Defendant admits killing lord but denies plot

25th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

NICE, France, May 25, 2007 (AFP) - The suspected murderer of an English lord admitted responsibility for his death Friday, but Mohamed M'Barek told a court in southern France that he struck the Earl of Shaftesbury, his brother-in-law, in a fit of anger and there was no plot to kill him.

NICE, France, May 25, 2007 (AFP) - The suspected murderer of an English lord admitted responsibility for his death Friday, but Mohamed M'Barek told a court in southern France that he struck the Earl of Shaftesbury, his brother-in-law,  in a fit of anger and there was no plot to kill him.

"I am the only person responsible. There was no conspiracy. There was no contract. My sister is innocent," M'Barek said on the last day of their trial in Nice.

Prosecutors accuse M'Barek, 43, and his sister Jamila, 45, of conspiring to murder her aristocrat husband out of fear that an impending divorce would threaten her inheritance.

The 66-year-old earl's decomposing body was found in April 2005 on a patch of wasteland on the Riviera, five months after he disappeared from his home in Cannes. Forensic tests showed he had been strangled.

But M'Barek told the court the death was an accident.

"I did not strangle him. I punched him, he fell over and he died of a heart attack," he said.

The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury -- also known as Anthony Ashley-Copper -- had willed to Jamila a large part of his multi-million dollar estate, but in 2004 their marriage had broken down and he was seeing another woman.

Prosecutors allege that in November 2004 Jamila set up a meeting with her estranged husband, who was then murdered by Mohamed.

The defence and prosecution were to conclude their summing-up Friday, with a verdict due in the evening.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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