English lord's widow on trial for Riviera murder

22nd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

NICE, France, May 22, 2007 (AFP) - The widow and brother-in-law of an English lord whose decomposing body was found on the French Riviera went on trial here Tuesday accused of murdering him to get their hands on his fortune.

NICE, France, May 22, 2007 (AFP) - The widow and brother-in-law of an English lord whose decomposing body was found on the French Riviera went on trial here Tuesday accused of murdering him to get their hands on his fortune.

Jamila M'Barek, 45, appeared before the court in Nice charged with accessory to murder, alongside her brother, Mohammed M'Barek, 43, who is accused of murdering Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury.

A verdict is expected on Friday.

The body of the 66-year-old lord was found in a public dump in April 2005, five months after he vanished from his home in Cannes.

Prosecutors say M'Barek, a Dutch-Tunisian former nightclub hostess who married the lord in 2002, had feared an impending divorce would threaten her lifestyle as well as property inheritance rights and had therefore persuaded her elder brother Mohammed to strangle her husband.

Mohamed M'Barek -- who was extradited from Germany in 2005 -- initially denied involvement, but later told police he accidentally strangled the lord during an argument.

Educated at Eton and Oxford and a fluent French speaker, Ashley-Cooper inherited his title from his grandfather when he was 22 years old, along with the family seat at Wimborne, southwest England, and its 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) estate.

The British press put his fortune at seven million euros (8.6 million dollars)

Ashley-Cooper divided his time between Britain and the French Riviera where he led a colourful and largely nocturnal existence.

At the time of his death, he had been living apart from Djamila M'Barek -- who was his third wife -- and was seeing a nightclub waitress.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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