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Martine Desmarais, a long-time friend of Bernard Maigrot, described in court the businessman's reaction upon learning of the death of his mistress, Vanessa Lagesse. His testimony took place on Friday June 21. According to her, Bernard Maigrot was at her home on March 9, 2001, until 12:40 a.m., the evening of the stylist's murder.

Upon learning of the death of his mistress, Bernard Maigrot put his head in his hands and collapsed on his car. Leaning his head against the hood, he muttered, “That’s why she didn’t answer when I tried to call her.” This is what Martine Desmarais affirmed this Friday, June 21, 2024 before the Assize Court. She was called to testify by Bernard Maigrot's lawyers.

The businessman is accused of the unpremeditated murder of stylist Vanessa Lagesse. An offense committed, according to the prosecution, on March 9, 2001. The woman, aged 35, was found dead in her bathtub the next day. Bernard Maigrot, who pleads not guilty, faces a jury trial.

During her testimony, Martine Desmarais spoke of her long friendship with Bernard Maigrot: “Bernard and I have been friends since we were 15.” She specified that she lives on the coastal road in Pereybère, while Bernard Maigrot lives in Cap-Malheureux.

On March 9, 2001, she called Isabelle, who replied that she was with family at the Paparazzi restaurant, waiting for Thierry Lagesse. She then asked them to come to her house. “It was a beautiful summer night and they arrived around 10:15, 10:30 p.m.,” she said. “It was a full moon evening.

We sat down on the lawn. François and Bernard were discussing business and Isabelle and I were discussing other subjects. The children were watching La Boum,” she added.

At 12:40 a.m., Martine Desmarais said she began to feel tired and asked her guests to excuse her. Bernard Maigrot took his son Adrien in his arms and Martine said accompanied them to their car. “Bernard Maigrot’s BMW headed towards Cap-Malheureux,” she said.

The next day, Saturday March 10, 2001, Martine Desmarais was walking on the beach with Hélène de Senneville, Isabelle Maigrot's first cousin, when she received a call from her husband, announcing that Vanessa Lagesse had been found dead in his bathtub.

The two women then decided to inform Isabelle Maigrot. The wife was alone at home, the businessman having gone horse riding. “We told Isabelle the news and she asked us to tell Bernard Maigrot,” said the witness.

As they were getting ready to leave, Bernard Maigrot's car arrived. Seeing the expression on their faces, he asked them if it was his father-in-law or his sister-in-law who was having problems. Hélène then told him: “We found Vanessa Lagesse dead in her bathtub. “. It was there that Bernard Maigrot collapsed on his car.

Martine Desmarais explained that she was angry when she realized that day that the relationship between Bernard Maigrot and Vanessa Lagesse was “still relevant”. “I grabbed my things and left,” she said. She maintained that in 1993, Bernard Maigrot lived together for several months with Vanessa Lagesse, after having abandoned the marital home.

The sequestered jury

Judge Luchmyparsad Aujayeb ordered that the jury be sequestered from this Friday until the end of the trial. He reminded jurors not to speak to anyone about this case and to avoid reading any articles related to the trial on social media or online.

Isabelle Maigrot in front of a panel of doctors

The Assize Court ordered, this Friday, June 21, 2024, that Isabelle Maigrot be examined, this Saturday, June 22, 2024, by a panel of state doctors. This, at 9:30 a.m. at the Northern Hospital. The defense claims she cannot testify and has presented two medical reports from a geriatrician, a neurologist and a neuropsychologist. The case was adjourned until Monday June 24, 2024, pending the report of the examination of witness Isabelle Maigrot.

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