Le Point France Feb 11th 2011
The police officer who led the investigation into the double murder of Géraldine Giraud and Katia Lherbier is bringing out a hard-hitting book. In it, he accuses Géraldine's aunt of being the gamekeeper's accomplice. Le Point has looked at a few extracts. Informative.
The preface is by comedian Roland Giraud. The book, entitled The Treiber Case, comes out on February 17th, published by Rocher. Its author is none other than Commander Cunault, who directed the investigation into the double murder of Géraldine Giraud and Katia Lherbier.
While the Treiber case is legally over following the suicide, nearly a year ago, of Jean-Pierre Treiber, the alleged murderer, this retired police officer delivers his own scenario of the case. A first in the annals of legal proceedings.
In the last chapter, entitled "By way of a conclusion: my scenario," Commander Cunault accuses Marie-Christine Van Kempen of being the accomplice of the former gamekeeper. "Marie-Christine Van Kempen could be behind it.: she sends Jean-Pierre Treiber to do the dirty work, promising to pay him," the police officer writes. Motive? Unrequitted love. "We know that the relationship between Marie-Christine Van Kempen and Katia Lherbier is difficult. She is obviously in love with Katia", the Commander continues.
As for the rest, nothing new. This version has always been defended by the police officer, notably in his final report. A version which was soundly rejected by the court. In fact, after 4 years of investigation, all charges were dropped against Géraldine's aunt due to lack of evidence. A decision that was not received very well by Commander Cunault and Géraldine Giraud's father, himself convinced of the guilt of his sister-in-law, with whom, well before the start of the case, his relationship was stormy and conflicting.
Today, the anger seems to have changed sides. Van Kempen's family do not support this implication, especially as the former director of the investigation does not appear to present any new details in his book. "We should remain cautious, but if this is right, it's down to the perseverance of the police officer," comments Madame Frénot, Géraldine's aunt's lawyer. "I am going to read the book carefully; if certain passages are defamatory and are not in keeping with the legal decisions, I shall consult a judge and demand the withdrawal of the work or of certain passages. Moreover, I shall serve a direct injunction on the former police officer for defamation."
Géraldine's aunt is not the only one to bear the brunt of Commander Cunault's lack of qualms. Patricia Darbaud, Jean-Pierre Treiber's friend, once suspected of complicity after being decisively cleared, is accused in the book of setting up the pact between Treiber and the aunt.
"In October, possibly the 19th, Marie-Christine Van Kempen, Jean-Pierre Treiber and Patricia Darbaud met up at the Esperance cafe, even if there is no telephone trace of the meeting," states the police officer. There again, the official's insistence does not rest on any new elements but purely on personal conviction. Only the witness statement of the cafe manager, which is not considered credible by the court, is being put forward.
"I believe the witness statement from Madame Nabias, manager of Esperance. I know the circumstances in which she gave me this information. She thought very carefully about it because she knew that it was very serious. She found the murders of the two girls truly horrible. Her witness statement has caused her considerable harm. And the precise description that she gave me of a fur coat, which exists and was worn by Marie-Christine Van Kempen confirms what she says."
Some of the extracts make Patricia Darbaud's lawyer, Madame Marie-Thérèse Walter-Crastre, hit the roof. "It is inadmissible and intolerable that this former director of the investigation, now retired, allows himself to call into question a decision by the court. My client has been cleared for total lack of evidence. This is an attack on her reputation and defamation of character which we are going to pursue."
In his final chapter, Commander Cunault lands his hardest punches on Jean-Pierre Treiber, whom he accuses of having killed before. "At the moment of the attack, carried out for Marie-Christine Van Kempen, something awoke in him which for him was a sensual pleasure. He has killed already, I have my suspicions about that, notably during the time when he was gamekeeper at Malhouse," confides Commander Cunault. The police officer is now a psychologist. "So, something which had perhaps been buried, forgotten...rises up, and he goes into another dimension, which is about pleasure. Since he doesn't like homosexuals, it can be imagined that he felt even more joyful in killing them. He decides to eliminate them. He goes to find the chloropicrin and kills them. He gases them like pests."
For Commander Cunault, Treiber is "a pervert, a barbaric scumbag." As for Marie-Christine Van Kempen, he thinks she refuses to accept the gravity of what she has done. And to conclude: "She will never suffer the consequences: she is free, even if that liberty has a bad taste."
Contacted by Le Point, Patrick Mahé, managing director of Rocher, considers that "It's the personal conviction of a police officer. It's not the questioning of a decision by the court. We have given our word to this investigator which still stands." Not sure if that "personal conviction," is shared by everyone.
By Jean-Michel Décugis