British minister's niece gets 15 years for murder
The niece of Britain's junior defence minister, Quentin Davies, was sentenced to 15 years for drunkenly killing a Frenchman.Versailles – The niece of Britain's junior defence minister was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for the fatal stabbing of a Frenchman she picked up in a bar.
A French court convicted Jessica Davies, 30, of drunkenly killing 24-year-old Olivier Mugnier in November 2007 in her apartment in the chic Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
The niece of multi-millionaire politician Quentin Davies admitted killing her victim, but said she had a blackout and only remembered coming round to find him bleeding to death on her bed.
She was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment combined with 10 years of probation and psychological monitoring. The court also awarded EUR 100,000 in damages to Mugnier's family.
The judge and jury in the Versailles court west of Paris heard Davies had suffered from psychological problems since her English father and French mother divorced acrimoniously when she was 14.
She took to drink and drugs and casual sex, scraped through school and university and failed to hold down any job for long, the court heard.
She also made several suicide attempts, once using the same knife she killed Mugnier with to slash her wrists and thighs.
Davies looked relaxed after the sentence was given, appearing to joke with her police minders.
She had told the court earlier: "I want to express the extent of my remorse. I take responsibility and accept the consequences of what I did."
She earlier told the court in Versailles she had blacked out and had no recollection of the killing except "the sensation of the knife going in".
"I do not even dare ask forgiveness from Olivier's family," she said Tuesday, the second and last day of her trial. "What I did terrifies me... I can guarantee that I will never again touch a drop of alcohol."
She told the court Monday that she remembered telling the police who arrived at the murder scene "that I was a monster".
She said she no longer remembered making a statement the day of the murder in her flat in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in which she said: "I just wanted to cut him a little but the knife went in by itself."
The blood-stained kitchen knife with a six-inch blade that killed Mugnier was passed round for inspection by the three judges and the five women and four men of the jury.
Davies said she had begun the weekend that Mugnier died by sleeping with an ex-boyfriend on the Friday night.
She spent most of the Saturday drinking in a series of bars with friends before going alone to O'Sullivan's Irish pub near her home, where she met and began flirting with Mugnier.
They had several drinks and when the bar closed decided to go to Davies's place.
"I opened a bottle of wine. He rolled a joint... We started undressing, making love," she told the court.
"He couldn't have a proper erection -- but that was understandable given how much we'd drunk. We stopped making love. He took off the condom," said Davies.
The next thing she knew, Mugnier was lying bleeding from the neck on the bed, and she was trying to stem the blood with one hand and calling emergency services with the other.
Mugnier succumbed to two knife wounds, one of which proved fatal after it went right through his body and touched his spine.
AFP / Expatica