However, there is a lamentably short list of female assassins in the annals of history and – more often than not – they fail to kill their intended target. Perhaps that is nothing to be ashamed of, after all.
Here, though, are 10 of history’s female assassins and their intended victims.
She had even taken the time to print up and copy a document explaining her actions. Chuanfang was not mourned. He had been involved in the repression of strikes in Shanghai, opium trafficking and was a well-known collaborator with the Japanese. Jianqiao was opposed to all of these actions.
Moreover, he had had her father executed by decapitation and had ordered his head put on a pike outside a railway station for all to see. So, quite rightly she was angry – very angry. She was put on trial with three different courts handing out contradictory verdicts. With public opinion resoundingly on her side she was eventually released and was given a full pardon. She died in 1979.
Three shots were fired – one went straight through Lenin’s coat. The other two hit his shoulder and his jaw. They did not kill him but it is thought that they were contributory to the stroke that killed him a couple of years later. No such luck for Kaplan, however. She was taken in to custody and when it became apparent that she would not finger anyone as accomplices she was shot – just three days later.
Sara Jane Moore
Obsessed with Patty Hearst, Moore had turned to revolutionary politics in 1975 – five husbands and four children were seemingly not enough to occupy her. A single shot from forty foot away from the President sealed her fate. She had been noticed aiming by a bystander and he had grabbed her arm, meaning that the bullet missed President Ford and ricocheted off a wall slightly injuring another bystander. Moore served thirty two years of a life sentence and was released in 2007 at the age of 72.
He was a journalist who stirred up opinion in his newspaper; she was a member of a minor aristocratic family who was more than a little fed up with their class ending up in the final caress of the guillotine. On 10 July 1793 she put her plan in to action. Getting access to Marat was easy – she told his housekeeper that she would be informing him of a plot against the state.
She was admitted – approaching Marat in his bathtub (he had a skin condition and conducted many of his affairs from there). After giving Marat the names of the plotters she pulled out a knife and plunged it deep in to his chest, an act immortalized in much artwork. She herself was guillotined just a week later. Records maintain that her decapitated head was picked up, slapped on the cheek and the face registered a look of ‘unequivocal indignation’ at this post mortem attack.
Around thirty shots were fired, wounding five, one seriously. She was released in 1981 and left for her native land where she continued, until her death in 2010, to be a proponent for a free and democratic Puerto Rico.
After the event, the shooter John Wilkes Booth stopped at her tavern where he was given whiskey and pistols. Many believe that she was arrested to try and draw out her fugitive son who was also involved in the assassination. Nevertheless she was sentenced to death for treason, conspiracy, and plotting murder.
Despite appeals President Johnson did not stay her execution, saying that she had "kept the nest that hatched the egg". She was executed with three other conspirators on 7 July 1865.
She drove a knife in to his stomach, shouting that she had killed the antichrist while she did so. However, she hadn’t and he quickly tried to run away from her. She pursued him and attempted to finish the task but he managed to grab a stick and hit her in the face with it. Not very gentlemanly but he wasn’t exactly renowned for his manners.
Narrowly avoiding being killed by a mob that had gathered, Guseva managed to turn herself over the to the authorities and was committed to an asylum. Rasputin survived but was successfully assassinated two years later. It is not known when she died – and no pictures of her (with or without nose) survive.
Solanas was a radical feminist writer who had been closely associated with Andy Warhol and his famous Factory. She shot him as he left the Factory, also shooting a critic Mario Amaya as well.
Warhol almost died and had to wear a corset for the rest of his life to stop his injury from getting worse. Even though she almost killed him Warhol refused to testify against her. She got three years. She died of emphysema at the age of 52, having been in and out of mental institutions since her release.
King recovered in hospital (see above). His press release said ‘I felt no ill will toward Mrs. Izola Curry and know that thoughtful people will do all in their power to see that she gets the help she apparently needs if she is to become a free and constructive member of society’. The authorities were less forgiving. Curry was judged to be unfit to stand trial and was committed to a psychiatric institution for the rest of her life.
Altogether, she shot at him three times, missed once but grazed him twice. In the nose. She was almost lynched on the spot but was arrested and carted off by the police. Although Mussolini had to wear bandages for a while afterwards he continued his parade almost immediately after treatment.
Gibson never gave a reason for her actions but it was suspected that she was insane. She was deported to the UK and released, at the request of Benito himself no less. Unsurprisingly she spent the rest of her days in a mental hospital.
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