• France's news in English

France tries to collect €10k from fatherless girl

Sophie Inge · 31 Oct 2014, 12:11

Published: 31 Oct 2014 12:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The girl’s father, Stéphane Herault, who worked as a fisherman, died in 2013 while trying to save a colleague who had fallen into the sea during a stopover.

As a result his now 13-year-old daughter Océane was entitled to €5000 as well as an “orphan’s pension” of €500 per month from the National Institution for Disabled Marines (ENIM).

However, in a bizarre bureaucratic twist, the teenager received a letter last week telling her that she had just 15 days to pay back the €10,000 she has so far received.

The order was made following an appeal by the ship owner who said that Océane was not entitled to the money because high levels of alcohol had been discovered in Hérault’s system in an autopsy carried out the day after the accident. 

“If we had known in the beginning that Stéphane Hérault was drunk during the incident, we would never have agreed to this allowance for his daughter,” he said, according to Le Figaro.

Reacting to the news, the girl’s mother Karine Béranger said: “It’s awful, this premium. It’s the only thing that she got from her father, who only left her debts.”

“Sure, the accident happened in his free time, but if he wasn’t a sea fisherman, he would never have been on board the boat. That seems obvious to me,” she said.

Béranger added that most of the money had been put in a bank account for Océane’s future studies.

“The rest helps her to pay for recreational activities, to improve her ordinary life a bit, which I can’t afford to do with my salary,” she said.

Story continues below…

Béranger has now lodged an appeal with a Social Court.

For now ENIM has stopped demands for the girl to repay the money but has suspended the payments pending the court’s decision.

Meanwhile, Océane continues to receive another allowance of just €100 per month. 

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available