French villager jailed for hosepipe murder
A 40-year-old French villager was handed a 20-year jail sentence on Friday for murdering a student in a fit of anger after she sprayed him with a garden hose.Strasbourg - A 40-year-old French villager was handed a 20-year jail sentence on Friday for murdering a student in a fit of anger after she sprayed him with a garden hose.
Salvatore Cucchiara was convicted of stabbing 20-year-old Frederique Schnoering 47 times after she came to water his neighbour's garden in the village of Offendorf in France's eastern Alsace region in June 2006.
Heard initially as a witness, the unemployed father of four was taken into custody a month after the killing, when investigators found his DNA under the victim's fingernails.
He made two statements admitting to the murder, but later retracted his confession saying it was made under police pressure.
His voice thick with tears, the defendant, who has attempted suicide in detention several times, insisted that he was innocent as the jury headed into deliberations.
Cucchiara appeared stunned as the verdict was read out and his lawyer said he planned to appeal.
He initially told investigators he took the young sociology student to be his neighbour's daughter, with whom he had an ongoing feud, and that he saw red after she sprayed him twice over the garden hedge.
Furious, he burst into the house's kitchen and punched her violently in the face and grabbed hold of her throat, before he "freaked out" and stabbed her repeatedly with a pen-knife, he told investigators.