Frenchman gets 25-year jail term for killing wife, burning body

In this file photo taken on November 2, 2017 Jonathann Daval (L), the husband of slain Alexia Daval, arrives with his wife's father Jean-Pierre Fouillot (C) and mother Isabelle Fouillot (R), to hold a press conference at the Town Hall in Gray, eastern France. (AFP)
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Updated 22 November 2020

Frenchman gets 25-year jail term for killing wife, burning body

  • The crime deeply shocked France, and nearly 10,000 people turned out in the couple’s quiet town for a silent march in her memory

VESOUL, FRANCE: A French court Saturday sentenced Jonathann Daval to 25 years in prison for killing his wife and then burning her body, in a case that shocked the country.
The 36-year-old Frenchman was impassive as the verdict was read out. He turned to look at members of his own family who were present.
Earlier, he had said “Sorry, Sorry” in the dock, looking toward his wife’s parents.
Daval finally confessed to beating his wife to death and burning her body in the woods after initially reporting her missing.
The charred remains of Alexia Daval were found hidden under branches near their town of Gray-la-Ville in eastern France in October 2017.
Daval initially said Alexia, a 29-year-old bank employee, had gone jogging and never came back.
Jean-Pierre Fouillot, Alexia’s father, passed an arm around the shoulders of his wife Isabelle as the court’s decision was delivered.
A few minutes later the mother, Isabelle Fouillot, went out to talk to reporters, as she had done throughout the trial.
“It is a very good decision, exactly what I hoped, at the height of our suffering. That will allow us to turn a page,” she said.

Defense lawyer Ornella Spatafora swiftly indicated that there would be no appeal against the sentence.
Outside the courthouse dozens of people were pressed against the barriers blocking access to it.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence calling the 2017 murder “an almost perfect conjugal crime.”
After his wife’s death, Duval had cut a distraught figure, appearing in tears at a press conference with his in-laws and leading one of several events organized countrywide in her memory.
Three months later, prosecutors said the IT worker confessed to the murder — admitting he had beaten his wife in a heated argument, knocking her face against a concrete wall, and strangling her.
He initially denied setting fire to her body, but finally admitted to that too, in June last year.
Daval changed his story several times, at one point withdrawing his confession, blaming his brother-in-law, and finally admitting to everything all over again.
On Monday, when asked by the judge whether he admitted to “being the only person implicated in the death” of his wife, Daval replied “yes,” appearing close to tears.
The crime deeply shocked France, and nearly 10,000 people turned out in the couple’s quiet town for a silent march in her memory.
The murder highlighted the scourge of violence against women at the height of the global #MeToo campaign against sexual abuse and harassment of women.
On Monday, French authorities said 125,840 women were victims of domestic violence in 2019. Another 146 were murdered by their partner or ex-partner — 25 more than the previous year.


Japan pauses domestic travel push in two cities as COVID-19 spreads

Updated 24 November 2020

Japan pauses domestic travel push in two cities as COVID-19 spreads

  • Critics of the program had said it risked spreading the infection from major cities to the countryside

TOKYO: Japan paused its domestic “Go To Travel” promotion campaign in two cities following sharp rises in COVID-19 infections, a government minister said on Tuesday, a blow to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s plan to help prop up regional economies.
Critics of the program had said it risked spreading the infection from major cities to the countryside.
“We have agreed to temporarily exclude trips destined for the cities of Sapporo and Hokkaido from the travel campaign,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Tuesday.
“Although we have tried to balance both economic revitalization as well as virus containment, we have made this decision at the local governors’ request,” Nishimura told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Suga and Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba.
Akaba said the two cities would initially be excluded until Dec. 15, during which time no new reservations could be made under the program, which offers discounts on fares and hotels.
Suga said on Saturday the government would suspend new reservations under the program for trips to hard-hit areas.
The western city of Osaka reported 171 new cases on Monday after seeing a record 286 cases the previous day, a city official said.
Sapporo in the north reported 140 daily cases on Monday, below a record 197 cases reported on Thursday last week, a city official said.
The capital of Tokyo has seen new daily infections soar past 500 and serious cases reached 51 on Tuesday, the most since a state of emergency was lifted in May.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters that there was a rise in infections among older residents, including cases where people had contracted the virus while eating out and brought it home to their relatives.