VILNIUS, March 22 (AFP) – A French rock singer accused of killing his actress girlfriend in a row in a Lithuanian hotel room Monday made a final plea for forgiveness as his murder trial drew to a close.
“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,” Bernard Cantat, 40, told the court in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
Prosecutors have called for a nine-year prison sentence for the musician, who leads the French group Noir Desir, saying he caused the death of French actress Marie Trintignant by beating her during the dispute last July.
Trintignant, the 41-year-old daughter of veteran French movie star Jean-Louis Trintignant, died in Paris on August 1 of swelling to the brain, nearly a week after their fight.
The Vilnius court said it would deliver its verdict in the case in one week.The trial has fascinated France, and filled the pages of magazines dedicated to telling one side of the story or the other. Two movies starring Trintignant have been released nationally since her death, keeping the story in the public gaze.
Trintignant’s mother Nadine has also fuelled interest by brusquely dismissing all of Cantat’s explanations and even labelling him the “murderer” of her daughter in a book she wrote.
“I want to tell you that I am fully aware of the seriousness of the consequences of this situation. I assume my responsibilities even if I never wanted that and that, in the moment just before these slaps, I didn’t know they were going to exist,” Cantat told the court, holding notes but not looking at them.
According to his testimony in the trial, he slapped Trintignant hard four times in the hotel room. An autopsy suggested she died from the blows.
Monday’s hearing was limited to Cantat’s final declaration before the verdict, as permitted under Lithuanian law, and lasted only 10 minutes.
“I don’t understand. I just can’t understand. We lived an extraordinary moment, I loved Marie with all my being. I loved her and I’ll always love her. I think of her each second and I’ll always think of her. I can’t erase her from my memory,” he said.
“I also think each second of Marie’s family, her children, because I love them … I know what sort of despair I’ve thrown them into … I hope that one day I will be heard,” he said before taking his seat.
Trintignant’s family members refused to make any comment as they left the court.
The actress had been in the Lithuanian capital to shoot a television film directed by her mother about the French writer Colette.
Nadine Trintignant during the trial remained implacable before Cantat’s implorings.
“I don’t at all believe in the regret expressed by Bertrand Cantat,” she said once, her voice cracking with emotion.
“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 said.
Marie Trintignant was the mother of four sons. She and Cantat did not have any children together. Both were married but separated from their respective spouses.
In their closing statements, Cantat’s lawyers abandoned their original defence that he committed a “crime of passion” and asked the court instead to reclassify the case as reckless manslaughter, rather than murder.
Subject: France news