Batch. A 3-year-old child has drowned in the Cell River, the father has been tried for murder

Cahors Courthouse. (GuidoRude)

Thursday, June 16, 2022, a 49-year-old manValentine (first name changed), works in entertainment near Toulouse, Cahors Criminal CourtCharged for Homicide »; Her daughter, aged exactly 2 years 11 months, drowned Le Cell RiverWednesday, March 4, 2020, while in his custody.

When the incident happened, the child was left alone on the ground floor of the house for about an hour in front of a screen broadcasting a cartoon show. At this time, the father would take up space on the second floor, to arrange the children’s linen; He assured us that he had heard from the open stairs, what was happening below. However, Valentine forgot to lock the front door … As the hearing progressed, the circumstances of this tragedy became clearer, the picture became darker than bright.

In this way we know that Valentine himself drank and he also took drugs. The mother of the youngest, separated from her father at the time of the incident, came up with a civic arrangement; He began the process of reducing his father’s custody.

Valentine’s statement at the beginning of the hearing : “I’m so sorry, I’m still in this drama! A

A small house by the river

Valentine lives in an old house, on two floors, near the backwaters of the river Célé; There is no fence restricting access to the stream …

After their separation, the parents chose alternative accommodation. However, in 2019, the year before the date of the tragedy, condemning his ex-wife’s drinking which he realized when his ex-partner brought the little one back, the mother took action with the justice system, aimed at limiting the right option to the father’s residence. Early in the morning, a social investigator met with the father, and at the end of his visit, he stated that the situation was favorable for him… which would lead to Valentine “decompressing” … in a funny way.

The president of the court goes through the various elements of the case with a fine-toothed comb; “We need to understand how things happened ! A He said.

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It turns out that the front door of the house is usually double locked and the key is hung on a hook so that the child cannot get there. Dad knew the little one knew the process of opening the door. However, the key was locked that day …

It was perpetuated by the child’s various inventions, that it was of a lively nature, nicknamed “Wildfire”; “A baby that should look like milk in a fire” One lady says she took care of him.

After Siesta, sometime after 3 p.m., Valentin said he played with his daughter for a few moments before settling in at the bottom of the house (at the entrance door level), in front of a cartoon show. Duration of about one hour. At this point, he hints that he’s back upstairs to sort the laundry stored in the big bag. “These were really a lot and I had to sort by age.” Valentine says. He also maintained that the configuration of the premises allowed him to ensure the maintenance of the little one. Valentin admits he had a few beers after the social investigator left. One, two, three… maybe a total of five, but he doesn’t remember much!

When Valentin realized that the child was missing, he took the car, thinking that he could follow the path connecting the house to the village. Unable to find him, he returns home and wanders around the house until he finds the little one … drowning in the dead hand level of the river. At 3:18 p.m., he alerted the emergency services, firefighters and Samu and did a cardiac massage on their advice, in vain … the baby died.

Alcohol and marijuana

At the time of the tragedy, the level of alcohol presented by Valentine, recorded by Gendarmes, was 1.15 g / liter of blood. In addition, Valentine tested positive for marijuana. He indicated that his cannabis use had returned to the weekend. “Everyone knows that alcohol and drug addiction increase attention loss.” Observes the President. “No, I felt good ! A Replies to Valentine.

Investigators noted that Valentine consulted with the “alcool-info-service.fr” website at 3:49 p.m. “It was just to see how the effects of alcohol were measured.” The accused said.

The cartoon sequence will end at 4:54 pm. “Why didn’t you react then? ? A Asks the President.

– “I didn’t understand, because I was listening to some music on my cell phone ! A Valentine answers. How can you hear what’s going on downstairs while listening to music? “My big mistake is the forgotten key to the door.” Repeats Valentine like a latemotif.

The computer that was watching the cartoons got stuck on standby at 5:01 p.m. The President noticed that the child was alone for about an hour.

At 5:18 p.m., Valentin called the emergency services.

Is there homicide?

According to Article 221-6 of the Penal Code, manslaughter is defined as “the act of manslaughter, negligence, carelessness, negligence or violation of the protection or discretionary obligation imposed by law or regulation, the death of another. Did Valentine fail in his duty of custody? Is it a serious offense to be left alone for about an hour? The same question applies to alcohol and marijuana, can it be held against Valentine?

Mr Laurent Bello wants to “wake up” the accused

The former chairman intervened as a representative of the mother of the deceased child, “a mother who wants to know what happened”. The lawyer thinks that the accused did not answer the question. In three sentences, Mr. Bello describes his diagnosis, in a melody that is growing, to end Fortisimo: “As you yourself have said : You were under pressure before the Social Investigator came … you started a cartoon movie and went back upstairs … And you fell asleep !!! A The lawyer reminded the defendant that this was what he had declared to investigators during the first hearing, before later mentioning that he used the word “sleep” in a metaphorical sense, in the second instance “that he dragged” his laundry sorting … “Mr. Belu He did not believe a word of it and concluded: “You did not save this child ! A. He took the point home: “Folding the laundry for 3/4 hours – an hour, it’s incredible … No, you just fell asleep and when you woke up, you started looking for the little one … but then it was too late!” The child’s mother does not want any money for compensation, not even the lawyer’s fee, only the symbolic euro and her civil action in support of the public prosecutor’s case!

M.Me It is also difficult for the substitute prosecutor to understand that the “only mistake” made by the defendant was that he forgot the key to the door. He blamed Valentine, who was in 2011, for “domestic violence under the influence of drugs”. He quickly raised his voice: “You knowingly got drunk and you ate marijuana, the day before or a few hours before, you have to maintain your responsibility as the indirect writer of this play, in the sense that you don’t.There was nothing that you did to cause it. “. The magistrate restrained the child from using alcohol and marijuana in violation of his or her obligation to care. “You knew you had to see your daughter and yet you left her alone ! A He goes on to consider that the defendant’s behavior contributed to the creation of conditions for damages. “You have not taken all the measures that would make it possible to avoid tragedy ! A She yells at Valentine. She asks him to plead guilty to murder. He faces up to 2 years in prison, including one year of suspended probation, two years, with the obligation of care!

It was difficult for me to turn the tide of Christophe Bernabeu, after such a formal attack on the accused, as his behavior. Valentine’s lawyer, however, tries to emphasize the dimensions of his client’s “free will.” “We ask the court to condemn a father who mourns the loss of his daughter. ! A He shouted, “What the baby’s mother has confessed, Valentine.” Was a loving father “. He recalls that he did everything he could to keep his daughter alive, practicing cardiac massage for about 30 minutes … Mr Bernabeu believes that no criminal charges can be laid against his client! “The law does not prohibit drinking at home ! A He observes. The lawyer further pointed out that no one can be safe from a child waking up at night and being able to hurt themselves, even committing suicide indoors or out, without being able to hold the parents accountable. In his view, his client’s criminal liability could not be involved: “She’s a victim of her child’s death, just like her ex-partner.” He said. Considering there is “While custody can be released and there is no direct cause for the child’s death, there is no obvious guilt …”, He asked the court to release him.

Judgment has been reserved and will be delivered on September 8, 2022

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