Published: 13 Sep 2012 15:19 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 13 Sep 2012 15:19 GMT+02:00
A French prosecutor on Thursday demanded that the man accused of the murder of a Swedish student in Paris be sentenced to life in prison with a stipulation that he serves a minimum of 22 years behind bars.
Bruno Cholet, 55, denies the 2008 murder of Susanna Zetterberg, 19. The verdict in his trial is due to be delivered on Friday.
In final summing up on Thursday, prosecutor Jean-Paul Content requested the toughest possible sentence for Cholet, who has previous convictions for three rapes and an armed robbery.
"The interest of society is to ensure that he cannot repeat this abominable crime," Content told the court. "The evidence of his guilt is overwhelming."
Cholet denied having murdered the language student after picking her up in his illegal taxi outside a Paris nightclub in the early hours of April 19, 2008.
Her body was recovered later the same day in Chantilly forest north of the capital. She had been shot four times in the head, had her hands tied behind her back with handcuffs and her corpse was so badly burnt police were unable to establish whether she had been sexually assaulted.
Zetterberg's mother, Åsa Palmqvist, told the court that nothing would take away the pain of not knowing what happened to her daughter in the final hours of her life.
"The hardest thing is not knowing what happened to her before she died," Åsa Palmqvist said through an interpreter.
"No judgement can change that," she said. "Sanna is my child. She will not come back. Sanna is our daughter, the sister of Samuel and we love her."
Zetterberg's father, Karl Zetterberg, said: "For reasons that you will understand, I would have preferred not to have come here. But now that I am here, I feel sure that justice will be done.
"The solid work of the police during the investigation and everything that I have seen and heard in court has convinced me that the person responsible for the death of my daughter will have to account for his actions."
Asked by judge Xavière Simeoni if he wanted to say anything to the accused, Karl Zetterberg turned towards the dock but replied: "No, your honour, I don't think so."
The prosecution case rests on evidence that the DNA of both Cholet and the victim were found on a gun recovered from his car.
Cholet claims the police fabricated the evidence in a bid to frame him after he refused to become an informer.
A psychiatrist who testified earlier in the trial described the 55-year-old as having a "psychopathic" personality that was unlikely to be reformed by specialist treatment.
The historic Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes in south west France was evacuated on Tuesday after flash floods hit the area. Management at the shrine have told The Local they are growing increasingly concerned as waters continue to rise. READ () »
As a provocative new anti-smacking video campaign by the Fondation pour l'Enfance (Foundation for Childhood) causes a stir in France, the man behind the drive Dr. Gilles Lazimi tells The Local why France needs a law banning parents from smacking their kids. READ () »
French football stars Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, went on trial on Tuesday, accused of paying to have sex with then underage call-girl Zahia Dehar. The process was adjourned until January, however, on a legal technicality. READ () »
The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated by police on Tuesday after a man threatened to throw himself off the famous monument. Reports suggest, however, that emergency services personnel have succeeded in apprehending the man. READ () »
These words are not the latest outburst by notorious French basher, London's Mayor Boris Johnson, but were the opinion of Britain’s Napoleonic War hero Admiral Lord Nelson, whose outspoken views were revealed in a letter, auctioned in London this week. READ () »
A pregnant Muslim woman who was allegedly attacked in the suburbs of Paris by two ‘skinheads’ for wearing an Islamic face veil has suffered a miscarriage, it was reported on Tuesday. READ () »
A court in north-eastern France on Tuesday sentenced to jail an impersonator to French music icon Serge Gainsbourg for stabbing a rival tribute act for French rock star Johnny Hallyday, amid a bizarre feud between the pair. READ () »
France has more inmates behind bars than ever before, it was revealed this week, prompting hundreds of prison guards to assemble in front of more than 100 jails on Tuesday, in protest against over-crowding and safety concerns. READ () »
Much of the west and south west of France remained on alert on Tuesday with storms and heavy rain expected to hit the region, just a day after hailstorms wreaked havoc for wine growers in one part of the country. READ () »
France angrily hit back on Monday at accusations that its bid to protect Europe's film and television industries from Hollywood dominance was "reactionary". READ () »