Family relieved at guilty verdict
The family of a British woman whose body was found in a French lake said they hoped their long fight for justice was finally over after her husband was convicted for a third time of killing her.
The remains of Evelyn Lund were discovered on the back seat of her car in Lake Bancalie almost two years after she disappeared from her French farmhouse in December 1999.
Her second husband, Robert Lund, had already been convicted twice in connection with her death but appealed on a legal point this week. To the relief of Mrs Lund's family, he was again found guilty of a crime akin to manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison at a court in the southern French town of Montauban.
Speaking after the verdict in the five-day appeal trial, family members said they had waited almost 12 years for justice and an end to "these tragic events".
Mrs Lund's brother, Gerard Wilkinson, said: "We now hope to be able to put these awful events behind us and finally let the wounds heal and to rebuild and move forward with our lives."
The 46-year-old from Watford in Hertfordshire said he hoped the failure of Lund's third bid to clear his name would allow the family to attain closure, suggesting a further appeal was unlikely. "I don't know on what grounds (he could appeal)," he said. "Three times is two times too many and we really, really hope this is it. It's been too much for the family already and we just hope that Robert will finally put this to rest, accept the result of his actions and leave the family in peace."
Mrs Lund, who had moved to the village of Rayssac in south-west France with her second husband, disappeared at the age of 52 after visiting friends nearby.
Lund, 59, a former tree surgeon from Darwen in Lancashire, maintained she died in a "tragic accident" on her way home. He suggested she had been drinking and took the wrong route, tried to turn around but lost control of her Toyota 4x4 and ploughed into the lake.
Originally convicted by a court in Albi in the Tarn area of France in 2007, he was retried in 2009 and jailed for 12 years. He is currently on course to walk free from prison in the southern French town of Albi in November 2014.
Detective Superintendent Steve Brunskill of Lancashire Police, who was the senior officer involved in the British side of the investigation, attended all three trials and welcomed the result. "Naturally I'm pleased for the family," he said. "I've been with them from the start of this over the last 12 years and I've seen how they've suffered through three trials, so my first thoughts are with them."