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Jury shown crime scene images in trial of gardener accused of Briton's murder

Published 24/05/2016

Jean-Louis Cayrou denies murdering Patricia Wilson, who vanished from her home in south-west France in August 2012
Jean-Louis Cayrou denies murdering Patricia Wilson, who vanished from her home in south-west France in August 2012

Trails of blood which led through the rural French house where British expat Patricia Wilson was killed have been shown to the jury, as her gardener and lover stands trial accused of murder.

A pool of blood in a ground floor side room of the stone house, littered with fragments of debris, and dark red trails running through the kitchen, living room and outside steps, were revealed as the court was given a 360 degree virtual tour of the crime scene.

Mrs Wilson, 58, vanished from her home, in the Aveyron region of south-west France in August 2012.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, is charged with her murder, which he denies.

The images were shown in the Cour de l'Assises in Rodez, south France, in a presentation by police expert Thierry Guichou.

He alleged that Mrs Wilson had been murdered in the ground floor side room, where bed sheets and washing were hanging nearby to dry.

Her body was then moved through the kitchen, into the living room, and down a set of stairs at the back of the house, before being moved into a car, parked by the side of the house, he said.

Mr Guichou said the evidence suggested the wound was caused by a blunt object or a fist.

Traces of cleaned-up blood belonging to Cayrou and Mrs Wilson were discovered in the defendant's Renault Laguna, he added.

He also revealed an image of a bloody headlamp discovered in the car.

Cayrou shook his head as the evidence taken from the house, in a small hamlet near the village of Vabre-Tizac, was shown to the court.

Earlier, the ex-wife of Cayrou told the court that she believed he was capable of committing the crime, prompting sobs from relatives of the defendant.

Sylvie Escaffre, 53, who was married to Cayrou between 1988 and 2000 and had two sons with him, told the court how he became abusive in the last six months of their relationship.

She said the start of their marriage was "normal", but that their relationship deteriorated in September 1997.

Mrs Escaffre described one incident when he entered while she was in the shower and tried to force himself on her, resulting in a struggle between the pair. She added that she was extremely scared of him.

She said that after learning of the disappearance of Mrs Wilson, she had immediately believed Cayrou could have committed the crime.

Mrs Wilson, who was originally from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, moved to Aveyron in 2008 with her partner, Donald Marcus.

She embarked on a relationship with Cayrou, who was her gardener, in the spring of 2012 after Mr Marcus returned to England for medical treatment.

Of Mrs Wilson's body, which has never been found, Mrs Escaffre said: "I thought to myself, if it is him, he would have been capable of burying it in my garden."

Her statement prompted sobs from the bench where members of Cayrou's family - including some of his nine siblings - were sitting.

During Mrs Escaffre's evidence to the court, Cayrou was told to "listen" by presiding judge Regis Cayrol, as he gestured and attempted to dispute the claims.

At one point Cayrou said that he would go to prison "because of these lies".

Questioned by Jacques Levy, representing Cayrou, Mrs Escaffre said her statement was not "revenge" against her former husband.

Asked by the defence lawyer if Cayrou had hit her during their marriage, she replied "no", and confirmed that her divorce was mutual.

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From Belfast Telegraph