The First Serial Killer: Locusta of Gaul
Born around the first century C.E., Locusta grew up to become one of the preeminent poison masters in all of Rome. It is said that Empress Agrippina and Locusta conspired together to poison Claudius with a batch of poisoned mushrooms so that Agrippina’s son Nero could become the Emperor.After this Locusta came under Nero’s employ, helping to poison Britannicus, Claudius’s son by an earlier marriage. With Emperor Nero as one of her satisfied customers, Locusta enjoyed a growing reputation. The emperor lavished her with land, money, gifts, and a full pardon for all the poisonings she had been charged with over the years. There were many imperial referrals and more assignments. Locusta was very busy with her contract work in poisonings-for-hire, and even opened a school where she taught others her knowledge of herbs and toxins.
Locusta was riding high, until the Roman Senate decided to off Nero. It is said that Locusta had thoughtfully furnished Nero with a poison kit for himself when it was known that his end was near, but in the confusion of the moment, Nero left the kit behind. Before he could be brought before the Roman Senate to stand trial for his many “crimes,” Nero killed himself with his own dagger. However, this seems like a pleasant end when compared to Locusta’s own death. It is said that Locusta was publicly raped by a specially trained giraffe, then torn apart by wild animals.
I guess the Senate ran out of poison…