A mother of four is being prosecuted in France for killing her husband after decades of sexual, physical and psychological abuse since adolescence.
The case has drawn him wide attention and support, amid a nationwide calculation with long-standing taboos on domestic abuse.
Valerie Bacot, 40, has admitted to killing Daniel Polette in 2016. She risks life in prison for murder.
Polette was first her stepfather before becoming her husband and forcing her into prostitution.
A verdict is expected on Friday in the court of Chalon-sur-Saone, in central France.
The prosecutor has asked for a year in prison and a four-year suspended sentence, which means Bacot could be released from court because he has already served time in pretrial detention.
The prosecutor said he does not consider it a danger to society.
Bacot fainted when he heard the prosecutor’s requests Friday morning, prompting the trial to be suspended until noon.
His story has moved advocates of domestic violence, with more than 680,000 signing a petition for his release.
“I had to put an end to it,” Bacot, 40, wrote in a book published last month called “Everyone Knew,” adding, “I was scared all the time.”
The trial opened Monday.
Bacot was twelve years old when Polette, who was 25 years older, first raped her.
He was sent to prison, but after his release returned and resumed the serial rapes.
“She told my mother that she would not start again. But he did, ”he told the court.
At 17, Bacot became pregnant, her alcoholic mother kicked her out of the house, and she moved in with Polette.
“I wanted to keep my son. I had no one. Where could I go? “He told the court.
Polette, also a drinker, became increasingly violent, attacking her with a hammer at one point.
“At first he would slap me, later he would get kicked, then punched and then suffocated,” he said, describing his life as “extreme hell”.
Polette ordered her to work as a prostitute for truck drivers, with the back of a Peugeot trunk, and gave her instructions through a headset that forced her to wear to make sure she met the demands of the customers she charged. between the ages of 20 and 50. euros (between $ 24 and $ 59).
Investigators established that Polette would threaten to kill her if she refused, often pointing a gun at her.
When Polette began questioning her 14-year-old daughter Karline about her incipient sexuality, Bacot said she decided “this has to stop.”
In March 2016, after Polette ordered Bacot to suffer further sexual humiliation by a client, he used the gun he kept in the car to kill him with a single bullet in the back of his neck while he was in the car. driver’s seat.
Bacot said he wanted to make sure his daughter did not suffer the same fate as her.
“I wanted to save her,” he said.
The circumstances of the shooting rule out any possible claim to self-defense.
Bacot hid Polette’s body in a forest with the help of two of her four children. In October 2017 she was arrested, confessed and released a year later on bail.
He made no comment when he arrived in court on Monday, a light figure with a ponytail and a black jacket that seemed intimidated by the crowd of reporters.
Her lawyers said before the trial that “the extreme violence she suffered for 25 years and the fear of her daughter following” pushed her to kill Polette.
The same lawyers, Janine Bonaggiunta and Nathalie Tomasini, had already defended Jacqueline Sauvage, a Frenchwoman who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her abusive husband but obtained a presidential pardon in 2016 after becoming a a symbol of the fight against violence against women.
“These women victims of violence have no protection. The judiciary is still too slow, not reactive enough and too lenient towards perpetrators who may continue to exercise their violent power, “Bonaggiunta told AFP news agency.
“This is precisely what can push a desperate woman to kill to survive,” he said.
Bacot was “sure she needed to commit this act to protect her children,” according to a court assessment.