Gardener Jean-Louis Cayrou jailed for murder of his lover in 2012

Gardener Jean-Louis Cayrou jailed for murder of his lover in 2012

Gardener Jean-Louis Cayrou, aged 54, has been jailed for 30 years after he was found guilty of the premeditated murder of his British expat lover Patricia Wilson, aged 58, at her rural French home in 2012 following a trial at the Cour d'Assises de l'Aveyron in Rodez, south France.

Patricia Wilson vanished from her house near the village of Vabre-Tizac in the south of France in August 2012 and her body has never been found.

General lawyer Manon Brignol asked the jury at the Cour d'Assises de l'Aveyron in Rodez, south France, to find Cayrou guilty of the murder of Mrs Wilson.

She described Cayrou as a "dominating, unstable" man, and said his explanations surrounding Mrs Wilson's disappearance were "absolutely unconvincing".

Cayrou, who appeared in the dock with dark red scratches covering his face and arms after he attempted to harm himself over the weekend, wept as his defence lawyer Jacques Levy pleaded with the jury to find him innocent.

Cayrou has told the court how he visited Mrs Wilson's house on the evening she disappeared to invite her to a party and panicked when he found blood.

He said he fled the scene, fearing he would be blamed for her death, but maintains his innocence.

But Ms Brignol suggested Cayrou had hit Mrs Wilson "very violently", possibly with a weapon, at least twice at her home. She said he would have been covered in blood when he left the scene.

She said she believed Mrs Wilson considered Cayrou as a "sex friend" and "nothing more", and he could not accept the end of their relationship.

It was "intolerable" that Cayrou had refused to say where he hid her body, which had caused "pain" for the family and friends of the victim, she said.

Ms Brignol asked the jury to sentence him to 30 years in prison. She advised against a life sentence, explaining it should be reserved for "exceptional" cases.

Cayrou dabbed his eyes with a tissue as his lawyer asked the jury to "bring justice" to the gardener.

Mr Levy argued there was not enough evidence to sentence him to 30 years in prison.

He conceded that his client had not shown courage and "had faults", but said he was not guilty.

In a final address, reading from a piece of a paper, Cayrou told the jury that he had "lost his love" when Mrs Wilson disappeared.

He asked them to restore his "liberty" and "honour", and find him innocent.

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