“There would not have been this tragedy” : judged for the murder of the young Maëlys in 2017, Nordahl Lelandais declared Friday February 4 that the little girl would still be alive if her ex-companion had replied to the message he sent her the night of the events.
“If I had come to see you, it would have changed everything, I would have left the wedding and the little one would still be here., says the 38-year-old accused, standing in the box, addressing his former companion in tears at the bar.
“It wasn’t up to you?” You have your free will, Mr. Lelandais, insists President Valérie Blain.
– If my girlfriend had replied to the message, I would not have stayed at the wedding, I would have gone to sleep at her place, he replies.
“And nothing would have happened?”
– Yes “, he replies.
An “indecent” assertion
Reacting shortly after to this exchange, the lawyer for Maëlys’ mother, Me Fabien Rajon, judged “indecent to make this unfortunate ex-companion feel guilty by telling her that, if she had replied to her text message, little Maëlys would not have died”.
“It’s absolutely unbearable”, commented for his part the lawyer of the father of Maëlys, Me Laurent Boguet, judging that “Nordahl Lelandais is the man of pretexts, false excuses, the man of lies”.
The court had previously listened to the recording of a telephone conversation between the two lovers dating back to October 2017, when Nordahl Lelandais was already in prison, suspected of the murder. In this exchange, he had denied any link with the disappearance of the little girl and had implored the young woman not to “to doubt” of him. “They drive me crazy with their stories, but you’re not going to doubt me. It’s aberrant, it’s crazy, it’s a sick thing, assured the former soldier. I would have preferred to spend the evening with you moreover, there was nothing exceptional in this marriage. If I had known… “
He had also acknowledged in this conversation that he had ” speak “ to Maëlys, who had seen the photo of her dogs on her phone during the evening. “But there are others who have spoken to the girl”, he had swept away.
A “possible sexual motive”
The question of a possible tendency to pedophilia of the accused is at the heart of the trial. The former soldier must also answer for the sexual assault of two little cousins aged 4 and 6 at the time, as well as the possession and recording of child pornography images.
These facts had been discovered during the investigation into the disappearance of Maëlys when the investigators had got hold of videos of the touching, filmed by telephone, which date back to July and August 2017. He is accused of having caressed the sex of his 4-year-old cousin at the time, when she slept alone in a room. Then to have reproduced these same gestures, in the same circumstances, a few weeks later on another 6-year-old cousin.
“These sexual assaults were committed, even if Nordahl Lelandais is presumed innocent, for one of them six weeks before the facts concerning Maëlys, the other, a week before the facts concerning Maëlys”, noted the lawyer for the parents of the two little cousins, Ms.e Caroline Remond. “That obviously raises the question of a possible sexual motive concerning Maëlys de Araujo, given the proximity in age of these girls and the proximity in terms of temporality”, she pointed out.
Maëlys de Araujo, 8, had disappeared during a wedding at the end of August 2017 in the village hall of Pont-de-Beauvoisin (Isère). Quickly suspected, Nordahl Lelandais had denied for several months before admitting, in February 2018, to having “involuntarily” killed the girl by kicking her.