The pediment of a courthouse.
SICCOLI PATRICK / SIPA
The Assize Court of Aude on Friday sentenced Maurice Patrac to twenty-seven years of criminal imprisonment for the murder in July 2017 of his companion Natacha, to whom he subjected "endless agony" after years of sway and “domestic hell”.
The general counsel, Florence Galtier, had requested life imprisonment against this 38-year-old father, "a real danger to society".
His nephew Steven Patrac, tried for "voluntary abstention from preventing a crime", was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, two of which were suspended but without a committal warrant.
Sentences deemed "satisfactory" by one of the lawyers for the civil parties, Me Franck Alberti.
Maurice Patrac's lawyer, Me David Lanes had pleaded for the reclassification of the murder as "manslaughter" and Steven's lawyer, Me Victor Font, had asked for an acquittal.
Natacha, in a relationship with Maurice Patrac for eighteen years and mother of six children, including four with him - all placed at the time of the facts - lived "a domestic hell for years, a situation of control and dependence" , said Florence Galtier.
Against a background of chronic alcoholism and social misery, the accused was described during the trial as plagued by "paranoid jealousy".
He had already been convicted of domestic violence and violence on a minor under 15, his partner's daughter.
Beaten to death
The day before the murder, July 20, 2017, Natacha had gone out to buy medicine.
Not seeing her return, Maurice Patrac becomes enraged against that which he considers as “his object”, according to the general counsel, launching in search of her, led by Steven, with the companion, minor, of the latter.
He finds her near Carcassonne shortly before midnight, takes her in the car and drives her to a field to hit her.
Back at home in Alzonne (Aude), he continues to beat her to death.
Maurice Patrac will be arrested in the morning at his home by the gendarmes, alerted by his sister.
"After endless agony", this 38-year-old mother "died in a pool of blood", killed with stones and "with a studded baton worthy of the Middle Ages", launched the general counsel , emphasizing in Maurice Patrac "not only the will to kill, but that to cause suffering".
This murder is, according to the prosecution, "the climax of something that has lasted for years".
For lawyer David Lanes, the accused's intention was "to scare, to correct, not to kill".
"Wanting to make this trial an example is to say that Maurice Patrac had all the tools" to avoid reaching that point, he said, recalling the "family conditioning which makes it what it is today" , alcoholic parents, violent father.
Since the start of the year, at least 47 feminicides have occurred.
In 2019, 146 women were killed by their spouse or ex, 25 more than in 2018, according to the latest official figures.
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