At the Douai (Nord Département) Court of Assizes on January 25th 2013, Anne-Sophie Faucheur, aged 26, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, to serve a minimum term of 20 years, for the murder of her five-year-old daughter Typhaine in June 2009. Her partner, Nicolas Willot, aged 27, received the same sentence.
The verdict met with silence from the accused and members of Typhaine's father's family, who all wore white T shirts bearing an image of the little girl.
The couple were also found guilty of making false statements to make people believe the child had disappeared. FranceTV unravels the threads of the child's six months of suffering.
Abducted while leaving school
Typhaine is born on April 6th 2004. Anne-Sophie Faucheur, already mother to Caroline aged one, is 18 years old. This second child arrives too quickly, too soon. "From the pregnancy on, it's difficult, I reject her somewhat," the young woman states from the witness box. The couple's relationship falls apart and they separate in December 2005. François Taton, the father, has custody of Typhaine and lives with his mother. Anne-Sophie Faucheur has Caroline, an informal agreement, made without going before a court.
Apart from occasional visits, on her birthday and at Christmas, the relationship between the mother and her younger daughter is almost non-existent. But on January 22nd 2009, she comes to pick up her daughter from school, under the pretext that Typhaine's father has had an accident. She takes Typhaine to Aulnoye-Aymeries, where she is living with her new partner, Nicolas Willot. She justified herself before the court by saying that she missed Typhaine.
François Taton begins the process of recovering his daughter. "I went to the Lille Central police station and they didn't take any action because there was no court order," for custody of the children, he explains at the hearing, according to reports by our colleagues at France 3. "I consulted two lawyers for getting Typhaine back. But that was going to take some time because it required making an application to a court bailiff to find her address. From the moment I had it, I went there every weekend, but they had moved house, and I never saw Typhaine again. On the day she took her, neither I nor any member of my family were able to say goodbye to her."
Typhaine's father, François Taton, at the court in Douai on January 21st 2013
From "happy," child to "ghost," child
Typhaine's arrival at her mother's house does not go well. "I had idealised our reunion. It didn't occur to me that she might be disturbed. I think I expected so much, I wasn't thinking straight. In February, I began to be very authoritarian, hard," the accused came out with in the witness box. "Why did you come for her?" Typhaine's grandmother threw at her. "She was happy, she had a home, a father, her aunts, her cousins, security, she was alive and she was happy with us."
Spankings, beaten with a belt, kicks and punches, cold shower. The ill-treatment increased, in many ways recalling the suffering endured by Marina, another victim of deadly abuse whose parents were sentenced in June to 30 years in prison. Like her, Typhaine was regularly locked in the cellar, in the dark, chained up. Like her, she was regularly deprived of food. Like her, she was taken out of school. No one saw her.
"Typhaine was a ghost child," a Lille police officer offered in the witness box. "I must have seen her in the garden two or three times between Easter and May. When I was told she was 5, I was astonished. She was so tiny," a neighbour, who was the last person to see the little girl alive on May 20th, testified. During his plea, the lawyer for the association, Enfance et partage drew attention to the responsibility of the education department in this affair: "The school's directors did very little for six months. It would take until June 11th for the schools inspection service to contact the public prosecutor. It would be too late."