Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder-for-hire
Number of victims: 300 ?
Date of murder: 1879 - 1909
Date of arrest: March 1909
Date of birth: ????
Victim profile: Abusive husbands
Method of murder: Poisoning (arsenic)
Location: Russia
Status: Executed by firing squad in March 1909

Madame Popova (1879-1909) (age unknown) operated a murder-for-hire service in Russia that specialized in liberating married women from cruel husbands for a fee. She murdered over 300 victims, by using poison, her own hands, a weapon, or hiring an assassin. Russian police were tipped off by a liberated woman who experienced a moment of remorse.

She was executed before a firing squad.


Popova, Madame

A prolific poisoner who undertook her work as much from sympathy as for the minor fees she charged, Madame Popova was an advocate of women's liberation long before the cause was recognized. 

A native of Samara, Russia, she was so distressed by the travail of peasant wives held "captive" by their brutish husbands that she volunteered an inexpensive, lethal remedy. For thirty years before her ultimate arrest, in March 1909, she ran a small disposal service for her female neighbors, picking up spare change and executing her commissions with dispatch. 

A client, suddenly remorseful, turned her in to the police, and Madame Popova confessed to "liberating" some 300 wives in her career. In custody, she boasted of the fact that she "did excellent work in freeing unhappy wives from their tyrants." 

In her own defense, Madame Popova told her captors she had never killed a woman. Czarist soldiers saved her from a mob that sought to burn her at the stake, and she was unrepentant as she stood before the firing squad.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


Woman Kills 300 At Wives' Behest

Charged Small Fee for Administering Poison to Undesirable Russian Husbands - Justifies Her Killings - Declares She Never Killed a Woman - Mob Seeks to Burn Her at the Stake, but Is Prevented - Woman, Who Has Confessed, in Jail.

The Stanstead Journal (Rock Island, Quebec, Canada)

Jun. 24, 1909

St. Petersburg, Russia. – Arrested after a full confession has been made by one of her conscience stricken employers, a woman who is believed to have killed more than three hundred men within the last thirty years is in prison at Samara. The only name given by the police of the wholesale murderess is Popova.

All the murdered men were husbands who wanted to get rid of them. The woman charged a nominal sum prior to the murder and the remainder after the victim was killed. She would make the acquaintance of the man she was to kill and then manage to put poison in his food or drink.

After one woman whose husband had been murdered became stricken by her guilty conscience she sent for the police, made a full confession, and a squad of policemen were at once sent to the home of the Popova woman. In some way the charge against the prisoner became known, and before the police started from her home for the prison they were surrounded by a mob of several hundred persons.

Infuriated at the atrociousness of the woman’s deeds, the mob demanded that the prisoner be turned over to them and that they might burn her at the stake.

With drawn revolvers the police held the mob at bay until soldiers, who had been sent for, arrived and drove the child back. Then the woman was taken to the jail.

After she had been taken to the prison the woman made no effort to conceal the fact that she had been a wholesale murderess. She declared that she was justified in her work, for the only persons she killed were men who had abused their wives and that her murdering them had saved the women further misery.



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