Killer with playboy looks says he lost control with wife's mother

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The Independent Online

A Frenchman told a court how he "lost control" and stabbed his mother-in-law to death after she told him that he was not good enough for her daughter.

A Frenchman told a court how he "lost control" and stabbed his mother-in-law to death after she told him that he was not good enough for her daughter.

Cherif Doua, 42, broke down as he told how he attacked Valerie Brocklesby with a kitchen knife at her home in Hateley Heath, West Brom-wich, five years ago.

The former car salesman launched the attack after Mrs Brocklesby allegedly told him: "I don't want my daughter to live with a thug."

When her daughter Jayne arrived and saw her 62-year-old mother lying in a pool of blood, he hit her with a flower pot and stabbed her in the neck with a pair of scissors before kissing her and leaving.

Jayne, a sales consultant from Birmingham, survived and was sitting in court yesterday in Beauvais, about 60 miles north of Paris, where the case is being heard because it was not possible under French law to extradite him to the UK.

M. Doua, whom French newspapers have described as possessing le look de playboy, "acknowledges the fact" of the murder and attempted murder but he denies acting with premeditation.

The court heard how it was shortly before 7am on 24 January 2000 when M. Doua, who has three children, arrived at Mrs Brocklesby's home.

He decided to enter by the back door and when he asked to see his estranged wife, Jayne, her mother reportedly blocked his path. Giving evidence, M. Doua said: "She was quite distant with me. She told me that I had no business at her house. When she said I wasn't good enough for Jayne and insulted me, the anger rose in me.

"I could see the hatred she had towards me. At that moment I couldn't control myself. I took a knife ... I started to hit her. I hit her, I hit her."

He added: "I never wanted to harm Valerie or hurt Jayne. I didn't know why I did it. I can't explain it."

M. Doua later called the police and his family, confessing to his actions although it was a month before he was arrested after he fled to France.

Recounting the attack, he told the court: "I was like a madman ... I couldn't control myself. I was destroying myself, Jayne and Valerie."

The court heard how M. Doua was a suspect in the murder of his first mother-in-law in France in 1988. He was also convicted for fraud in relation to a pizza takeaway venture.

In the weeks prior to the murder, he had a number of encounters with the authorities. He was arrested and bailed in connection with a stolen car inquiry. He was also stopped by UK Customs with a knife, plastic pistol, CS gas and latex gloves in his car.

M. Doua, the son of a French-speaking Algerian who fought for France in Indo-China, had met Ms Brocklesby in Spain in 1997. However, the pair separated in 1999, after less than a year of marriage, following M. Doua's conviction for cigarette smuggling.

It emerged that the day before the fatal attack, he punched his former wife, now 32, after she mentioned a close platonic male friend while meeting at a restaurant.

It also came to light that the relationship between M. Doua and his mother-in-law had deteriorated over previous months after he pulled out of a deal to buy her hardware shop in West Bromwich.

However, M. Doua described himself to the jury as a "calm and reflective" character who rarely lost his temper, claiming that he acted on the spur of the moment when he attacked the two women.

The case, expected to last for four days, continues.