A French court sentenced Jonathann Daval to 25 years in prison on Saturday for killing his wife then burning her body, during a case that shocked the country.
The 36-year-old Frenchman was impassive because the verdict was read out. He turned to seem at members of his circle of relatives who were present. Earlier, he had said “Sorry, Sorry” within the dock, looking towards his wife’s parents.
Daval finally confessed to beating his wife, strangling her and burning her body within the woods after initially reporting her missing.
The charred remains of Alexia Daval were found hidden under branches near their town of Gray-la-Ville in eastern France in October 2017. Daval initially said Alexia, a 29-year-old bank employee, had gone jogging and never came back.
Jean-Pierre Fouillot, Alexia’s father, passed an arm round the shoulders of his wife Isabelle because the court’s decision was delivered. a couple of minutes later the mother, Isabelle Fouillot, went bent ask reporters, as she had done throughout the trial.
“It may be a excellent decision, exactly what I hoped, at the peak of our suffering. which will allow us to show a page,” she said.
Defence lawyer Ornella Spatafora swiftly indicated that there would be no appeal against the sentence. Outside the courthouse dozens of individuals were pressed against the barriers blocking access. Prosecutors had asked for a life calling the 2017 murder “an almost perfect conjugal crime”.
After his wife’s death, Daval had cut a distraught figure, appearing in tears at a news conference together with his in-laws and leading one among several events organised countrywide in her memory.
Three months later, prosecutors said the IT worker confessed to the murder – admitting he had beaten his wife during a heated argument, knocking her face against a concrete wall and strangling her.
He initially denied setting fire to her body, but finally admitted thereto too, in June last year. Daval changed his story several times, at one point withdrawing his confession, blaming his brother-in-law and eventually admitting to everything everywhere again.
On Monday, when asked by the judge whether he admitted to “being the sole person implicated within the death” of his wife, Daval replied “yes”, appearing on the brink of tears.
The crime deeply shocked France and nearly 10,000 people clothed within the couple’s quiet town for a silent march in her memory.
The murder highlighted the scourge of violence against women at the peak of the worldwide #MeToo campaign against sexual assault and harassment of girls .
On Monday, French authorities said 125,840 women were victims of violence in 2019. Another 146 were murdered by their partner or ex-partner – 25 quite the previous year.
Follow us on Twitter: @oyogist