Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A breakthrough in the case of Grégory Villemin 29 years after his murder

(FILES) - This undated photo received on October 16, 1984 shows murdered French boy Gregory Villemin, 4. (FILES) - This undated photo received on October 16, 1984 shows murdered French boy Gregory Villemin, 4.

Background to the case

Gregory Villemin, a four-year-old boy, was found dead in October 1984 with his feet and hands bound in the Vologne river, near his home in a village in eastern France.

The gruesome discovery set off a dramatic chain of events that became known simply as 'the Gregory Affair' and gripped the French public, spilling more ink than any other crime in the country's 20th century history.

France looked on in horror as the prime suspect was later gunned down by Gregory's heartbroken father. The public reeled as Gregory's mother was herself arrested for her son's murder year's later - and then released again.

The child's uncle, Bernard Laroche, was initially charged before being freed after several key pieces of evidence against him were thrown out because of procedural errors by prosecutors.

Convinced that Laroche was the murderer, Gregory's father Jean-Marie Villemin shot him dead and served four years in jail for the killing.

(Extracted from an article which appeared in The Daily Mail 23rd October 2009) 

A significant advance in DNA technology has led to a breakthrough in this case. 

From Le Parisien April 16th 2013, we have details of recent developments.

Ten DNA profiles were isolated on the cords that were used to bind the child who was discovered dead in the Vologne (Vosges) These are still to be identified 29 years later. 

Grégory Villemin was found dead in the Vologne on October 16th 1984. In a case where genetic analysis has been inconclusive, there is a breakthrough which could prove conclusive in identifying Grégory's killer. 

Ordered by Dijon's Investigative Division at the request of the child's parents, the new analysis has been carried out at the Bordeaux laboratory of Professor Christian Doutremepuich, who has access to the most recent technology in DNA analysis: chemical extraction of DNA and laser micro-dissection. Anorak, trousers, hat, socks, shoes...everything sealed up within the legal files has been gone over again with a fine-tooth comb. The cords are considered to be the most important items. They have also been examined. As the Villemin couple were hoping, new DNA profiles have been brought to light. 

Still to be identified, while comparing them with some 300 genetic samples taken from people close to Grégory and from significant others, in the course of the investigation, as well as with those on the national register, which was set up in 1998, "We must be careful," a legal source suggests. "During all these years, those boxes of evidence have been handled a lot. The DNA traces could belong to a magistrate or an investigator."

Thierry Moser, lawyer for the Villemin couple, remains hopeful, "We are waiting for the results with impatience and hope," he says. And to be more precise: "If Bernard Laroche's DNA is found or that of Muriel Bolle (Laroche's sister-in-law who accused him of the crime and then retracted) that would be formidable." 

(With thanks to Frencheuropean who sent me details about this breakthrough in the case)


Anonymous said...

Merci Anna d'avoir traduit cet article.
Cette affaire a marqué profondément la France. L'irresponsabilité d'un juge et la folie des médias ont fait dérailler une enquête qui, d'après le gendarme en charge à l'époque ,Etienne Sesmat qui en a fait un livre :"Les deux affaires Grégory",s'orientait vers un coupable évident.
Espérons que cette nouvelle ( et probablement dernière) enquête apportera des éléments décisifs.


Anonymous said...
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AnnaEsse said...

Thanks Frencheuropean for your help with this. I think I'm going to have to add some details about the judge and also check out the book you mention. Perhaps I can buy it on Amazon France.



AnnaEsse said...
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