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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

France: Man kills HIV-positive woman following HIV disclosure, claims temporary insanity

A 25 year-old man from Saint-Etienne in eastern-central France has confessed to killing his girlfriend after she told him she was HIV-positive. It is unclear, however, whether the two had slept together before the disclosure.

So far the story has only been picked up by French-language papers (thanks to a regular blog reader for alerting me), and so this report is based on the most complete report I could find, on Le Figaro.

Rather than focus on the HIV aspect of the case, most of the headlines focus on the gruesome method the man used to dispose of the woman's body (cut into eight pieces, put into bin liners, and left around the city).

Le Figaro says that last Friday evening, after celebrating his 25th birthday with his girlfriend of 10 days - a 36 year-old woman, who is referred to as a "toxicomane" ("drug addict") - the woman refused his sexual advances.

Elle lui aurait alors avoué lui avoir transmis le virus du sida. Selon le procureur de la République de Saint-Etienne, l'homme, furieux et ivre, perd la raison et se montre violent avec sa compagne. Alors que celle-ci tente de se défendre en saisissant un couteau, il la frappe violemment puis l'étrangle pendant de longues minutes. Lorsqu'il la relâche, la jeune femme est morte. Il lui tranche la gorge puis la porte dans sa baignoire.
My best translation is this (but French-speakers, please correct me):
She then allegedly confessed to have transmitted the AIDS virus to him. According to the prosecutor of Saint-Etienne, the man, angry and drunk, went wild and was violent with his partner. While she tried to defend herself by seizing a knife, he hit her violently then strangled her for several minutes. When he released her, the young woman was dead. Her cut her throat then he carried her to the bathtub.
However, other reports, including this one from AFP, say the following:
A l'issue de cette soirée bien arrosée et alors qu'il était ivre, il lui aurait proposé une relation sexuelle, que la jeune femme aurait refusée en lui annonçant qu'elle était atteinte du sida, selon la même source.
[At the end of the evening, after having a lot to drink and being drunk, he proposed sex, which the young woman refused telling him that she was suffering from AIDS, according to the same source.]
The man has been charged with murder but is claiming temporary insanity (pété cable).

It will be interesting to follow this case and see how much his defence argue that her previous non-disclosure was provocation and/or find ways to assassinate the woman's character. I'm expecting the worse given that all the reports I've read (AP, include mention that the woman was a "drug addict" which really is completely irrelevant, but will help to create more sympathy for the man. Already a couple of comments on Le Figaro's website include outlandish speculations that the woman got what she deserved because she was deliberately passing on HIV.



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