Minister's niece gets 15 years for killing her lover
Graduate murdered after failed attempt at sex
Published 13/01/2010 | 05:00
The niece of Quentin Davies, the British Defence Minister, was jailed for 15 years by a French court last night for murdering a man after a failed attempt to make love with him.
Jessica Davies (30) remained impassive in the dock as the jury at Versailles Criminal Court outside Paris found her guilty of murder without premeditation at the end of a two-day trial.
The former model was ordered to pay damages of €105,000 to the family of her victim and to undergo 10 years of treatment for her psychological problems and alcoholism.
The court heard that Olivier Mugnier (24), an unemployed French graduate, had been found naked and dying in Davies's flat near Paris in 2007.
"I want to express the extent of my remorse and just say that I assume my responsibilities and the consequences of all I did," Davies said.
The court heard that she had met Mr Mugnier in a pub and invited him back to her home.
After getting a kitchen knife to open a bottle of wine, the couple had attempted to have sexual intercourse but gave up when he was unable to perform.
Davies told the court that the next thing she remembered was phoning the emergency services while trying to stem the flow of blood from Mr Mugnier's two stab wounds.
"I did it, I'm a monster," she told the first officer on the scene.
In evidence she said that she could neither recall nor explain the killing but added: "I guarantee that I will never take a drop of alcohol again. What I did terrifies me. I dare not even ask for forgiveness from Olivier's family."
The state prosecutor denounced what she said was the selective memory of a defendant who came from a wealthy, privileged background.
"The details which are difficult for her, she cuts them out," the prosecutor said.
She said that Mr Mugnier had been "eliminated in two seconds".
Daniel Soulez-Lariviere, one of Ms Davis's two lawyers, described the sentence as "too much. We will have to see whether we appeal."
He said that he had spoken to Davies, who has 10 days to decide whether to appeal, after the verdict and said that she was "open and clear with herself. She knows that everything was strange about this case, the crime, the verdict, the hearing."
He said that the jury had failed to take account of her diminished responsibility.
The court heard that her childhood had been troubled by the separation of her British father from her French mother and had been marked by an attempt to burn down her school. Three months before the killing she had tried to commit suicide.
Maitre Soulez-Lariviere said that the killing was a form of self-destruction.
He suggested that Davies had suffered as a child from an English tendency to avoid problems rather than discussing them in the open. "On the surface everything is smooth but underneath things are going on."
Martine Bouccara, the lawyer representing Mr Mugnier's family, said that the defendant had failed to respect medical advice to avoid alcohol while on antidepressants. "This was the chronicle of Olivier's death foretold," she said. (© The Times, London)