‘Black Widow of the Riviera’ Allegedly Seduced, Killed Wealthy Men

Patricia Dagorn. Photo: VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

This week, Patricia Dagorn, a 57-year-old divorced law graduate from southern France, was sentenced to 22 years in jail for killing two elderly men she had seduced, and poisoning two others.

Dagorn was already serving a five-year sentence for preying upon and attempting to defraud an octogenarian man with whom she had been living. Shortly after that trial, police reopened their investigation into the 2011 murder of Michel Kneffel, a man in his 60s Dagorn had lived with in the southern French city of Nice. During the investigation, police found evidence linking Dagorn to the murder of another elderly man, 85-year-old Francesco Filippone, who was found dead in his bathtub in 2011.

Prosecutors said Dagorn met at least 20 men on the Côte d’Azur between 2011 and 2012, either through a matchmaking service, personal ads, or by approaching them on the street. They said she would put Valium into the meals she prepared for them, and then persuade the men to give her money, sign checks for her, or to name her in their wills.

“She would be full of empathy for these men, would gain their confidence, siphon off their money and end up by working out how to make them disappear,” prosecutor Jean-Michel Prêtre said before the trial in Nice.

Two other men who survived Dagorn’s alleged drugging attempts also joined the case as plaintiffs. One of them, 91-year-old Robert Vaux, told reporters that Dagorn “was like a ray of sunshine in winter. When you are with a younger woman you know it won’t last but you don’t deny yourself the moment unless you’re a masochist.”

During the trial, Dagorn said she had been “very good friends” with the men who died.

“I won’t say that it was love, but it was deep friendship,” she told the court.

France’s ‘Black Widow’ Allegedly Seduced, Killed Wealthy Men