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Of Diabolical Purpose - Sgeulachd Monsieur Chantrelle

BBC ALBA - Thursday 22 May at 9.00pm

Sgeulachd Monsieur Chantrelle Madame Chantrelle ill in bed (played by actress Lynn McCallum) with maid (played by actress Arlene Wood) and Eugene Marie Chantelle (played by actor Russell Murray)

The story of Eugene Chantrelle has been largely forgotten in the archives of Edinburgh crime but remains one of the most remarkable in Scottish criminal history. A French man in exile, Chantrelle had a shady past and displayed bizarre behaviour from his early days in Edinburgh following the 1848 Revolution in France. He studied medicine and was a gifted linguist and teacher, who went on to marry one of his young pupils, 15 year old Elizabeth Dyer. They had four children, but Elizabeth suffered regular verbal and physical abuse at Eugene’s hands. He frequently threatened to poison her saying “........it is in my power to administer a fatal dose that will defy medical detection”. Elizabeth began to feel unwell on New Year’s Day 1878, insisting a gas leak had occurred. On her death two doctors agreed that Elizabeth's symptoms in no way indicated coal gas poisoning. On the day of her funeral Eugene was arrested on suspicion of murder. The case generated enormous public interest and after a five-day trial, he was found unanimously guilty. The hanging of Eugene Chantrelle was the first execution to take place within prison walls in Scotland.

Great grandson of Eugene Chantrelle, Paul Nelson, reflects on the devastating effect the incident had on Chantrelle’s sons, and how this was carried down through the years to his own grandfather, and father.

Of Diabolical Purpose - Sgeulachd Monsieur Chantrelle

BBC ALBA - Diardaoin 22 Cèitean aigf

Sgeulachd Monsieur Chantrelle Madame Chantrelle ill in bed (played by actress Lynn McCallum) with maid (played by actress Arlene Wood) and Eugene Marie Chantelle (played by actor Russell Murray)

Ann an 1868, sguir Breatann a' cur daoine gu bàs gu poblach. Deich bliadhna às dèidh sin, chaidh a' chiad duine ann an Alba a chrochadh air taobh a-staigh ballachan prìosain ann an Dùn Èideann, às dèidh cùis lagh connspaideach. Thug a' chùis a bha seo buaidh uabhasach air teaghlach aig an àm. Agus tha bhuaidh ri fhaicinn chun là an-diugh. Tha sgeulachd aig Eugene Chantrelle, cho annasach ri gin ann an eachdraidh fòirneart ann an Alba.

Murt le puinnsean, fògarrach Frangach agus bàs gu dearbha, nach deach a rèiteach a-riamh. An do chuir Eugene Chantrelle às dha bhean òg? No am b' e tubaist a bh' ann - no làmh chuideigin eile?

Rugadh Eugène Marie Chantrelle ann an Nantes, ann an 1834. Bha athair na mharsanta mara beartach. Fhuair am balach deagh foghlam agus thug e a-mach dotaireachd san oilthigh. Ach chaill an teaghlach an cuid gnìomhachais aig àm ar-a-mach na Frainge ann an 1848. Theich Chantrelle a Pharis, far an robh e a’ sabaid air taobh nan Comannach. Chaidh a leòn, agus nuair a chaidh an strì na aghaidh, dh'fhàg e an Fhraing. Às dèidh ùine a' siubhal, thàinig e a Dhùn Èideann ann an 1866.

Bha iomadh cànan Eòrpach aig Chantrelle agus fhuair e obair a' teagasg gu prìobhaideach. B' ann san dòigh sin a thachair e ri Elizabeth Dyer, nach robh ach 15 bliadhna a dh'aois. Ann an ùine ghoirid bha iad a' falbh le chèile, a dh'aindeoin draghannan a pàrantan. Bha Elizabeth trom aig aois 16, agus phòs an dithis. Bhon chiad là, b' e cùis dòrainneach a bh' ann don bhoireannach òg.

Bha ceathrar leanabh aca, balaich uile, agus taigh mòr ann am meadhan a' bhail’ ùir ann an Dùn Èideann. Ach bhiodh Chantrelle ga dochann, agus a' maoidheadh oirre tric. Thòisich e air òl, agus a' falbh le siùrsaich. Ged a bha a' chlann air an coimhead às an dèidh, tha fear de shliochd Chantrelle Paul Nelson, a' mìneachadh gu dè seòrsa buaidh a bh' aig dol-a-mach an athar orra, bliadhnaichean mòra às dèidh na cùis.

Le eòlas ann an stuthan meidigeach bho chuid làithean san oilthigh san Fhraing, bhiodh Chantrelle tric ag innse do dh'Elizabeth gu robh comas aigesan a marbhadh le stuthan puinnseanta. An ann mar sin a thachair, aig àm na bliadhn' ùire ann an 1878? Tha am prògram a' dèanamh sgrùdadh.

Dh'fhàs Elizabeth bochd air a' chiad là den bhliadhna. Bha searbhant dhìleas aice a dh'fheuch ri a sàbhaladh, ach bhàsaich i goirid às dèidh dhaibh an dotair a ghairm. Bha Chantrelle a' cumail a-mach gur e aoidion gas a thug bàs dhi. Ach anns a' phrògram, tha an Dotair Sarah Marr a' mìneachadh carson nach biodh sin idir comasach.

Chaidh Chantrelle a chur an grèim às dèidh tiodhlaigeadh a' mhnaoi, agus cha deach a shaoradh a-riamh tuilleadh. Bha chùis-lagh connspaideach, le feadhainn den bheachd gur e gràin-cinnidh an aghaidh nan Frangach an rud a dh’adhbharaich na casaidean. Bha dìon math, làidir aige agus cha robh dearbhadh cruaidh, cinnteach idir aig a' Chrùn. A dh'aindeoin sin, chaidh a lorg ciontach - fo chasaid gun do mhurt e a bhean le bhith a’ cur opium na biadh. Mar a thuirt am britheamh, cha robh fainear do Eugene Chantrelle ach 'diabolical purpose.'

B' e crochadh Chantrelle a' chiad fhear a rinneadh air cùlaibh bhallachan prìosain ann an Alba. Goirid às a dhèidh, chaidh na mic òga aige an toirt air falbh à Dùn Èideann. Tha iar-ogha Chantrelle, Paul Nelson ag innse mar a thachair sna bliadhnaichean às dèidh sin, le droch bhuaidh gu math follaiseach nam beatha uile, fiùs a' bualadh air athair fhèin a chaidh a thogail ann an Glaschu.

Cuimhneachain pearsanta, beachdan bho eòlaichean, agus ìomhaighean làidir dràma uile air an snìomh còmhla.


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2014 Programme ArchiveTasglann Phrògraman 2014

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