French paedophilia trial muddle deepensas defendant reiterates gang accusations

25th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-OMER, France, May 24 (AFP) - A major child sex trial in France descended into confusion Monday after one of the main defendants repeated accusations against her co-accused, whom she had exonerated in a tearful confession last week.

SAINT-OMER, France, May 24 (AFP) - A major child sex trial in France descended into confusion Monday after one of the main defendants repeated accusations against her co-accused, whom she had exonerated in a tearful confession last week.

Myriam Delay, the woman at the centre of what was thought to be a child prostitution ring in the northern town of Outreau, said the initial allegations that her children had been raped by several of her neighbours were true.

"My children did not lie. I was there and I saw it all. It is not me who has destroyed the life of those who are accused here. It is they who have destroyed the life of my children," she said.

In a dramatic courtrom upset last Tuesday Delay said that her accusations - which weigh against 13 people, seven of whom are in jail - were lies.

Another woman also admitted she had made up testimony to incriminate others.

Delay also repeated the claim Monday that her husband had murdered a young Moroccan girl, though no body has ever been found and another of the co-accused has admitted he made the story up for the news media.

There was no reaction in the courtroom because journalists and the public were kept in a separate room from where the trial was taking place, able to watch proceedings on a video screen.

Delay, her husband Thierry and 15 others went on trial two weeks ago for the gang rape over a five-year period of 18 children - aged three to 12 at the time - in a case that shocked the nation.

Some of the defendants, aged 24 to 67, were also charged with committing torture and barbaric acts during the alleged sex sessions that took place in the Delay apartment in a rundown housing block in Outreau.

One of the accused committed suicide in prison before the case came to trial. The others include a priest, a taxi-driver, a baker and a bailiff. Many have lost their jobs and their children have been taken into foster care.

The presiding judge caused outrage among the defendants' lawyers when he refused to release the seven who are in jail from custody last week, despite the retraction of Delay's evidence.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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