for the one death. And many believe they weren’t even responsible for that one.
More than 100 witnesses testified to events at the Red Inn. Claude Pages testified that he had seen the Rochette the employee, Mr. Martin, and a stranger use a cart to move a body to the river. Another witness, Laurent Chaz, who had been hiding in a shed witnessed the murder itself. The other witnesses were responsible for a wide variety of claims, many of which were inadmissible.
The most damnable evidence came from Rochette’s lawyer who said his client was a murderer but that it wasn’t his fault. He was in the employee of the Martin’s and they had influenced his actions.
In France during the 19th Century the Guillotine was routinely used to carry out death sentences. The nephew was acquitted after a seven day trial. The Martin’s and their employee, Rochette, were executed outside the Red Inn by Guillotine for the murder of Jean-Antoine Enjolras. And only that murder.
With a crowd of nearly 30,000 people in attendance Rochette’s final words were remembered, and implied the true nature of the Martin’s. It is said a ball followed the execution.
Cursed Masters, what have you not made me do!
Located in Southern France it is still possible to visit the Red Inn today, although there have been improvements. And it’s under new management. But some of the Inn’s previous furniture has been preserved and is on display in their museum.
Want more gruesome crimes? Check out the 700 year old Vampire