a “model” man in the quay

“Helpful, educated, upright, wise” : The relatives of Mamadou Diallo, accused of the bloody murder of a postal woman in 2008, drew a glowing portrait of him on Monday 28 March, who has always denied his involvement in the crime.

“From the beginning I declare I am innocent, I had nothing to do with the death of this poor woman”assured the 32-year-old defendant, dressed in a loose white shirt, on the first day of his trial for the Assizes of Ain, in Bourg-en-Bresse.

Thirteen years after the facts, at the end of a lengthy investigation that for a period pointed to Gérald Thomassin as a suspected former French film hopeful who became marginal and then disappeared since 2019, Mamadou Diallo is the only accused of the murder of Catherine Burgod .

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This 41-year-old clerk, then the mother of two children and five months pregnant, was discovered bathing in a pool of blood at the Montreal-la-Cluse (Ain) post office on December 19, 2008. At the helm on Monday, one of the people who discovered the said corpse “a butcher shop” ; Twenty-eight stab wounds were recorded on the victim’s body.

A change of 2,490 euros

If the villain’s trail was quickly favored, with a prey worth 2,490 euros, investigators have long struggled to gather evidence, particularly because of eyewitnesses. Their suspicion first fell on Gérald Thomassin, who at the time lived opposite the small post office, and whose behavior had aroused suspicion. “This song we believed in”admitted at the bar the former director of the investigation, Emmanuel Roy.

But in 2017, the case returned when a match was established between DNA taken from a coin mechanism and a bag found near the body of the victim and that of Mamadou Diallo, who was in practice at the time of the events. close to Montreal-la-Cluse (France) The accused admitted to having been at the post office the morning after the murder, but claims to have discovered the body of the forty-year-old and fled in panic after seizing a pile of banknotes. “A pair of 20 euro banknotes”according to his lawyer, Sylvie Noachovitch.

Mamadou Diallo does not have an ideal offender’s pedigree. His criminal record only mentions speeding, and those who participated in him paint a very flattering portrait, beginning with his relatives. “He is a role model for us”assured Monday at the bar his older brother, black shirt and pants, boasting of a person “very helpful, very willing, pleasant”, which he does not have “never seen angry”.

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“He is my sun, I wanted to have children with him, buy an apartment, I know the purity of his heart. I wish you could read in him”so trusted, very moved, Elisa, accompanies the accused.

A former employer for whom the defendant worked between 2012 and 2018 as an ambulance attendant and taxi driver confided in his “great astonishment” against charges against this discreet former employee and “appreciated”.

” I was afraid “

Slightly borrowed at the time of being questioned about his career, the accused, according to his own statement “impressed” at his trial, sees himself as “someone who likes to help others”.

“That call, the day you did not have it”sends him the lawyer for the civil parties, Séverine Debourg, and accuses him of having preferred to flee the crime scene by putting money in pockets rather than calling for help.

” I was afraid “responds the defendant, who fears one “legal error” and expressed his condolences to the victim’s family.

“We are looking for a perpetrator (…) but we must not be mistaken, for there would again be a monstrous error of justice. “said his lawyer, who accuses investigators of having overlooked other clues, such as unidentified DNA traces or traces of a blue-green car seen that morning near the post office.

The accused, whose statements to investigators changed, even inaccurately, promised to “to tell about [sa] truth this week »without, however, completely measuring the ambiguity of these words. For his part, M.and Debourg wants “bring forth what will be the legal truth” of a case with many gray areas.

The accused risks life imprisonment. Judgment is expected on April 4.

The world with AFP

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