January 26, 2022

before the trial of Nordahl Lelandais, images of the reconstruction of the murder unveiled

The reconstruction was used for justice as well as investigators to retrace the unfolding of the facts as well as to understand how the girl had been killed that night of August 2017.

Timeline of a night of horror. While the start of a new trial for Nordahl Lelandais is due to open on January 31, this time for the murder of little Maëlys on the night of August 26 to 27, 2017 on the sidelines of a wedding in Pont- de-Beauvoisin in Isère, BFMTV obtained several photographs of a reconstruction which took place in September 2018, a year after the events, in the presence of the alleged killer.

Nordahl Lelandais and his Audi brand vehicle, in September 2018
Nordahl Lelandais and his Audi brand vehicle, in September 2018 © BFMTV

These different photos show Nordahl Lelandais, dressed in black and sporting a graying beard, at the wheel of his Audi brand vehicle. Friend of the groom, he had been indicted on September 3, initially for “kidnapping”, after the discovery of a DNA trace of the girl in the same car.

On November 30 of that same year, video surveillance images showed, according to investigators, that the suspect had left the party with the child and then returned alone. He was then indicted for murder.

Nordahl Lelandais during the reconstruction of the kidnapping and murder of Maëlys, in September 2018
Nordahl Lelandais during the reconstruction of the kidnapping and murder of Maëlys, in September 2018 © BFMTV

In these photos, Maëlys is represented by a mannequin dressed in white. The above photograph represents the moment when the girl is about to get into Lelandais’ car, according to him after he offered to go see his animals. A version which is questioned by the lawyers of the civil parties.

On the way, Maëlys would have started to cry and the thirty-something would have hit her, blows which caused death.

Nordahl Lelandais during a reenactment of September 2018
Nordahl Lelandais during a September 2018 reenactment © BFMTV

Shortly after the facts, Nordahl Lelandais abandoned the body of the victim before going to his home where he would have changed. The suspect then left for the wedding in order to forge an alibi with the guests.

If the latter has always denied having sexually assaulted Maëlys, the testimony of a fellow detainee claiming in 2018 that he confided in him having raped the girl before killing her is on file. But the investigating judges finally dismissed any prosecution for rape in October 2020.

Nordahl Lelandais during a reenactment, September 18, 2018
Nordahl Lelandais during a reenactment, September 18, 2018 © BFMTV

On February 14, 2018, after the discovery of a bloodstain in his car, he admits having killed Maelys “involuntarily” and leads investigators to his body at Mont Grèle, in Savoie, in a town near Domessin where his parents reside.

This reconstruction is extremely important for justice and investigators since it allows to understand the exact chronology of the facts and the circumstances of the tragedy. After returning to the wedding, Nordahl Lelandais leaves the scene around 4 a.m. and returns to where he left the corpse of Maëlys, which he moved 18 kilometers.

Nordahl Lelandais during a reenactment in September 2018
Nordahl Lelandais during a reenactment in September 2018 © BFMTV

Three weeks of trial

The Grenoble trial promises to be resounding because of the media coverage of the case and the age of its victim, combined with the opaque personality of the alleged killer.

For Pascale Vernay, the first president of the Grenoble Court of Appeal, “the main challenge is the presence of the media”, with already more than 130 journalists for around thirty media.

“This is not a particularly unusual case in terms of the facts (…). But we knew full well that this case would attract many media from all over France,” she said in an interview with AFP.

The organization of this trial event has been anticipated for a long time, in particular with the sending of observers to the Chambéry Assize Court. The Grenoble courthouse, built 20 years ago, has the advantage of being much more modern and functional than that of Chambéry, which dates from the 19th century.

To cope with the influx of journalists and the public, the organizers obtained additional funds to open a second room with 60 seats with video transmission. They also increased security both inside and outside the building.

The trial was scheduled for three weeks (January 31 to February 18), a rare length for this kind of case.

“You never know how a hearing takes place. (…) For security we preferred to count on three weeks, even if it is finished before”, explains Pascale Vernay.

Special measures have been taken to “protect” the civil parties: this time inspired by the trial of the attacks of November 13, it was decided to provide them with different colored cords showing the people wishing or not to be contacted by the media. . Jurors will be able to benefit from psychological assistance if they wish.

Already condemned

The former military dog ​​handler is also on trial for sexual assault on two of his little cousins ​​of five and six years old, during the same summer of 2017, and for possession and recording of child pornographic images.

In addition, Nordahl Lelandais has already been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the murder of Corporal Arthur Noyer, 23, who disappeared near Chambéry on the night of April 11 to 12, 2017.