21st March 1870

Newspapers demand corporal punishment

Newspapers demanded that a French labourer to be given corporal punishment for attacking a woman and leaving her for dead in St Martin. Auguste Rouelle had attempted to rape Victorine Langlois when she left a pub at Anne Port Bay. She cried for help but they were too far from any houses for her to be heard, and her only chance of survival was to run.

Rouelle caught her and hurled her off the cliff. Langlois’ clothing got snagged half way down, but Rouelle wasn’t content to leave her there, from where she might be able to climb back up and summon help. So, he clambered down, unhooked her, and pushed her the rest of the way down to the beach where she landed on stones and was knocked out.

A passer-by cones to the rescue

Rouelle may well have assumed she’d been killed, as he didn’t bother to climb the rest of the way down and check, instead climbing back up and leaving her there. She wasn’t discovered for 12 hours, when a passer-by helped her back to her home.

Although she was able to give a thorough account of what had happened, Rouelle had by then fled the island, the assumption being that he had returned to France, and was thus beyond the jurisdiction of the Jersey authorities.


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