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Patricia CARTIER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Poisoner - Injected her five children with insuline
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 18, 2002
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1961
Victim profile: Her daughter Alicia, 11
Method of murder: Poisoning (insuline)
Location: Laversines, Oise, Picardy, France
Status: Sentenced to 10 years in prison on October 20, 2005. Released on October 27, 2008

Patricia and Emmanuel Cartier are a French husband and wife who in 2002 were convicted of deliberately injecting their five children with insulin, a crime which resulted in the death of one of their daughters.

In 2005, they were sentenced by a court in Beauvais to 10 and 15 years in prison, respectively. At the time of their trial Patricia, a carer for the elderly, was 44, while her husband, a machine operator, was 37.

Context of the crime

The Cartiers argued in court that they were driven to commit their crime out of desperation, caused by a €250 000 debt which they incurred on numerous credit cards and an assortment of consumer loans. They claimed that they had been caught up in a cycle of consumption, including on products for their children: each of the children had a television, two had personal computers, and three had hi-fis and games consoles. Emmanuel Cartier eventually spent entire nights juggling loans in a downward spiral of revolving credit.

The crime

The edifice finally collapsed. The family went out for a meal at a local restaurant, and on returning home the parents told their children they were giving them vaccinations for a holiday abroad. Patricia Cartier then gave the five children insulin injections, before giving herself the same injection. Emmanuel Cartier attempted to slash his wrists. The children had been dressed in new clothes bought with the last of their money. Patricia Cartier said in court that this was so that they would be "nicely dressed when they reached the other side."

The doses given were not fatal for four of the children or the mother, but 11 year-old Alicia later died from the injection in hospital. The four surviving children were initially cared for by their grandmother, but coincidentally she was killed in a road accident on the day Alicia died.

The Cartiers' lawyer said of the couple: "There are responsibilities, but it would be profoundly unjust if they were to bear them all."


The French philosopher Bernard Stiegler wrote about the Cartiers in Mécréance et Discrédit: Tome 2, Les sociétés incontrolables d'individus désaffectés (2006). An extract was published in English translation as The Disaffected Individual.


Couple deep in debt plotted to poison their five young children

By Colin Randallin -

October 19, 2005

A COUPLE who saw no escape from their growing debt mountain plotted to poison their five children then commit suicide in the hope that the family would be reunited "in a better world".

Patricia and Emmanuel Cartier were lured deeper into debt by easy credit and reckless spending, a court in Beauvais, north of Paris, heard yesterday.


By the time they had decided on murder and suicide, they had 17 credits cards - six of which had been cancelled by the issuers - and an assortment of loans, owing a total of more than ?234,000.

But only one of the children, 11-year-old Alicia, died. The doses of insulin administered to two brothers and two sisters in August 2002, and by their mother to herself, proved too weak to kill, while Alicia's father's attempts to slash his wrists left him with no more than scratches.

Patricia Cartier, a care worker, was in tears as she told the court that she injected insulin taken from the old people's home where she worked into each of the children. She had used the last of the family's money to buy new clothes so that the children would be "nicely dressed when they reached the other side".

Mrs Cartier (44), said that after cash dispensing machines began to retain their cards her husband had suggested that they should commit suicide. "But I said, 'Who will look after the children?'. I wanted to go with them, so that we would all be asleep together."

After giving insulin to the children, then aged from 11 months to 13, she injected herself twice. She panicked when Alicia developed breathing problems and called an ambulance. She died three weeks later.


The court heard that the Cartiers, both struggling in poorly paid jobs, juggled debts between a succession of credit companies as they splashed out on electrical goods and clothing.

Emmanuel Cartier (37) and his wife face life imprisonment for murder and attempted murder when the verdicts are announced today. The couple's lawyer, Hubert Delarue, is appealing for clemency, saying that they were driven to desperation. The couple, described by a psychiatrist as "immature, emotionally insecure and depressed", had combined earnings of about ?2,634 a month. As the couple went on trial, there was no sign that their surviving children had come to terms with their parents' actions. Mederic, now 16, and his nine-year-old sister Mathilde had agreed to confront their parents, having refused to see them for three years.

But one report spoke of a "dreadful face-to-face encounter between parents searching for the least sign of love and a boy and a girl visibly disinclined to forgive".


Debt-ridden parents tried to kill family

French court hears how loans pressure led to plot

1 child died but 4 survived injection by mother

By Jon Henley -

October 18, 2005

A desperate couple tried to kill their five children and themselves by injecting them with insulin after running up €250,000 of debt with 20 different credit firms, a French court heard yesterday.

Emmanuel Cartier, 37, a machine operator, and his wife, Patricia, 44, a carer for the elderly, appeared at Beauvais court, north of Paris, charged with murder and attempted murder after falling into what their lawyer, Hubert Delarue, called an "infernal spiral" of consumer spending and easily obtained credit.

One of the couple's daughters, Alicia, died in hospital after the injection. The others survived and now live with relatives: the doses administered by Patricia Cartier, using seven syringes and three bottles of insulin taken from her workplace, proved too small to be lethal.

After 15 years of marriage, the Cartiers, described by a psychiatrist as "immature, emotionally insecure and depressed", had six different bank accounts, 21 distinct consumer loans and 15 credit cards. They earned €1,300 (£900) a month each, with an extra €500 in family allowances.

Before the trial, Mr Cartier told the daily Libération that consumer credit was "like the air you breathe: you see an attractive ad, you call up. You get a form, you fill it in. The cheque arrives in the post 48 hours later. You never see or speak to anyone. You repay so little you barely notice. It gives you the feeling life is sweet."

The couple lived in a new bungalow bought five years ago after paying an adviser from the mortgage company to consolidate debts. "I never thought we'd get the mortgage," Mr Cartier said. "When we did, I thought well, those people know better than us. We're plainly OK." Most of the borrowing went on their children, Mederic, Alicia, Mathilde, Marina, and Thomas, aged between 11 months and 13 years; each had a television, two had PCs and three had hi-fi and games consoles.

By May 2002, Mr Cartier said, he was spending "entire nights" juggling loans, credit cards and bank accounts - transferring debt from one to another, repaying a little here and borrowing a bit there, taking advances on his pay cheques.

But in August that year, a cash machine swallowed one of the credit cards. Then their bank refused to pay the electricity bill. And suddenly, the whole edifice collapsed: debt collectors began calling, writs began replacing loan offers in the post.

Documents revealed that the couple used a last cheque from one credit firm to buy new clothes for the children "so they'd be well dressed in the next world". They went for a meal at a local restaurant.

Then Patricia gave everyone except her husband an injection, telling the children it was "a vaccination for a holiday abroad". Mr Cartier was supposed to slit his wrists, but managed little more than a scratch before calling the emergency services.

The couple, who were freed last year after two years in prison but face life sentences if convicted, were "living by the infernal logic of a consumer society, sucked into a terrible spiral of debt, taken in by the poisonous charm of revolving credit", said their lawyer. "There are responsibilities, but it would be profoundly unjust if they were to bear them all".


Patricia Cartier


Patricia Cartier



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