A SERIES OF ATROCIOUS CRIMES.
London, January 30.
The trial of Franz and Rosalie Schneider, for the series of abominable crimes which sickened all Europe when they were discovered last summer, is taking place at Vienna this week, and overshadows in the public interest all other topics. Even here, in London, the case attracts a good deal of attention, though of the guilt of the accused there can be (unfortunately) no doubt, The details are briefly as follows : —
In July, 1891, a charwoman who was passing through the woods of Neulengbach, near Vienna, found a female corpse in an advanced state of decomposition. The only means of identification were the underlinen and the hat, the outer clothing being missing. The discovery was duly advertised in the papers, and a jeweller's assistant identified the remaining clothes as belonging to his sweetheart. He stated that this girl bad, soms three weeks earlier accepted a situation in the neighborhood of NeuleDgbach, and had since entirely disappeared. In addition, he gave an accurate description of the man and woman who had accompanied the unfortunate girl to her destination. About the same time another servant girl gave notice to the police that a man, whose description exactly corresponded with the above-mentioned, had engaged her as maid to a supposed baroness in Neulengbach. Upon the way he attempted to entice her into a wood, but failing, took her to an inn, where, after cruelly outraging her, he departed. This account was corroborated by a frequenter of the inn, who remembered having noticed that the girl's companion bore a striking resemblance to the servant of a farmer in the neighborhood. It was then discovered that this servant had a brother very like him, and of very bad repute. The brother was accordingly sought for, and eventually he and his wife were traced to Vienna, where they were residing under a false name. Their boxes were searched, and found to contain several articles belonging £o the murdered girl. Further inquiries proved that Franz Schneider had been a thief from youth upwards, and had gradually sunk deeper and deeper into evil ways, until finally he had made a systematic business of murder for the sake of booty. Several attempts at robbery and violence, all more or less successful, were proved against him, and the details showed clearly that he had for several years meditated the plan of systematically enticing servant girls to lonely places for the purpose of robbing them. In his earlier attempts he was incautious enough to raise the suspicions of his victims, so he contented himself with brutally ill-treating them. Later on, however, he became more expert and successful in his horrible trade. During his frequent periods of imprisonment his wife was in the habit of entering domestic service, and when he was free the pair lived upon Rosalie Schneider's savings, which were not always honorably come by. In May, 1891, all their money being spent, Frau Schneider engaged herself as cook to Baroness Falke, while her husband resumed his career of robbery by violence. His first victim was a servant girl of the name of Stoiber, whom he met in the street and induced to follow him to a supposed excellent situation in Purkersdorf, near Vienna. Instead of taking her to Purkersdorf, he led her to Neulengbach, left her box at an inn, and enticed her into a lonely wood. During their wanderings they come to a little chapel, where he directed the unfortunate girl to pray. Suddenly he seized hold of her by the throat and demanded money. The poor girl, frightened almost to death, asserted that she had none, and implored the wretch to take her out of the wood. It was not, however, until four o'clock in the morning that she succeeded in persuading the villain to set her at i liberty, when he left her and disappeared. A second similar attempt was made on another servant girl, but on this occasion also no murder was committed. During this time Franz Schneider lived principally with his wife, who hid him in her room during the day and at night washed and mended his clothes, At length he succeeded in finding a third victim, enticed her to Neulengbach exactly as he had the others, but this time he strangled the unhappy girl, stripped her body, and hid it under a heap of branches, where it was afterwards found. The possessions of the victims were in every
case divided with his wife, and generally sold. In June the woman left her situation, and from that time was the accomplice and assistant in all her husband's crimes. She now undertook the task of persuading servants to accept her husband's situations, for in many cases the girls showed themselves unwilling to follow a Btrange man into lonely^ woods, one of their own sex naturally seeming to them more trustworthy. Directly after leaving the Baroness Falke, Rosalie Schneider set to work to find new victims. She went to a registry office in Vienna, engaged a servant for the " Baroness," and directed her to pack her things and accompany her and her husband to the place. They went to Neulengbach, and as usual entered the fatal wood. Frau Schneider confessed at her examination that her husband went on in front with the girl, and after a time returned alone, saying he had strangled her, undressed the body, and bidden ifc. The pair then returned to Vienna and commenced the next day to sell the clothes of the murdered girl. Some few hours later Schneider appeared at the lodging of his victim and fetched away all her possessions, Baying she required them. All who know the two prisoners swear to their identity, and declare that they were very lively. The third murder was planned and executed in an exactly similar manner, and this time the plunder was greater. After everything had been disposed of the murderers took a room, bought furniture, and established themselves comfortably. There can be no doubt that the series would have been continued but for the discovery of the second Victim's body, and the consequent arreßt of the Schneiders. In every case death was the result of strangulation. The most horrible part of the affair is that both man and wife Bhowed a perfect oallousness to the sufferings of their victims. After a murder they always appeared in high spirits, and only seemed affected by the smallness of the booty, which was anything but in proportion to the greatness of their orimes. Rosalie Schneider after her arrest in July last year attempted suicide by throwing herself from a cloßet window of the third floor of the prison. She sustained serious injuries, but recovered, and afterwards made what was supposed to be a full confession before the investigating judge. In that confession she said that it was her husband who committed the murders, and that, although she knew of them, she was not actively instrumental in the crime. On being confronted with his wife before the investigating judge, Franz Schneider, who was infuriated at the deposition of his wife, declared that Rosalie Schneider had planned all the murders, and that his part was only to kill the victims. Under croBS - examination both prisoners adhered to these statements, Franz Schneider admitting that, although he strangled the victims, his wife assisted him by administering a narcotic while he held their arms, which the female prisoner, who did not appear to be at all affected by the serious nature of her position, denied.
Both prisoners were sentenced to death, but the sentence of the woman has been commuted to life imprisonment. The male prisoner was executed last Wednesday.
Permanent link to this item
Tuapeka Times, Tuapeka Times, Volume XXIV, Issue 1883, 30 March 1892
A SERIES OF ATROCIOUS CRIMES. Tuapeka Times, Volume XXIV, Issue 1883, 30 March 1892
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.