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French rock star killer makes comeback gaffe

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Bertrand Cantat is escorted into court by Lithuanian police in July 2003. He was late found guilty of beating to death his girlfriend, actor Marie Trintignant. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP
09:45 CEST+02:00
Bertrand Cantat, a French rocker who beat his girlfriend to death in 2004, planned to release his comeback album on November 25, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. He has since been forced to change the release date.

It was the day that was supposed to mark Bertrand Cantat's comeback, years after the rocker killed his famous actress girlfriend in an incident that shocked France.

But producers of his new band Detroit were forced to bring forward the launch of their album after they realized the date initially chosen – November 25th – is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

"In order not to stoke controversy and to stay within a strictly musical context, Olivier Caillart (head of the band's record label Barclay) has decided to bring forward the launch of Detroit's album 'Horizons' to November 18," the label said in a statement.

The former frontman of top French rock group Noir Desir – which officially disbanded in 2010 – was sentenced to eight years in jail in 2004 for the murder of Marie Trintignant, a famous French actress.

Trintignant suffered severe brain damage after the pair had a fight in a hotel in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, and later died of her injuries.

Cantat was released on parole in 2007.

Since then, he has very gradually returned to music, though always as a guest of other singers on stage or in albums.

On Monday, Barclay had announced that the much-anticipated launch of the album of Cantat's new band Detroit would take place on November 25th.

But the Twittersphere was quick to point out that the date coincided with the United Nations' global day to raise awareness about violence against women.

According to reports, Cantat beat Trintignant to death during an argument over a text message in a hotel room in Lithuania. He apparently waited hours before raising the alarm and Trintignant died several days later in hospital in a coma.

During the trial, Cantat originally insisted that her fatal head injuries were caused when she hit her head on a radiator but was eventually convicted by a Lithuanian court of murder with indirect intent.

After being freed, the rocker was then banned from speaking publically about the case as well as from publishing any related work or recording.

But, following guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay’s decision to leave the group due to “emotional, personal and musical disagreements”, the band finally split in November 2010. 

Whether his new solo album will prove to be a hit has yet to be seen, and, as the tenth anniversary of Trintignant’s murder approaches, Cantat can expect a backlash from feminist and anti-domestic violence groups.

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Trintignant's father is the veteran actor Jean-Louis Trintignant, who won the 2012 best actor gong at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in the Michael Haneke film Amour.

The actor has already expressed his outrage at Cantat's attempts to make a return to the music scene.

In 2011 he pulled out of  the Avignon theatre festival after hearing his daughter's murderer had been booked to play two gigs.

At the time he told Le Figaro: "Why can't people understand that there's something terrible in his way of coming back as if nothing has happened."

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