French man who murdered and dismembered four family members over Nazi gold jailed for 30 years

The 50-year-old man believed his in-laws were hiding gold ingots and coins rumoured to have been discovered by his wife’s father in 2006 in the basement of a building.

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 08 July 2021 11:03
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<p>Patrick Larvor, lawyer of main accused Hubert Caouissin, talks to the press at Nantes’ courthouse, western France, on 7 July, 2021, during a break on the last day of the trial of the so-called “Troadec case” which started on 22 June, 2021. - The family members were killed on 16 February, 2017 in Orvault. </p>

Patrick Larvor, lawyer of main accused Hubert Caouissin, talks to the press at Nantes’ courthouse, western France, on 7 July, 2021, during a break on the last day of the trial of the so-called “Troadec case” which started on 22 June, 2021. - The family members were killed on 16 February, 2017 in Orvault.

A French court has sentenced a 50-year-old man who murdered and dismembered four of his family members to 30 years in jail. The convict, Hubert Caouissin, believed his family was hoarding gold hidden from the Nazis.

Mr Caouissin appeared before the Loire-Atlantique Assize Court on Wednesday and was found guilty of the murder of four of his in-laws — the Troadecs — one night in February 2017 in Orvault near Nantes, local news reports said.

Hubert Caouissin had admitted killing his brother-in-law, Pascal Troadec, Troadec’s wife, Brigitte, and the couple’s two children, 21-year old Sébastien and 18-year old Charlotte. In the court on Wednesday, Mr Caouissin asked for “forgiveness” from those he killed, according to 20minutes.fr.

The story of the murder of the Troadec family members captivated France at the time. The local police had claimed that the two-storey home in Orvault, near Nantes, appeared “frozen in time” — “toothbrushes and hairbrushes were gone, food was left rotting in the kitchen, dishes were left unwashed in the sink and all the beds had been stripped and laundered.”

Mr Caouissin believed that his wife, Lydie’s family — the Troadecs — were hiding gold ingots and coins rumoured to have been discovered by Lydie and her brother Pascal’s father in 2006 in the basement of a building he was working on in Brest. Reports said that the gold was said to have been part of a 50 kg consignment the Bank of France had hidden during the German occupation in World War II.

He was believed to be “obsessed” with the treasure that the court said “there is no evidence ever existed.”

Mr Caouissin had been spying on the family at their home in Orvault, near Nantes in western France, and had tried to listen to their conversations using a stethoscope against a window. When he was disturbed, he beat Pascal Troadec [his wife’s brother] to death and then killed other members.

Police had found 379 body parts around Mr Caouissin’s farm, located in a remote part of Brittany. He had dismembered and then buried the bodies.

The attorney general had requested a life sentence for Mr Caouissin. But the jurors, after more than seven hours of deliberation, lowered the sentence. His former partner and mother of his son, Lydie Troadec, 52, was sentenced to three years in prison. She had helped her then-husband in concealing the corpses and also altered the scene of the crime.

Mr Caouissin said the murders were an “accident.” He denied that his actions had been premeditated.

Meanwhile, a psychiatrist had said that Mr Caouissin suffered from a classic case of “paranoid madness.”

Charlotte Gazzera, the attorney general, told the court: “Mr Caouissin caused the death of four people in a terrible bloodbath … He is too dangerous. There’s no question he should be released.”

Thierry Fillion and Patrick Larvor, the lawyers of Mr Caouissin, told the media: “It is a huge relief for us and our client, even if it is not a victory.” They had hoped to avoid life imprisonment. “There is no special security period [it is, therefore, equal to half the sentence, ie 15 years], which gives Mr Caouissin a deadline, a real prospect.”

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