Jacqueline Sauvage: French president frees woman who killed her husband after decades of abuse

Norbert Marot was described as violent alcoholic who raped and beat his wife and their three daughters

Ian Johnston
Monday 01 February 2016 00:48
Comments
Jacqueline Sauvage, centre, a French woman convicted of murdering her abusive husband, in Blois, France. French President Francois Hollande pardoned Jacqueline Sauvage after a clemency plea by her children
Jacqueline Sauvage, centre, a French woman convicted of murdering her abusive husband, in Blois, France. French President Francois Hollande pardoned Jacqueline Sauvage after a clemency plea by her children

A 68-year-old French woman jailed for 10 years for murdering her husband after nearly 50 years of rape and violent abuse is set to be freed, after President Francois Hollande intervened following a public outcry.

Jacqueline Sauvage, of Montargis in central France, shot her husband Norbert Marot three times in the back with his own hunting rifle in September 2012, the day after their son hanged himself.

She described Marot as violent alcoholic who raped and beat her and their three daughters and also abused their son.

After an appeal against an earlier conviction, Ms Sauvage was found guilty in December and given a 10-year-sentence.

But then more than 400,000 people, who signed a petition, politicians on the left and right, and Mr Hollande’s former partner, Valérie Trierweiler, all called on the president to use his right to pardon convicted criminals.

The power is seldom used in France, but the president’s office said it had been decided to waive the remainder of Ms Sauvage’s sentence, stopping short of an actual pardon.

“In the face of an exceptional human situation, the president wanted to make it possible for Madame Savage to quickly return to her family while respecting judicial authorities,” a presidential spokesperson told the Associated Press.

The decision allows her to “immediately seek conditional freedom,” the spokesperson added.

Actress Anny Duperey told the iTele TV station that she was “infinitely relieved for her”.

Conservative politician Valerie Boyer said Ms Sauvage had become “an emblem because an injustice was done”.

Ms Sauvage’s daughters, Sylvie, Carole and Fabienne, had explained that the family suffered the violence in silence because they were too humiliated to seek help and terrified of what Marot would do.

In the court hearings, defence lawyers tried to argue that Ms Sauvage’s killing of her husband was self-defence. But the appeal court jury decided her actions were “disproportionate” because her life had not been in danger at the time.

During his election campaign in 2012, Mr Hollande had suggested he would not use presidential pardons, saying they belonged to “a different concept of power”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in