French rock star Cantat jailed eight yearsfor murdering actress lover Marie Trintignant

29th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

VILNIUS, March 29 (AFP) - A Lithuanian court on Monday sentenced French rock singer Bertrand Cantat to eight years in prison for fatally beating his actress girlfriend Marie Trintignant, in a case that has riveted France for months.

VILNIUS, March 29 (AFP) - A Lithuanian court on Monday sentenced French rock singer Bertrand Cantat to eight years in prison for fatally beating his actress girlfriend Marie Trintignant, in a case that has riveted France for months.

Cantat, the 40-year-old lead singer of the group Noir Desir, remained stony-faced as the three-judge panel found him guilty of causing the death of Trintignant, 41, during a violent fight in their Vilnius hotel room last July.Trintignant died nearly a week later on August 1 of swelling to the brain.

"According to the judges' opinion, the guilt of the accused is indisputable," the presiding judge said, noting, however, that Cantat "did not want the consequences" of his acts.

When asked if he understood the ruling, the French musician nodded and replied, "Yes".

Cantat's attorney Olivier Metzner said an appeal of the murder conviction - which could have seen the singer jailed for up to 15 years - was likely.

"We're waiting to see a copy of the ruling, which we will have in a few days, and we'll make an announcement at that time. A priori, obviously, we will appeal this decision," Metzner told reporters.

"The court recognized that Bertrand Cantat did not want Marie Trintignant to die. But the court did not follow its line of reasoning through to the end, and handed down a sentence that seems totally excessive to me," he said.

Prosecutors had asked the Vilnius court to send Cantat to prison for nine years, while his attorneys argued that the charges be reduced from murder to reckless manslaughter, which carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Trintignant - the daughter of veteran French film star Jean-Louis Trintignant - had been in Vilnius to shoot a television movie about the French writer Colette, directed by her mother Nadine.

Cantat testified that he had slapped Trintignant hard four times in their hotel room when a row, sparked by jealousy, spun horribly out of control.

"Marie was out of control. I was out of control. I should have left... I was beside myself," a tearful Cantat told the court on March 16, insisting that Trintignant "did not die out of hatred".

An autopsy concluded that the actress died from the blows.

The trial ended last Monday with Cantat making a final emotional plea for forgiveness from Trintignant's family.

"I know that I can do nothing. I know that I can only ask forgiveness as I have done since the beginning - to ask for forgiveness from the depths of my heart," he told the court.

But Nadine Trintignant, who wrote a book in which she called Cantat a "murderer", categorically rejected the singer's expressions of regret.

"Roman, 17, will never see his mother again. Paul, 12, will never see his mother again either. Leon, 8, will never see his mother again. Jules, 6, will never see his mother again," she said of her daughter's four sons, none of whom were fathered by Cantat.

"For us, the pain will last for the rest of our lives, it will never leave us. Marie will never see anything again - the seasons, her children, nothing," she told the court during the trial.

On Monday, Nadine Trintignant, accompanied by her son Vincent and Marie's son Roman Kolinka, left the courtroom without commenting to the press.

Later, her attorney Georges Kiejman told AFP that she thought the ruling was "fair", adding that she had no intention of appealing the decision, unless Cantat chose to do so.

After making her debut at the tender age of four, Marie Trintignant starred in more than 30 French-language films and enjoyed a healthy career on the French stage. She earned five nominations for the Cesar award, France's Oscar, but never won one.

© AFP

                                         Subject: French News

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