It’s not uncommon for serial killers to collect souvenirs from their victims.
In fact, a startling amount of psychotic murderers crave an item of remembrance, either from the area the murder took place, or off the body itself. But Vera Renczi took it to a whole other level, collecting the bodies of her dead husbands and boyfriends and storing them lovingly in the cellar of her own home.
Vera Renczi was born in 1903 in Bucharest, Russia and was brought up in a wealthy family, enjoying all the pleasures an affluent lifestyle brings. A beautiful and voluptuous young woman, Vera started to entertain men sexually from the age of 15. Her preference was older men and she frequently ran away from home with numerous older boyfriends.
She showed a savage jealous streak and possessive nature, with a craving for male companionship, often being overly suspicious and ‘stalky’ towards her lovers.
Just before her 20th birthday, Vera married Karl Schick, who was significantly older than her, and gave birth to a son, Lorenzo, soon after. Left at home during the day with the baby whilst her husband worked, Vera became increasingly convinced that her husband was being unfaithful until one evening, she poisoned his wine with arsenic.
When questioned as to his whereabouts, she convinced family and friends that Karl had abandoned both her and their son and went into mourning. After about 10 months, she circulated reports that she had heard he had been killed in a car accident.
Shortly after the fictitious reports of her first husband’s death, Vera married for the second time, however this marriage was tumultuous and plagued with arguments. Vera became convinced for a second time that her husband was having an affair and poisoned him with arsenic. On his disappearance, she used the same story of being abandoned and, a year later, claimed to receive a letter from him stating his intention never to return to her.
Vera had now decided marriage was not for her and simply started having relationships with numerous men. She chose them from an array of social positions, some married and some not. All would vanish within days or weeks of being romantically involved with her, all poisoned with arsenic and all because she believed they were being unfaithful to her.
The married men never stood a chance, as she took their return home to their wives as betrayal. Whenever she was questioned as to the whereabouts of the men, she merely said she did not know. She was not married to them, they did not need to report their comings and goings to her.
One night, the wife of one of Vera’s new lovers followed him to Vera’s home.
When he never returned, she confronted Vera, who claimed to have no idea who the woman was talking about. The wife alerted police and a search of Vera’s house was conducted immediately. Upon searching the property, 32 coffins were found in the cellar of Vera Renczi’s home, each containing a corpse, in varying stages of decomposition.The bodies where later identified as those of her lovers.
Vera was arrested and confessed to poisoning all 32 men with arsenic when she believed they had been unfaithful or that their interest in her was fading. She also admitted to frequently sitting in her armchair amongst the bodies. She said she liked to be surrounded by her lovers and that, in their death, “they had become the devoted and unwavering men she had always wanted”.
Vera also made a startling confession to police when they could not get hold of her next of kin; her son, Lorenzo. He had come to visit her one day and found her sitting amongst her stash of submissive dead lovers, and threatened to blackmail her. Already fearing he would leave her permanently soon to get married, Vera poisoned Lorenzo and disposed of his body elsewhere. Despite his desire to blackmail her, (and her desire to kill him) she wanted to be the last woman to ever touch him, so she hugged him as he laying dying on her floor!
Vera was eventually convicted of 35 murders and sentenced to life in prison. She died of a brain haemorrhage whilst in prison.