The Treacherous Tennis Player
Vere Goold was born October 2, 1853 into a wealthy, Irish family. When he was 26 years old he became the first Irish tennis champion. His early success in sports faded and by 1883 he turned to alcohol and opium. However it took a turn for the worse when he met Marie Giraudin, a French, twice-widowed dressmaker.
They married in 1891, and riddled with debt they moved to Canada in 1897. She opened a dressmaker shop, in 1903 they moved to Liverpool to manage a laundry business. By then they adopted the title of Sir Vere and Lady Goold.
Deeper in debt than usual in 1907 Marie Goold persuaded her husband she had figured out a system to win at the gaming tables in the Monte Carlo Casino. Marie took her niece Isabelle along with them. They lived on the first floor of the Villa Menesini in the Boulevard des Moulin Monte Carlo for three years, before all their money finally petered out. It didn't help that Marie Goold had expensive tastes.
In answer to their desperate prayers they met a wealthy Swedish widow named Emma Levin, who was staying at the casino accompanied by her friend Madame Castellazi also a widow. It was inevitable that Mrs. Goold and Madame Castellazi had a public dispute in the casino which made the social columns and drove Mrs. Levin out of the city in order to escape the publicity.
By this time the Goold's had borrowed 40£ pounds from Madame Levin. An unsigned letter was slipped under the door of Levin’s hotel room, informing her that Vere and Marie were fraudsters and he had no legal right to a title. She asked for repayment of the money before she left Monte Carlo.
On August 4, 1907 she went to collect the money. By midnight she had not returned to her room, and Madame Castellazi went to the police. The police went to the hotel where the Goolds were staying, only to find they had left Isabelle behind, and had gone off to Marseilles claiming they had to meet a doctor in that city.
The police found bloodstains on the dining room walls, two saws, a chopper knife, a dagger and a hammer with blood on them. Madame Castellazi who accompanied the police recognized Madame Levin's parasol.
The Goolds bound for London from Marseille had a left a trunk at the railway station. One of the clerks named Louis Pons noticed a foul smell coming from it, and that blood was leaking from the bottom. The police were notified, and the couple stated the trunk was full of slaughtered poultry. The farfetched story did not dissuade police, and once opened they found the chopped up body of Madame Levin. The head and parts of the legs were missing. They were found in a small portmanteau which Goold was holding. The woman had several wounds on the head and she had been stabbed several times in the chest.
Vere Goold, 54 at the time took all the blame, and confessed to the murder, but pleaded insanity. During the trial many thought the mastermind of the deed was Marie Goold and she received a death sentence by guillotine. After she requested to be executed in front of the casino it was commuted to life imprisonment. He received a life sentence on Devil's Island. Deprived of alcohol and opium he descended into madness and committed suicide on September 8, 1909. She died of typhoid fever in a Montepellier Jail in 1914.
During the trial it came to light that Marie Goold's first two husbands had died mysteriously, creating a suspicion that she had murdered them as well.
Newspapers of the day described Monte Carlo as a ‘Devil’s Paradise’, a ‘Glittering Hell’, or ‘House of Perdition’, and a letter published in The Times asked: “How long are the nations of Europe going to tolerate the continuance of this plague-spot in their midst?”
Mrs. Levin was a middle-aged widow who aspired to enjoy her dead husband's wealth as a demi-mondaine in the dissolute lifestyle found in Monte Carlo. She could be found at the roulette tables until midnight, and then she went off to the cafes to show off her diamonds and drink until dawn. She smoked, flirted and made "promiscuous acquaintances".
Her father had abandoned the family when she was child, and was sent to a children's home. She was prostituting herself by the time she was 17, and admitted to the hospital with a case of syphilis when she was 18.
Her marriage to Leopold Levin had been unhappy and childless.
Source - Murderpedia
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Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer