Pilar Prades Santamaria
Pilar was born in 1928 as the daughter of a
penniless marriage. Like many other young
women, she went to the big city for work.
She got a job as a housemaid in Valencia.
Pilar gave her mistress tea for her bad liver.
Despite these "excellent" cares, her mistress
got worse and worse by the day. She died
in May 1955, after a terrible agony.
The widower dismissed Pilar, but she
quickly got another job as housemaid.
She used to go out on every Tuesday for a
ball or to visit a younger cousin who she
planned to marry, but instead he chose a
bride of his own age.
Not long after Pilar got her second job, her
mistress got a strange allergy but contacted
a doctor in time. Pilar then dismissed
herself from this employment.
She started working for a military doctor in
who's house another maid, Aurelia Sanz
already worked. They were friends but also
rivals, for they both pursued the same
young man, who preferred Aurelia. She
became seriously ill, but was hospitalized
and regained strength, although her hands
and feet were paralyzed. At the same time,
the doctor's spouse, also fell ill.
Pilar always applied the same medicine: the
ant killer Diluvio, with a skull and crossed
bones well visible in the bottle.
The doctor began investigating. He learned
arsenic was being administered to his wife
at each breakfast; the only meal she took
alone, and quickly dismissed Pilar.
He later got in touch with Pilar's former
employer, and they both pressed charges
against her. She was arrested and
confessed all these poisonings.
Pilar was sentenced to death for the first
poisoning and to twenty years each for the
other two attempts. In her cell, Pilar always
believed she would be reprieved.
During her incarceration she was always well
attended by the prison personnel. She went out
every morning, in the company of a matron. Also,
she used to eat outside when the days were sunny
and warm. There are pictures of those days
showing a seemingly happy and relaxed Pilar..
On July 19, 1959 Pilar Prades went to the garrotte.
On the day before her execution she kept waiting
with the serenity given by her belief that a last
minute pardon would arrive. Close to her was a
friend, an ex-con that was already free but had
returned to jail just to keep her company during
those last dread moments.
The executioner, Antonio López Guerra, arrived
that same night by 10 pm. He dined and waited to
hear if the execution was to be carried out or not.
At 6 am the wait was still on. Those to watch the
execution were gathering: the judge, the lawyer, the
prosecutor and the governor. The governor got so
nervous that he had to be relieved. As the pardon
still did not arrive, their nerves were starting to
break; they all went out one by one, weeping.
When the time for execution finally came, only the
guards, the executioner and Pilar were there.
At the end, upon seeing the scaffold ready for
execution, Pilar lost her calmness and pleaded for
compassion and mercy.
Her crimes were motivated
not by money or lust, but by
a strong desire to be
admired, cared for and
being the center of
everyone's attention.
She finally had some of that
in prison while awaiting her
Post mortem she became
known as the last female to
suffer "garrote vil" - the evil