Sunday, 27 January 2013

Typhaine Taton: Mother and Step-father Guilty of Murder and Faking Disappearance (Part 2)

Anne-Sophie Faucheur and Nicolas Willot at a press conference June 24th 2009  (Transcript to follow)

The fatal evening of June 10th 2009

On the evening of the tragedy, Typhaine "wasn't going to sleep and was walking around in her room," which "infuriated," her mother. "The beating" started: smacks, slaps, punches, kicks. "It was very hard," admits the accused. "Then I took up a pair of trainers and I hit her in the stomach. She went to the floor. She would have had a hard time walking. I don't remember any more, but she must have cried," she goes on. Nicolas Willot explains clearly, almost coldly, having "held her up by her armpits while Anne-Sophie hit her so that she wouldn't fall to the floor." The beating was followed by a "long cold shower," to "calm," Typhaine. 

The couple go back to sit in front of the telly, to watch the film "Rasta Rocket." The little girl gives out "a rattle," before collapsing in the shower. "I tried to revive her. I didn't succeed," says Nicolas Willot, a volunteer fireman.

Did the couple want to kill Typhaine? That's one of the central questions of this trial. Both respond with a negative. According to the expert psychiatrist, Roland Coutanceau, there wasn't "a conscious wish to kill on the part of the mother." Doctor Ameziane Ait-Menguellet's opinion is the opposite "a determination that can only be explained by a wish to have an end to it." 

Staging the disappearance

According to the version from the two accused, Anne-Sophie Faucheur wanted to give herself up once the child's death was discovered. But her partner, for "fear of going to prison," and of "losing the other children," (Caroline and Apolline, their daughter) conceals Typhaine's naked body in the cellar with a plastic sack. The body would stay there for eight days, "until after Apolline's baptism," before being buried by Nicolas in a forest in the Charleroi area (Belgium) 

There again, as in the case of Marina, a plan is set in motion to make it look like an abduction. Typhaine's mother reports her daughter's disappearance on June 18th 2009. She states that she lost her in the street, in the centre of Maubeuge. The couple even go as far as giving a press conference at the end of June, launching an appeal to the whole of France to find Typhaine. 

"She doesn't behave like a mother who has just lost a child"

In spite of this staging, the police officers' doubts are rapidly focused on the couple. From Anne-Sophie Faucheur's first interview, "we sensed the lies in her claims. She wasn't behaving like a mother who had just lost a five-year-old child in the streets of Maubeuge," one of them reported in the witness box.

"Making salacious jokes about the presiding judge, masturbating in the evening on porn sites, going onto dating sites, dancing at a baptism, at a wedding, partying, having dinner parties, making wedding plans..Everything that was seen from the surveillance van was a long way, a very long way from the image of the devastated couple they had wanted to present at a press conference," another said. 

"Inconsistencies" leaped out at the investigators: Typhaine's absence from her little sister Apolline's baptism on June 13th, and then Nicolas Willot's telephone request to his father to provide a false witness statement. On September 22nd, a text message sent by Anne-Sophie Faucheur, after her interview by a presiding judge, in which she details for her partner Typhaine's last meal on the day of her alleged disappearance, designed to convince the investigators. 

The confessions and the discovery of the body

During a second time in custody, the mother cracks after 12 hours. She confesses to having seen Typhaine die but claims an accident. Her partner gives up in his turn. The theory of a punishment that went wrong takes shape up to a clear account of the events. 

The little girl, buried naked face down in the ground, is found on December 9th 2009, following the step-father's directions. 

The post-mortem on the body, which was in "an advanced state of decomposition,"did not lead to "an established cause of death."But the body retained evidence of physical violence," a Belgian doctor, François Beauthier, explained. And listing the horror: "recent traumatic injury, facture of the left orbital bone, sprain to the left wrist, torsion fracture to the left elbow, fracture of the pubic bone and bruising to the left buttock." "Recent fractures," that correspond to violent and necessarily painful strikes.

"Why did you kill her?" Typhaine's grandmother insists. "Sometimes, she had a hard look and I was convinced that she was giving me nasty looks (...) I never felt like I was her mother. There was no connection," Anne-Sophie Faucheur said. 

Catherine Fournier

francetvinfo 26/01/2013


Typhaine Taton: Mother and Step-father Guilty of Murder and Faking Disappearance (Part 1)

press conf photo Typhainemotherandstep-father_zps57ef1152.jpg

Anne-Sophie Faucheur and Nicolas Williot during a press conference on Typhaine's alleged disappearance on June 24th 2009 in Maubeuge (Nord Département)

At the Douai (Nord Département) Court of Assizes on January 25th 2013, Anne-Sophie Faucheur, aged 26, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, to serve a minimum term of 20 years, for the murder of her five-year-old daughter Typhaine in June 2009. Her partner, Nicolas Willot, aged 27, received the same sentence.

The verdict met with silence from the accused and members of Typhaine's father's family, who all wore white T shirts bearing an image of the little girl. 

The couple were also found guilty of making false statements to make people believe the child had disappeared. FranceTV unravels the threads of the child's six months of suffering.

Abducted while leaving school

Typhaine is born on April 6th 2004. Anne-Sophie Faucheur, already mother to Caroline aged one, is 18 years old. This second child arrives too quickly, too soon. "From the pregnancy on, it's difficult, I reject her somewhat,"  the young woman states from the witness box. The couple's relationship falls apart and they separate in December 2005. François Taton, the father, has custody of Typhaine and lives with his mother. Anne-Sophie Faucheur has Caroline, an informal agreement, made without going before a court. 

Apart from occasional visits, on her birthday and at Christmas, the relationship between the mother and her younger daughter is almost non-existent. But on January 22nd 2009, she comes to pick up her daughter from school, under the pretext that Typhaine's father has had an accident. She takes Typhaine to Aulnoye-Aymeries, where she is living with her new partner, Nicolas Willot. She justified herself before the court by saying that she missed Typhaine. 

François Taton begins the process of recovering his daughter. "I went to the Lille Central police station and they didn't take any action because there was no court order," for custody of the children, he explains at the hearing, according to reports by our colleagues at France 3. "I consulted two lawyers for getting Typhaine back. But that was going to take some time because it required making an application to a court bailiff to find her address. From the moment I had it, I went there every weekend, but they had moved house, and I never saw Typhaine again. On the day she took her, neither I nor any member of my family were able to say goodbye to her." 

 photo Typhainefather_zps0cc62055.jpg

Typhaine's father, François Taton, at the court in Douai on January 21st 2013

From "happy," child to "ghost," child

Typhaine's arrival at her mother's house does not go well. "I had idealised our reunion. It didn't occur to me that she might be disturbed. I think I expected so much,   I wasn't thinking straight. In February, I began to be very authoritarian, hard," the accused came out with in the witness box. "Why did you come for her?" Typhaine's grandmother threw at her. "She was happy, she had a home, a father, her aunts, her cousins, security, she was alive and she was happy with us."

grandmother photo Typhainegrandmother_zps6115faa5.jpg

Marie-José Taton, Typhaine's grandmother, at the court in Douai.

"The smacks quickly began to rain down," recounts her partner, "The situation deteriorated rapidly. Typhaine was a shy, withdrawn child, never happy, whatever we did. That attitude annoyed Anne-Sophie," he recalls, "She hit her when she got angry. Any excuse." He acknowledged that he himself began to beat the child in May.

Spankings, beaten with a belt, kicks and punches, cold shower. The ill-treatment increased, in many ways recalling the suffering endured by Marinaanother victim of deadly abuse whose parents were sentenced in June to 30 years in prison. Like her, Typhaine was regularly locked in the cellar, in the dark, chained up. Like her, she was regularly deprived of food. Like her, she was taken out of school. No one saw her. 

 "Typhaine was a ghost child," a Lille police officer offered in the witness box. "I must have seen her in the garden two or three times between Easter and May. When I was told she was 5, I was astonished. She was so tiny," a neighbour, who was the last person to see the little girl alive on May 20th, testified. During his plea, the lawyer for the association, Enfance et partage drew attention to the responsibility of the education department in this affair: "The school's directors did very little for six months. It would take until June 11th for the schools inspection service to contact the public prosecutor. It would be too late."

(francetvinfo 25/01/2013)