Bernard Pesquet (1 Viewer)


Bernard Pesquet

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies - Cementing corpses inside staircase of his home
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: 1941 / 1974-1976
Date of birth: 1922
Victims profile: Julien Quivel (his best friend) / Christiane Ruaux (his wife) / Henri Francqui, 68 / Emile, 73, and Elizia Bergaud, 63, and their maid, Alfia Borgioni
Método de matar: Hitting with an iron bar / Shooting (.38 calibre revolver)
Location: Rouen/Paris, France
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on October 8, 1982

Authorities Were Not Buying

Bernard Pesquet Story

France was occupied by Germany in 1941 when 19-year-old Bernard Pesquet was convicted of murdering his best friend, Julien Quivel.

Bernard admitted hitting Julien over the head with an iron bar, but claimed that Julien was a German informant and that he had killed him to protect his country.

It goes without saying that such a defence did not sit well in German-occupied France.

The court preferred to believe that robbery was the motive. Bernard was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Served 21 years

Twenty-one years later, Bernard was released from prison. He settled in the Paris suburb of Pierrelaye and was considered something of a celebrity by the locals.

Within a year, he had built up a thriving painting and decorating business and had earned the respect of the townsfolk.

Bernard was even a valued member of the local chamber of commerce.

In 1968, he met and wed attractive Christiane Ruaux.

Although Christiane proved to have expensive tastes, the marriage appeared to be a happy one until Nov. 24, 1974. That was the day Christiane disappeared with everything of value in the Pesquet home.

She took several of Bernard’s suits, which gave everyone a chuckle. You see, Bernard had the undersized body of a jockey.

If Christiane had run away with a lover who could use her husband’s suits, he had to be a very small man indeed.

Bernard wept, but life went on.

On April 30, 1976, the good citizens of Pierrelaye had another bit of gossip to talk about.

A local real estate agent, Henri Francqui, 68, vanished off the face of the earth.

Nothing had been taken from his office or home. Francqui, who had lived alone, simply didn’t show up at his office and was never seen again.

Two months later, while police were looking for Francqui or his body, another tragedy took place.

This time, the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine was the locale of a triple murder.

Emile and Elizia Bergaud were a wealthy couple who failed to keep a dinner engagement with their son-in-law.

Emile was 73 years old, Elizia, 63. Together with their maid, Alfia Borgioni, they were found shot to death in their apartment.

Detectives found a sheet of plastic in the dining room of the Bergaud’s apartment. It was caked with dried blood.

The killer had found a hidden safe in the bathroom. It had been opened and the contents removed.

A lady’s purse lay open on the bedroom floor. All cash had been removed.

While robbery appeared to be the logical motive, police figured the killer was an amateur. A professional thief rarely kills and often does not carry a weapon.

An autopsy revealed Mrs. Bergaud had been shot once in the head and twice in the back. Mr. Bergaud had also been shot in the head and in the arm.

The maid, Alfia Borgioni, had been strangled and then shot through the head while unconscious.

Ballistic testing indicated that all the shots had been fired from the same weapon, a .38 calibre revolver.

Police figured that the blood bath had taken place to prevent the victims from indentifying the robber.

Analysing the scene

After analysing the scene of the crime and studying the trajectory of the bullets, it was ascertained that the man who fired the .38 was small in stature. The bullets had travelled at an upward angle.

The safe, which had been well hidden in a bathroom closet, would probably not be found by someone unless they knew where to look.

The safe was a well constructed, complicated affair and could only be opened by someone who had a knowledge of safes and was handy with tools.

It didn’t take long for the name Bernard Pesquet to pop to the surface. Men who had a criminal record were checked out first.

Bernard fit most of the prerequisites. He was small and, although he didn’t know the Bergauds on a personal level, he had recently papered and painted their apartment.

He would therefore know the location of the safe and what tools were required to open it.

Bernard was questioned. Initially, he denied all, claiming police persecution because of his criminal record dating back over 20 years.

However, a search of his home uncovered Swiss, English and Belgian coins, as well as an American Express card made out to Emile Bergaud. Bernard attempted to bluff.

He claimed the money was his own savings.

As for the American Express card, he told officers he had left a book of wallpaper samples with the Bergauds.

They must have dropped the card in the book. Bernard had found the card and intended to return it.

A horde of evidence

While Bernard’s story fell within the realm of possibility, he was unable to come up with a comparable yarn to account for the horde of evidence in his barn.

Detectives found gold bars, Mrs. Bergaud’s jewellery and the key to the Bergauds’s apartment.

They also uncovered Christiane Pesquet’s driver’s license and an identification card belonging to Henri Francqui.

Bernard told his interrogators that Christiane and Francqui had been lovers and had run off together.

No one believed the unlikely tale. Instead of questioning him further, police proceeded to dig up his yard. Bernard was forced to watch. He didn’t flinch for a moment.

When the diggers discontinued their efforts, he broke into a wide grin. Things became downright serious when the police concentrated their efforts on the basement of his house.

Resigned to the consequences, Bernard stated matter of factly, “You may run across two bodies there.’’ He was right on the button.

The bodies of his wife, Christiane, and Henri Francqui were uncovered.

Autopsies and ballistics tests proved that both had been shot with the same weapon which had taken the lives of the Bergauds and their maid, Alfia Borgioni.

Bernard now told a different story. He and Christiane had argued over her affair with Francqui.

She wanted money so that she could take off with her lover. When he refused, she pulled out the .38. In the ensuing struggle, she was shot.

As for Francqui, Bernard had argued with him over Christiane. Francqui pulled a gun on him. Bernard claimed he had no choice but to fire in self defense. Unfortunately for Bernard, both victims had been shot in the back.

When informed of this inconsistency in his story, Bernard could only stare at the floor. He wasn’t smiling any more.

On Oct. 8, 1982, Bernard Pesquet was found guilty of five counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.


MO: Bludgeoned man in robbery, 1941; killed victims for profit, 1974-76, cementing corpses inside staircase of his home.

DISPOSITION: Life term, 1956 (paroled 1961); life term, 1984.


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