Trintignant murder trial prosecutorasks nine-year sentence for Cantat

18th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

VILNIUS, March 18 (AFP) - Lithuanian prosecutors on Thursday called for a nine-year jail sentence for French singer Bertrand Cantat, accused of murdering his actress lover Marie Trintignant, who died after the two had a violent row.

VILNIUS, March 18 (AFP) - Lithuanian prosecutors on Thursday called for a nine-year jail sentence for French singer Bertrand Cantat, accused of murdering his actress lover Marie Trintignant, who died after the two had a violent row.

Prosecutor Vladimiras Serguejevas said the 40-year-old Cantat was "fully aware of his actions, and he could not have been unaware of the gravity of the situation."

Cantat, the lead singer of French group Noir Desir, is accused of causing Trintignant's death by beating her during a dispute in their Vilnius hotel room in July, in a case that has shocked and riveted France.

Trintignant, daughter of veteran French movie star Jean-Louis Trintignant, died in Paris on August 1 of swelling to the brain, nearly a week after the violent row.

French medical experts said she had been struck in the face and repeatedly shaken, which left her in a coma, but Cantat has said he only slapped her with his palm or the back of his hand, and that she later fell and hit her head.

The 41-year-old actress was in the Lithuanian capital to shoot a television film about the French writer Colette, directed by her mother Nadine.

In emotional testimony on Tuesday, a tearful Cantat said Trintignant "did not die out of hatred", professing his love for the actress and saying their 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," he told the court.

Before the three-judge panel in Vilnius, Serguejevas acknowledged that Cantat has expressed sincere regret and that his version of events was credible.

But Trintignant's mother, her voice cracking with emotion, countered: "I don't at all believe in the regret expressed by Bertrand Cantat."

"The two children of this man, apparently such a good father, have become the children of a murderer through his offense. However, they will see their father again," she told the court, prompting Cantat's eyes to well with tears.

"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.

"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," Nadine Trintignant said.

Cantat could have faced a maximum penalty of 15 years if found guilty.

His attorneys are trying to show that he committed a "crime of passion", sparked by Trintignant's own violent behavior. If the judges rule that such a crime occurred, the French singer could face six years in prison.

But Sergeujevas dismissed that defense, saying: "I think the accused could totally understand what he was doing."

The prosecutor also said Cantat did not have any history of psychiatric problems.

The hearing was to resume at 1:30 pm (1130 GMT) with closing arguments from Cantat's attorneys.

The Vilnius court could render its verdict later Thursday or choose to deliberate and deliver its ruling at a later date.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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