Beast of Bastille: Guy Georges

Crime Files

Born Guy Rampillon, on 15 October 1962 in Angers, France, to an American father and a French mother. His father, George Cartwright, was a soldier who worked as a cook on the NATO bases. Abandoned by his parents when he was very young, Guy was taken in by the DDASS, the French social welfare service. He was placed with a foster family and at the age of six, to aid in his adoption, was given the surname Georges, after his father. He was adopted by the Morins and grew up in a family of 12 adopted children. The young Georges never really received the love, attention and stability he needed and soon began to show a violent and aggressive streak in his personality.

Timeline

Born 15 October 1962The Victims 1976 – Roselyne D (adoptive sister) – attempted strangulation 1978 - Christiane D (adoptive sister) – attempted strangulation February 1979 – Pascale C - attempted strangulation May 1980 – Jocelyne S – attacked May 1980 – Roselyne C – attacked, stabbed in face 16 November 1981 – Nathalie C, 18 – raped, stabbed and left for dead 7 June 1982 - Violette K – raped, stabbed and strangled but escaped February 1984 – Pascale N, 21 – raped, stabbed but escaped 24 January 1991 – Pascale Escarfail, 19 – raped and murdered 22 April 1992 – Eleonore D - assaulted 7 January 1994 – Catherine Rock, 27 - raped and murdered 13 January 1994 – Annie L – attacked 8 November 1994 – Elsa Benady, 22 - raped and murdered 10 December 1994 - Agnes Nijkamp, 33 - raped and murdered June 1995 – Elisabeth O – assaulted 8 July 1995 – Helena Frinking, 24 - raped and murdered 25 August 1995 - Melanie B - assaulted 23 September 1997 – Magalie Sirotti - raped and murdered October 1997 - Valerie L – assaulted 16 November 1997 – Estelle Magd - raped and murderedArrested February 1979 – released after 1 week May 1980 – 1 year in Angers prison November 1981 – 5 years in prison for theft June 1982 – 18 months in prison February 1984 – 10 years in prison 27 March 1998 – Montmartre, rape and murderTrial 19 March 2001Convicted 5 April 2001Sentenced 5 April 2001 – life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole for 22 years.

The Crimes

In his first violent attack, at the age of 14, Georges tried to strangle Roselyne D, one of his mentally disabled adoptive sisters, in 1976. Two years later, he attacked another of his adoptive sisters, Christiane D, in 1978. Concerned for the welfare of her family, Mrs Morin arranged for Georges to return to the authorities of the DDASS.Placed again in foster care, Georges was unable to control his violent urges and on 6 February 1979 he struck again. He attacked a girl, Pascale C, and tried to strangle her but she managed to escape. He was arrested by police but was released after a week. Rejected by his foster family, Georges became increasingly depressed and turned to alcohol for solace.A year later, the 17-year-old Georges attacked Jocelyne S in May 1980. Later that month he assaulted Roselyne C, stabbing her violently in her face. Both girls survived their attacks and Georges was arrested once more and sent to prison for a year in Angers, in the Loire region. Upon his release from prison, Georges moved to Paris with a friend. Here he lived in squats in the east of the city. No one suspected Georges of being the serial killer he was. He committed petty crimes to survive, drank extensively and befriended young people interested in left-wing politics.A month after his 19th birthday, Georges committed his first rape. On 16 November 1981 he attacked Nathalie C, a neighbour, as she was returning home. He raped her, stabbed her and left her for dead. Nathalie C survived the attack.Following a five-month prison term for theft, Georges attacked again. On 7 June 1982 in a car park of the 16th arrondissement, he raped, stabbed and strangled Violette K but she managed to escape and went to the police. A few days later, Georges was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison.Shortly after his release, Georges attacked Pascale N, 21, in a car park, where he raped and stabbed her in February 1984. She managed to break free and run away. Later that evening, police arrested Georges.In 1985 he was sentenced at the Court of Assizes of Meurthe-et-Moselle to 10 years imprisonment. Due to good behaviour, towards the end of his sentence, Georges was allowed out of prison during the day but was required to report back each evening to spend the night.On the evening of 24 January he simply did not report to prison and instead travelled to Paris to commit his first murder. He spotted an attractive young woman walking down the road. It was 19-year-old Pascale Escarfail, a student at the Sorbonne. Following her home, Georges grabbed her as she was opening her front door. Holding a knife to her throat, he forced his way in, tied her up and raped her, before slitting her throat and watching her die. A week after the murder, Georges calmly returned to prison as if nothing was amiss.Released from prison on 4 April 1992, Georges wasted no time in finding another young female victim. On 22 April 1992 he attacked Eleonore D, who escaped and reported the incident to the police. Georges was arrested once more.On 7 January 1994 Georges attacked Catherine Rock, 27, in an underground parking garage, where he raped and murdered her. A mere six days later, Georges struck again. His victim was radio host Annie L, whom he raped and murdered on the patio of her home on 13 January 1994.Georges’ next attack was on 8 November 1994 in the underground parking garage of 22-year-old Elsa Benady’s home in the 13th arrondissement, where he raped and killed her. A month later, on 10 December 1994, he raped and murdered Dutch architect Agnes Nijkamp, 33, in her home in the 11th arrondissement. The media began to report a ‘Killer in East Paris’.In June 1995, Georges attacked Elisabeth O and tried to kill her but she made a narrow escape. On 8 July 1995 Georges raped and murdered Helena Frinking, 27, in her apartment after she returned from an evening out. Georges assaulted Melanie B on 25 August 1995 in the Marais quarter.Some progress was being made in the police investigation into the ‘Killer of East Paris’. However, whilst Elisabeth O had managed to give a vague description of her attacker, when shown a picture of Georges, she failed to identify him. Police did have DNA traces left at two crime scenes by the same individual and a footprint found at the location of the Helena Frinking crime.In September 1997, Georges attacked and attempted to rape Estelle F but she fought him and escaped. A few days later, on 23 September 1997, he broke into the apartment of 19-year-old student, Magalie Sirotti, where he raped and stabbed her to death.Five days later, Georges assaulted Valerie L in the stairwell of her apartment block, on 28 October 1997. Less than a month after that, Georges entered the home of Estelle Magd, 25, where he raped and murdered her on 16 November 1997. This was to be the last victim of ‘The Beast of Bastille’.

The Arrest

Police investigation was finally gaining impetus and investigators knew for certain that several of their unsolved crimes were linked and that they potentially had a serial killer on their hands. The media frenzy surrounding the killings had unleashed a level of panic in the population of Paris. Georges was being dubbed the ‘Beast of Bastille’ due to the fact that several of his attacks had occurred in the Bastille quarter, the famed Revolutionary era Parisian neighbourhood.It was one of the largest manhunts in French criminal history. Police finally found Georges in Montmartre and arrested him on 27 March 1998 for the rape and murder of Pascale Escarfail, Catherine Rock, Elsa Benady and Agnes Nijkamp. It transpired that Georges’ DNA matched that found at all four crime scenes, as well as at one attempted rape. Confronted whilst in custody with the irrefutable DNA evidence, Georges confessed to these four, as well as three other murders.Kept in custody, Georges tried to escape in December 2000; a few weeks before his trial was due to begin. He and three cellmates attempted to saw through the bars of their cell but were caught by prison guards. Georges was assessed by psychiatrists and declared legally sane and fit to stand trial.

The Trial

The three-week trial began on Monday 19 March 2001. The 50 witnesses included four women previously attacked and raped by Georges. Amongst those giving evidence were 15 experts; members of the families of some of Georges’ victims; and Georges’ 71-year-old foster mother.Despite prosecutor Evelyne Lesieur presenting the DNA evidence as well as the confession given after his arrest, Georges pleaded not guilty to all charges at trial. He retracted his confession, claiming the police had tortured and beaten him to obtain it.Eight days into the proceedings, a defeated Georges broke down in tears and confessed. He admitted to the original four murders, as well as to the rape and murder of Helena Frinking in 1995, Magalie Sirotti in 1997 and Estelle Magd in 1997, asking for forgiveness from the victims’ families.On Thursday, 5 April 2001 Guy Georges, 38, was sentenced to life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole for 22 years, for the rape and murder of seven women between 1991 and 1997.

The Aftermath

There were several people who believed that Georges could have been caught sooner and that some of his horrendous crimes could have thus been avoided. During the police investigation, officers had failed to match DNA results for several months and at least one murder was committed whilst Georges was on day release from prison.The intense focus on the case did have a positive effect in that this was the first case of using DNA evidence to convict a criminal in France. After the Georges case, French Minister of Justice, Elisabeth Guigou, established the precedent of storing the DNA of all sex offenders in a national register.Georges is still a suspect in a few other murders previously considered part of the Bastille series. It is believed that he will never be released from prison, as psychiatrists have described Georges as a narcissistic psychopath and warned that his urge to kill could not be cured. There are some who believe he will commit suicide whilst in prison, as he was reported as saying, “You can rest assured, I know that I will never leave prison but I can assure you that I will never serve my sentence. …The sentence that you are going to impose on me is nothing, I will inflict a sentence upon myself.”