Ex-France rugby captain admits shootingdead wife at BBQ party

10th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Aug 9 (AFP) - French prosecutors on Monday launched a preliminary inquiry for premeditated murder after former French international rugby captain Marc Cecillon admitted to shooting his wife dead in a drunken rage at a party.

LYON, France, Aug 9 (AFP) - French prosecutors on Monday launched a preliminary inquiry for premeditated murder after former French international rugby captain Marc Cecillon admitted to shooting his wife dead in a drunken rage at a party.  

Cecillon, 45, told investigators he had fired five shots from his .357 Magnum at his 44-year-old wife Chantal late Saturday while 60 witnesses looked on in horror, deputy prosecutor Gilles Proisy-Le Cocq told reporters.  

The woman died of wounds to the head and throat at the scene in Saint-Savin, located southeast of the central-eastern city of Lyon.  

Cecillon, who was capped 46 times from 1988-95 and was a five-time captain of the French rugby team, was drunk at the time of the shooting and did not fully realize his wife was dead until he woke up in jail early Sunday, police said.  

The former rugby player was expected to be placed under formal investigation - a first step toward facing formal criminal charges - later Monday. He could face life in prison if tried and convicted of premeditated murder.  

According to witnesses, Cecillon had been quite drunk at the party and was asked to leave after slapping the hostess. He returned a half hour later saying he wanted to bid everyone goodbye but then pulled out a gun and shot his wife.  

Police said the couple had quarrelled earlier in the evening.   

"They hadn't spoken to each other all night. They had been at odds for quite a while," explained Lise Alarcon, 20, one of the party guests.   She said several people at the party managed to subdue Cecillon before police arrived.  

"He kept struggling, he was looking for his wife. We told him, 'You killed her' but he said, 'That's impossible. I love her'," Alarcon said.  

Police said Cecillon and his wife, who was a medical secretary, had a "difficult marital past" but Pierre Martinet, president of the Bourgoin-Jallieu rugby club where Cecillon played, said he had never noticed any major problems.  

"I have known Marc for 12 years. I often saw him with his wife, the mother of his two daughters, and she was very proud of him," Martinet told AFP.  

"I never noticed any problems between them and I certainly never saw him drunk, but it is clear that a lack of activity led to Marc drinking a lot on occasions," he added.  

Best known as a rampaging flanker, Cecillon played for Bourgoin for 23 years before finally retiring in 1999. He had returned to the club to serve as general manager.  

A local sports journalist said he was known during his playing days as the one who "partied for more than just the third-half" - a reference to the post match entertainment which traditionally starts in the clubhouse bar.  

Only Cecillon's father was able to calm him down and stop him from regularly going to nightclubs, the source said.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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