An investigation for “failure to assist a person in danger” was opened after a complaint from the family of a woman who died in 2017, whom her companion is suspected of having hit. The complaint is aimed in particular at an ex-policeman, who intervened at the couple’s home a few days before the tragedy, the prosecutor’s office in Senlis, in the Oise, said on Wednesday. This preliminary investigation concerns “all the facts” and not just the gendarme referred to in the complaint, said prosecutor Loïc Abrial.
The victim, Bénédicte Belair, was found dead at her home on April 4, 2017. After various twists and turns, her companion was finally indicted last January for aggravated violence against her, between January 2015 and April 2017. He, in addition, was placed under the status of assisted witness for “murder”.
No protective measures had been put in place
The complaint targets a former judicial police officer from the gendarmerie of Pont-Sainte-Maxence, in Oise, who went there on March 25, 2017 for a report of domestic violence, without any protective measure n has been put in place, said Sylvaine Grévin, sister of Bénédicte Belair. According to a source close to the file, Bénédicte Belair “presented that day a bruise under the eye”, noted by the gendarmes.
His companion had also “already been convicted of domestic violence”. But “no shelter or prosecution” had been initiated, she added. About ten days later, when Bénédicte Belair died, the same gendarme, himself “convicted in 2012 for domestic violence”, intervened in the investigation, lamented Sylvaine Grévin.
The investigation was initially oriented towards the trail of a fall, and was closed four months after the events. The relatives of Bénédicte Belair then filed a complaint with a civil action, thus obtaining the opening of a judicial investigation. But the samples taken at the home and on the body of the deceased had been destroyed in October 2018 following an administrative error. The State was ordered in May 2021 to pay 15,000 euros in damages to Sylvaine Grévin for “gross negligence”.