• Suspended prison sentences of 18 and 24 months were requested on Friday at the trial of two former mayors of Lamalou-les-Bains, tried before the criminal court of Béziers for homicides and involuntary injuries after the floods of 2014.

  • In 2014, a violent flood of the Bitoulet river caused the death of a couple, as well as a woman and her daughter, who were staying at the municipal campsite.

  • The two former elected officials rejected each other's responsibilities during the trial.

Suspended prison sentences of 18 and 24 months were requested on Friday at the trial of two former mayors of Lamalou-les-Bains (Hérault), tried before the Béziers criminal court for homicides and involuntary injuries, eight years after floods which left four dead and eleven injured.

On the night of September 17 to 18, 2014, a violent flood of the Bitoulet river, a tributary of the Orb, caused the death of a couple, as well as a woman and her daughter, who were staying at the municipal campsite. of this spa.

Installed in 1982, this campsite, which overhangs the river by about three meters, was partly located in a declared flood zone.

It was the rupture of an ice jam, a natural dam, which had caused a wave and suddenly flooded the site, according to experts.

The two ex-elected have rejected the responsibilities

Marcel Roques, 73, mayor of Lamalou from 1983 to March 2014, had left office six months before the disaster, as he recalled at the start of his trial on Wednesday before the Béziers criminal court.

Three "faults" can however be reproached to him, estimated Friday the vice-prosecutor: "to have refrained from implementing the security of the campsite", "not to have implemented the conditions of the Communal Safeguard Plan (PCS) by not cleaning the Bitoulet upstream of the campsite” and “having had the campsite downgraded in 1992, when it had been (in a flood zone) since 1982”.

"For me, these are the most serious faults," said the representative of the public prosecutor's office, requesting a two-year suspended prison sentence.

His successor, Philippe Tailland, 73, the deputy prosecutor criticized for not having implemented the security of the campsite, for "not having given the order to evacuate" the same evening or for having " extended the opening date" until the fall, a season during which thunderstorms are frequent in this region.

He asked for an 18-month suspended prison sentence against him.

On Wednesday, he explained that he had found, when he took office, a town hall where "there were no longer any telephones or computers" and that he had therefore "not seen in the [risks] flooding an immediate priority".

For the deputy prosecutor, the two former elected officials, who rejected responsibility, "did not register in the long term of the prevention of natural risks" and "did not take into account the events of the past, in particular two evacuations from the campsite in 1992 and 1996 for breaking an ice jam”.

After the defense arguments on Friday, the judgment should be reserved at a later date.

Justice

Béziers: Two former mayors of Lamalou-les-Bains tried in correctional after the deadly floods of 2014

Justice

Deadly floods in Lamalou-les-Bains: Six years later, two former mayors sent back to correctional

  • Justice

  • Flood

  • Mayor

  • Occitania

  • Languedoc Roussillon

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