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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Verdict due in "murder" trial of wife who "disappeared" WITH UPDATE SEE END

There are two high profile court cases making the headlines here in France at the moment.

The first is that of Jacques Viguier, a law professor accused of murdering his wife, Suzanne, nine years ago.

A verdict is expected on Thursday afternoon.

The other concerns the death in 2006 of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jewish man, who was kidnapped by a gang and tortured over a period of three weeks.

The trial of the gang-leader and 26 other accused opened in Paris on Thursday and is expected to last a couple of months.

You can read more about it here.

For the moment though, back to the Viguier trial and the accusation that he murdered his wife.

The main protagonists are Viguier, the husband with a reputation for being something of a "ladies' man" and Suzanne, a wife, tired of her husband's infidelities, who had taken a lover herself.

The last time anyone saw Suzanne Viguier was in the early hours of the morning on February 27, 2000.

That was when Olivier Durandet - her lover - dropped her off at the home she shared with her her husband and three children.

Viguier waited until March 1 before informing the police of his wife's "disappearance" and a week later an investigation was opened.

And suspicion quickly fell on Viguier, who was taken into police custody, and spent nine months in detention.

Because it was during the course of their investigations that the police uncovered a number of elements that not only gave the case something of the flavour of an Alfred Hitcock movie, but also pointed, as far as the prosecution was concerned, to Viguier's guilt.

The couple for example, although they still shared the family home, no longer slept together in the same bedroom.

Then there was the mattress for example - the one Suzanne slept on. It was nowhere to be found.

Viguier initially claimed he had sent it away to be cleaned in readiness for his wife's return, but later changed his story and insisted that he had thrown it away at a local tip.

When the police returned from the dump with a partially burnt mattress, which didn't exactly match the description, Viguier confirmed that that it was the one he had thrown away.

Police also found traces of Suzanne's blood on the staircase and the bath of the couple's home.

None of her personal effects were missing. In fact she had apparently even left the house without her glasses.

But the fact still remained - and does until today - that no body has been found.

Viguier has always maintained his innocence, and during the trial he has had the support of the couple's three children.

Clémence, now 19 and twins Guillaume and Nicolas, 17 have all testified over the past week solidly supporting their father.

"Just as others have done, I've tried to imagine that my father could be guilty but I just don't think he did it," Clémence told the court - a feeling echoed by both her brothers.

And even his mother-in-law, Claude Petit-Lamarca, the mother of the supposed murder victim, testified before the court that she believed Viguier to be innocent.

A verdict in the trial is expected on Thursday afternoon, with the prosecution asking for 15-20 years behind bars if Viguier is found guilty.

UPDATE

Viguier acquitted - found not guilty on all three counts; voluntary homicide, intentional violence towards his wife, and violence against his wife without the intention of killing her.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The man who has made up his mind to win will never say "impossible ".


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Portugal Coimbra University

Anonymous said...

Bad times make a good man.

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