Sunday, 4 May 2008

A Fritzl case in France (Enfants Kidnappés 30/04/08)

Lydia Gouardo: perhaps I am not paying enough attention to the news. Maybe I should buy a newspaper, because I don't recall reading about this case in France. Lydia Gouardo was raped and mistreated by her adoptive father for 28 years and bore six children by him. Apparently there were people who knew what was happening and they did nothing?
I am wondering how many more women have gone through similar experiences and maybe the publicity given to the Austrian case and to this one in France, will bring more women to disclose what has happened to them.


http://www.kidnapping.be/france/index.html

Lydia séquestrée et violée pendant 28 ans!

Lydia Gouardo, 45 ans, a connu un destin similaire à Elisabeth Fritzl: violée et maltraitée 28 ans durant par son père. L'histoire de cette Française n'a pas suscité le même émoi que celle de l'Autrichienne. A Meaux, puis à Coulomnes où elle habite toujours, Lydia a subi le pire: abus sexuels, séquestrations et actes de barbarie. Un calvaire qui a débuté en 1971 et qui a pris fin 1999 avec la mort de l'homme qui n'était pas son père biologique mais l'avait reconnue. De cette union « contre nature » naîtront six garçons.

Lydia was locked up and raped for 28 years.

Lydia Gouardo, aged 45, knew a fate similar to that of Elisabeth Fritzl: raped and mistreated for 28 years by her father. This French woman's story has not aroused the same excitement as that of the Austrian woman. In Meaux, then in Coulomnes where she still lives, Lydia suffered the worst sexual abuse, locking up and acts of barbarism. A suffering that began in 1971 and which came to an end in 1990 with the death of the man who was not her biological father but had adopted her. From this, "
unnatural," union six boys were born.

Les gens savaient...

Contrairement à Elisabeth Fritzl, Lydia n'a pas été enfermée dans un réduit inviolable et inconnu de tous. Son tortionnaire est parvenu à la garder constamment auprès de lui, pendant son enfance et jusqu'à ses 37 ans, en la terrorisant et en bénéficiant de l'aveuglement de la justice et des services sociaux. A Coulommes, les "voisins savaient", dénonce son compagnon, Sylvain Skirlo. Ils n'ont pas réagi, pas plus que les pouvoirs publics. Ni l'Education nationale (elle n'était pas scolarisée), ni le service d'action éducatif de Meaux qui l'a suivie de ses dix à ses dix-huit ans, ni les gendarmes Crécy-la-Chapelle, à qui une enquête a été confiée en 1996, ni les médecins qui ont eu à examiner les brûlures à l'acide chlorhydrique infligées par son père, ne sont venus à son secours.

Pas d'amertume pourtant chez Lydia Gouardo, dont le regard bleu semble éternellement innocent: "Quand j'ai appris ce qui est arrivé à cette femme, j'étais malheureuse pour elle. Elle a subi plus que moi. Si son père était mort, personne n'aurait su qu'elle était là ?".

People knew...

Unlike Elisabeth Fritzl, Lydia was not locked up in a cubbyhole that was impregnable and unknown to everyone. Her torturer managed to keep her constantly with him, during her childhood and until she was 37 years old, terrorising her and benefiting from the blindness of the law and social services. In Coulomnes the, "neighbours knew," stated her companion, Sylvain Skirlo. They did not react, neither did the public authorities. Neither the national education (she did not go to school), nor the education action service in Meaux who dealt with her from age ten to age eighteen, nor the Crécy-la-Chapelle police, to whom an investigation was entrusted in 1996, nor the doctors who had to examine the hydrochloric acid burns inflicted by her father, came to her aid.


Even so, there is no bitterness in Lydia Gouardo, whose blue eyes seem to be eternally innocent: "When I learned what had happened to this woman, I was sad for her. She suffered more than me. If her father had died, no one would have known where she was?"

Lydia saisit la justice mais n'obtient quasi rien

Son calvaire prend fin en 1999 avec le décès de son tortionnaire. En 2001, une enquête est à nouveau ouverte à la suite d'un signalement du service d'action éducative de Meaux. Elle débouche six an plus tard sur un procès: Lucienne Ulpat, la concubine de Raymond Gouardo, qui avait assisté sans rien dire au calvaire de Lydia, est condamnée à 3 ans de prison avec sursis pour "non dénonciation de crime". Peine dérisoire et injuste pour Lydia, qui fait appel.

La cour d'appel de Paris tranche le 18 avril: Lucienne Ulpat est condamnée à 4 ans de prison avec sursis pour "non-dénonciation de crime", mais également pour agression sexuelle sur un des fils de Lydia, alors qu'il avait moins de 15 ans. La cour réduit en revanche les dommages et intérêts dus à Lydia (6.000 euros au lieu de 15.000 en première instance). "La vieille n'ira jamais en prison, alors que j'ai été enfermée toutes ces années", soupire Lydia. "Depuis le jugement, je déprime. Je pleure tout le temps. Encore du sursis ! Et je n'ai pas pu faire témoigner mes enfants, mon frère, ma soeur. Ce procès leur était dû, à eux aussi". (RTL)

Lydia reached out to the law but got virtually nothing.

Her suffering came to an end in 1990 with the death of her torturer. In 2001, an enquiry was once again opened, following a report by the education action service in Meaux. It led to a trial six years later: Lucienne Ulpat, Raymond Gouardo's mistress, who had helped him without saying anything about Lydia's suffering, was given a three year suspended sentence for, "
not informing about a crime." To Lydia, who made an appeal, it was a derisory punishment.

The court of appeal decided on April 18th: Lucienne Ulpat was given a four year suspended sentence for, "not informing about a crime," but also for sexual assault on one of Lydia's sons, when he was under 15 years of age. The court, however, reduced the damages and compensation due to Lydia (6,000 Euros instead of 15,000 in the first instance). "The old woman never went to prison, while I was locked up all those years," sighs Lydia. "Since the judgment, I am depressed. I cry all the time. Suspended again! And I could not call my children, my brother, my sister, as witnesses. This trial was their due too." (RTL)

L'histoire complète:

« De toute ma carrière, je n'avais jamais rien entendu d'aussi atroce » témoigne un enquêteur du dossier de Lydia Gouardo dans Libération samedi. C'est en effet une histoire sordide, tragique, presque impossible à croire, qui a refait surface vendredi devant la cour d'appel de Paris. La belle-mère de Lydia Gouardo, Lucienne Ulpat, comparaissait en appel (photo du Palais de justice de Paris) vendredi pour non-empêchement de crime. Elle aurait été au courant des sévices et viols subis par sa belle-fille durant toutes ces années. Complice du père indigne (celui-ci dormait avec sa fille et non avec sa concubine), elle l'aurait également torturée et aurait sexuellement agressé un des fils de la plaignante. En première instance à Meaux il y a un an, Lucienne Ulpat avait été condamnée à trois ans de prison avec sursis et 15.000 € d'amende.

The whole story:

"
In all of my career, I have never heard of anything so atrocious," an investigator from Lydia's case stated in Libération on Saturday. It is indeed a sordid story, tragic, almost impossible to believe, which resurfaced on Friday before the court of appeal in Paris. Lydia Gouardo's step-mother, Lucienne Ulpat, appeared on appeal on Friday for not preventing a crime. She must have been aware of the cruelty and rapes suffered by her step-daughter during those years. The unfit father's accomplice, (he slept with his daughter and not with his mistress) she also tortured her and had sexually assaulted one of the sons of the plaintive. In the first instance in Meaux, a year ago, Lucienne Ulpat was given a three year suspended sentence and a fine of 15,000 Euros.

Acide, scie, marteau, lames de rasoir et éther pour « qu'au moins elle ferme sa gueule »

Raymond Gouardo, décédé en 1999, avait commencé ses méfaits sur sa fille quand elle n'avait que 8 ans, juste après l'avoir retirée de l'école. C'était à la suite d'un grave « accident » : Lydia Gouardo explique que sa belle-mère l'avait plongée dans une baignoire d'eau bouillante pour la punir. Après des semaines passées à l'hôpital à guérir de ses brûlures, elle restera 24h/24 avec son futur tortionnaire. Une source proche du dossier confie qu'elle a été par la suite régulièrement hospitalisée pour des brûlures à l'acide chlorhydrique infligées par son père. Jusqu'à la mort de celui-ci, Lydia aura subit les pires sévices, scie, marteau, lames de rasoir, tels étaient les instruments de torture utilisés par Raymond Gouardo. Les viols étaient fréquents et un premier enfant nait de ces incestes répétés quand elle a 20 ans. Cinq autres naissances suivront.

Acid, saw, hammer, razor blades and ether to, " at least shut her mouth."

Raymond Gouardo, who died in 1999, had started his offences against his daughter when she was eight years old, just after having taken her out of school. This followed a serious, "
accident." Lydia Gouardo explains that her step-mother had plunged her into a bath of boiling water to punish her. After weeks spent in hospital to heal from her burns, she would stay 24 hours a day with her torturer. A source close to the case confided that she was later regularly hospitalised for hydrochloric acid burns inflicted by her father. Until his death, Lydia was subjected to the worst cruelty, saw, hammer, razor blades, such were the instruments of torture used by Raymond Gouardo. The rapes were frequent and a first child of this repeated incest was born when she was 20 years old. Five other births followed.

Lucienne Ulpat, 68 ans, qui a toujours nié avoir été au courant des faits, s'est occupée de ces 6 enfants incestueux. Lydia Gouardo montre à Libération les questions qu'elle a notées sur des feuilles de cahier apportées à l'audience, pour ne rien oublier de dire à sa belle-mère. Les extraits cités par le quotidien sont éloquents : « Quand il me forçait à boire avec un entonnoir, pourquoi tu ne lui as rien dit ? (…) Et l'éther, ça sentait partout, tu disais : ‘Il faut ouvrir les fenêtres.' Mais lui te répondait : ‘Avec ça au moins elle ferme sa gueule.' (…) Tu voyais mon père avec moi dans mon lit, et tu disais : ‘Tu n'as pas encore fini ?' »

Lucienne Ulpat, aged 68, who has always denied being aware of the facts, involved herself with these six children of incest. Lydia Gouardo showed to Libération the questions which she had written in the pages of a notebook taken to the hearing, in order not to forget anything to say to her step-mother. The extracts cited by the daily say it all: "When he forced me to drink with a funnel, why did you say nothing to him? (....)And the ether, that smell was everywhere, you said, 'We should open the windows.' But he answered you: 'With that at least she shuts her mouth.' (....) You saw my father with me in my bed, and you said: 'You are not finished yet?' "

Village, médecins, services sociaux, tout le monde était au courant, mais personne n'a rien dit

Du village aux différents professionnels censés l'aider, tout le monde était au courant de son calvaire, mais personne n'a jamais révélé l'affaire. Libération avait enquêté en mai dernier lors du procès en 1ere instance dans le village de Coulomnes, en Seine-et-Marne, où habitait la famille. Les voisins ont confié qu'ils étaient tous au courant que le père était également le père des enfants de sa fille. « Il s'en vantait même. » disaient-ils. Pire, le maire de l'époque confirmait que tout le village savait, mais « Les gens qui font ces choses-là entre eux, on n'a pas à s'en mêler. C'est une famille d'indésirables dont on n'a jamais voulu ici. » Voilà le témoignage affligeant et sans compassion de l'ancien maire au journal.

Village, doctors, social services, everybody was aware, but no one said anything.

From the village to the various professionals supposed to help her, everybody was aware of her suffering, but no one exposed the facts. Libération had investigated last May during the first trial in the village of Coulomnes, in Seine-et-Marne, where the family was living. The neighbours confided that they were aware that the father was also the father of his daughter's children. "
He even bragged about it," they said. Worse, the mayor at the time confirmed that the whole village knew but, "The people who did those things amongst themselves, people did not mix with them. It was an undesirable family which was never wanted here." There is the testimony, appalling and without compassion, of the former mayor to the newspaper.

Selon la source proche du dossier citée par Libération, l'éducation nationale n'a jamais rien dit par rapport à la déscolarisation de Lydia. Les services sociaux qui suivaient la famille non plus. Pire, aucun médecin l'ayant soignée n'a jamais signalé les blessures de la jeune-fille. « Quand à la maternité, on me demandait qui était le père, je répondais la vérité : le père, c'est mon père. Il a assisté à tous mes accouchements. Personne n'a semblé y voir un problème », explique-t-elle. La gendarmerie a bien été alertée plusieurs fois, mais aucune plainte n'a été déposée. « On est face à de très graves dysfonctionnements des services de l'Etat » conclut la source du journal.

According to the source close to the case, cited by Libération, national education never said anything about Lydia's being taken out of school. Social services who dealt with the family neither. Worse, no doctor, having treated her, ever reported the young girl's wounds. "As for pregnancy, I was aksed who the father was, I responded with the truth: the father, it is my father. He was present at all my deliveries. No one seemed to see a problem there," she explains. The police were alerted several times, but not one complaint was dealt with. "She was faced with very serious dysfunctioning of state services." concludes the newspaper's source.

Un procès en appel pour se sentir mieux, un peu

En arrivant au tribunal accompagnée de ses fils et de son compagnon, Lydia confiait qu'elle voulait deux choses : entendre sa belle-mère lui demander pardon et que le procès ne se déroule pas à huis-clos. La seconde demande sera rejetée par la présidente. Lucienne Ulpat était poursuivie pour des faits remontant à la période entre août 1998 et novembre 1999, les faits antérieurs étant prescrits. La cour d'appel devait également examiner une plainte d'une amie de Lydia qui aurait également été violée par Raymond Gouardo.

An appeal hearing to make herself feel a little better.

Arriving at the court accompanied by her sons and her companion, Lydia confides that she wants two things: to hear her step-mother ask for her forgiveness and that the trial does not take place in camera. The second request will be rejected by the president. Lucienne Ulpat was prosecuted for acts going back to the period between August 1998 and November 1999, the time period being examined. The appeal court must also examine a complaint by one of Lydia's friends who would have also been raped by Raymond Gouardo.

2 comments:

dodo said...

Horrific!

More I am reading these incidents more I am wondering how the police force in the developed world is?

They are gullible to say the least. Actually, they are incompetent.

Anyways, regarding Fritzl case, Elisabeth will get justice. Thanfully, it has got the media attention it deserved.

But this Lydia case got me scared, worried and very very sad. We must do the things to help her get justice. We can not contribute our time since we are in different country.

I do not know how it is in France, but if possible we can set up a fund to contribute for her legal expenses, so that she get the best legal team.

I may be a small time office worker in a developing country, but I am ready to contribute whatever much ( or little, depending on the perspective) I could.

Can we start something like that to help her?

AnnaEsse said...

dodo,

Thank you for your comment. I agree with what you have said about Elisabeth and about Lydia. Both horrific cases, and Elisabeth will see justice, at last.

Lydia, though....her step-mother, who must have known what was going on gets a suspended sentence and Lydia gets a derisory amount of compensation. I think if this had been a property crime, say Lucienne Ulpat had helped her husband commit fraud over all those years, she would have been given a seriously long custodial sentence, but crimes against people, and especially against women, are not punished as severely as crimes against property. That shows where the priorities are in a capitalist system.

Best regards,

Anna

PS: a fund to help Lydia would be wonderful. I shall put my thinking cap on...and please do the same and let me know if you have any wonderful ideas!