French gardener jailed for 30 years for killing British woman

A French gardener has been jailed for 30 years for the brutal murder of a British woman in the south west of France.

French gardener jailed for 30 years for killing British woman
The house of murdered Briton Patricia Wilson in south west France. Photo: AFP

A French court on Monday sentenced a gardener to 30 years in jail, with no possibility of parole for 20 years, for the murder of his British former boss and lover.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, was convicted of murdering Patricia Wilson at her home near the southwestern city of Toulouse, in an act portrayed as the work of a “jealous” man who could not accept that Wilson had ended their relationship.

(Jean-Louis Cayrou in court. Photo: AFP)

The 58-year-old woman was last seen alive on August 17, 2012, at her home in the village of Vabre-Tizac, on her return from a trip to England.

Although police found her clothes and traces of blood, Wilson's body was never found.

Cayrou remained impassive as a jury in the town of Rodez returned its verdict after more than four hours of deliberations.

He had steadfastly maintained his innocence, saying that while he did visit Wilson's house on the night of her disappearance, he had arrived on the same scene found by police.

“I loved Patricia,” he told the court, asking the jury to restore his “freedom and (his) honour”.

The prosecution had pointed to the traces of blood found in Cayrou's car, telephone records showing the repeated calls he had made to her shortly before she disappeared, and the “inconsistencies, lies and changing versions” in his account of events.

(The caravan where Cayrou lived. Photo: AFP)

“We don't need his confession,” prosecutor Manon Brignol told the court.

“Everything is perfectly clear.”

The only question, she said, was what Jean-Louis Cayrou had done with Wilson's body.

Cayrou's lawyer Jacques Levy complained that his client was treated as guilty from the outset of the investigation.

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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.