Beds, Herts & Bucks

Patricia Wilson murder: Jean-Louis Cayrou jailed for 30 years

Jean-Louis Cayrou and Patricia and Jean Wilson Image copyright PA
Image caption Jean-Louis Cayrou (left) was jailed for the murder of Patricia Wilson, who is pictured with her mother Jean Wilson

A French gardener has been jailed for 30 years for the premeditated murder of his British lover at her home in southern France in 2012.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, of La Salvetat-Peyrales, was found guilty of murdering Patricia Wilson, 58, formerly of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Cayrou, 54, had denied killing her after their relationship ended.

The jury deliberated for almost five hours at the Cour d'Assises de l'Aveyron in Rodez, near Toulouse.

Gasps were heard from members of his family as he received his sentence, which he has 10 days to appeal against.

Mrs Wilson's mother, Jean Wilson, 84, said "justice has finally been done" following the verdict.

Her daughter vanished from her hamlet near the village of Vabre-Tizac in August 2012. Her body has never been found.

During his trial, which lasted a week, Cayrou said he visited Mrs Wilson's house, panicked when he found blood and fled, fearing he would be blamed.

'Unstable'

Cayrou is believed to have cut the electricity at Mrs Wilson's home, after she returned from visiting her mother in England on 17 August 2012.

He then killed Mrs Wilson, hitting her "very violently" at least twice and possibly with a weapon, general lawyer Manon Brignol said in her closing statement.

Cayrou, described as "dominating" and "unstable" by Ms Brignol, left a trail of blood through the house, leading down the steps outside, where he is believed to have loaded Mrs Wilson's body into his car.

His fingerprints and DNA were found at the crime scene and traces of Mrs Wilson's blood were discovered in his car.

Image copyright Slater and Gordon/PA
Image caption Jean Wilson (left) also said the disappearance of her daughter Patricia Wilson was the "biggest sadness of my life"

The trial heard that the victim and defendant had a brief relationship while her partner Donald Marcus, 58, returned to Britain in 2011 to seek treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Mr Marcus, who moved to France with Mrs Wilson in 2008, told the court they had been "very happy together".

'Perfect daughter'

In a written statement released following the verdict, Mrs Wilson said the result was "tinged with sadness" as she would still have to live without her "perfect daughter".

"When Patricia was so cruelly taken away from me I didn't just lose a daughter, but my best friend, my confidante and the person I would turn to when I was low," she said.

"She was the perfect daughter and when she died it broke my heart.

"To lose a child is a devastating experience, but to lose a child in this manner, through an act of extreme violence, is indescribable.

"When her life was snatched away in such a brutal way, a large part of my own was taken away forever.

"Losing her was the biggest sadness of my life and has left a gap that can never be filled."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Patricia Wilson and her partner Donald Marcus moved to France in 2008

Kieran Mitchell, a lawyer from Slater and Gordon representing Jean Wilson, described Cayrou as "heartless" as he welcomed the verdict.

He said: "This was a brutal murder of an innocent woman whose only mistake was to have a brief relationship with the wrong man.

"Cayrou cruelly murdered her simply because she said she didn't want to be with him."

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