Riviera murder: British pensioner gets 30 years

British pensioner Robert Dolby, described as a sex-obsessed narcissist with a Jekyll and Hyde personality, is sentenced to 30 years in jail for the murder of a widow at his home on the Riviera, and the rape of his young housemate.

Riviera murder: British pensioner gets 30 years
The French Riviera, where a British pensioner has been convicted for murder. Photo:AFP

A French court on Thursday sentenced a British pensioner to 30 years in jail for the 2010 murder of a widow he invited to dinner at his home on the Riviera, and the rape of his young housemate in 2012.

Robert Dolby, 74, was described as a sex-obsessed narcissist with a Jekyll and Hyde double personality during his trial this week in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

The former chef, who retired to the sun-soaked south of France in 2005, was in 1991 sentenced to four years in prison in the UK for sexually assaulting a colleague he invited to dinner.

He first drew the attention of French police in 2012 when he was accused of raping and attacking a partially blind woman named Cindy, who testified in his trial.

Cindy said she met what she believed to be a lonely, childless pensioner in a bar in Monaco.

She was looking for accommodation and he offered to let her share his home in the town of Beausoleil in France bordering the principality.

Cindy has told the court that his "paternal, protective" side quickly became overwhelming, and led to him declaring his love for her and a violent middle-of-the-night attack in which she was digitally penetrated and strangled near to death.

Investigating the attack, police stumbled on the suspicious death of another British woman, Annie-Claude Chevalier, a 60-year-old widower, while dining with Dolby two years previously.

Her death was declared natural as a result of a heart attack, but an emergency services worker raised concerns over Dolby's calm state of mind after she died, lipstick stains on two cushions, and a blue tinge to her partially naked body.

Chevalier's body was exhumed after the attack on Cindy and traces of a powerful sleeping drug Zolpidem were found in her system, the court heard. An expert said the levels found indicated she had ingested it after arriving at Dolby's house.

A psychologist told the Nice court on Wednesday that Dolby had "in all likelihood a split personality, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", on one hand he was a seducer and on the other overcome by powerful urges.

A psychiatrist separately testified that he displayed signs of "narcissistic perversion", capable of throwing out "seductive hooks" while at the same time being "emotionally anaesthetised, very cold."

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How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.