28 January 1898
A Peasant Jack the Ripper Did Murder For The Love Of It
Lyons, Jan. 28.
Vacher, the French shepherd, under arrest on a charge of having murdered 38 persons within three years, was attacked by one of his periodical fits last night and tried to kill a prison warden.
Vacher had been tractable and apparently of peaceful intent for some time, and vigilance was relaxed. As the guard entered Vacher's cell last night the insane man leaped from his cot and picking up the heavy prison chair whirled it over his head and brought it down with crushing force.
The dazed prison keeper tried to ward off the rain of blows, but was beaten to the floor, when Vacher stood over him, jabbing fiercely at the unconscious man's body.
Half a dozen wardens sprang upon Vacher and dragged him to the cell door. He fought with wonderful strength and could only be made powerless by the piling up of the men on top of him.
Vacher, the French Jack the Ripper, whose crimes have surpassed in number and atrocity those of his Whitechapel prototype, has confessed to 12 murders. He has puzzled every magistrate and scientist before whom he has been examined. He is described as an individual whose ideas are quite lucid.
Since he made his confession shortly after his arrest he has been continually proclaiming irresponsibility at one moment, declaring it is not his fault if his blood is vitiated; at another protesting that he is but an instrument of God on earth. He only consented to be photographed on condition that he be allowed to hold the jailer's keys in his hand, saying, "The public will understand these keys represent the keys to paradise."
Vacher was once confined for some months in a madhouse, and once when doing military service he attempted to shoot himself owing to a love affair.
Vacher himself says, which statement has been proved to be true, that in his youth he was bitten by a mad dog and a concoction was given him by the village herbalist, after drinking which he grew strange, irritable and brutal.