Self-confessed child killer, Patrick Henry, whose trial was used for a campaign against the death penalty in France, was sentenced on Thursday (20 January) to life imprisonment for kidnap and murder.
Self-confessed child killer, Patrick Henry, whose trial was used for a campaign against the death penalty in France, was sentenced on Thursday (20 January) to life imprisonment for kidnap and murder. Henry, aged 23, had confessed in court to strangling eight-year-old Philippe Bernard with a silk scarf while the boy was being held captive by Henry for a million France (GBP120,000 Sterling) ransom.
SYNOPSIS: The trial at the small courtroom in Troyes had attracted national attention, and henry's defence lawyers had turned the trial into a debate over the death penalty, saying that the threat of the guollotine did not deter potential murderers.
A large crowd of newsmen had gathered for the trial, and the announcement by the jury that Henry should receive life imprisonment and not the death sentence was greeted with surprise. Three government ministers, including the Interior Minister, Mr Michel Poniatowski, had publicly joined in the call for a deterrent punishment.
A crowd of about 200 people outside the courtroom booed their disapproval when the heard the sentence. the State Prosecutor had called for the death penalty for the crime, which had been greeted with revulsion throughout the country.
Henry burst into tears and embraced bis mother and sister when the jury announced their verdict. he had earlier begged forgiveness from the parents of the child he killed.