20-year sentence for burning his ex-spouse alive

20-year sentence for burning his ex-spouse alive


Frej Haj Messaoud was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of his ex-spouse, whom he had tried to burn alive in the middle of the street in Quebec in August 2019.

Judge Guy De Blois described the account of the events given by the victim during the trial as horrific. “The description made by Madame is blood-curdling,” dropped the judge about the assault, but also the climate of terror instituted by the accused during their life together.

“It is difficult to imagine that such a scenario is possible in Canada in our time”, insisted the magistrate, specifying that the aggravating factors were numerous and heavy.

High risk of recidivism

The crown had requested an exemplary sentence of life in prison for the accused, who has been detained since the start of the legal proceedings. A pre-sentence report filed in court notably led the crown to believe that Frej Haj Messaoud would represent a degree of dangerousness and risk of recidivism that is still high.

“He remains camped in distorted perceptions > and goes after the few means he has left to keep a hold on Madame and attack her reputation. Thus, the risk of recidivism seems important to us”, explained Me Sabrina Lambert-Michel.

For its part, the defense demanded a sentence ranging from 7 to 15 years in prison, believing that the case law in such matters dictated such a sentence. Me Luc Picard indicated in particular that his client's decision to plead guilty was a mitigating factor.

Recap of the events

Haj Messaoud, who had 42 years old on Sunday, had attacked his ex-spouse in the summer of 2019, in the Saint-Sauveur district. He showed up at her house on the evening of August 9 after spending several days following her by the GPS movements of her cell phone.

While she was leaning in the trunk of her car, the accused grabbed her from behind, covering her mouth before pouring gasoline on her body. Ignoring his victim's cries of distress and pleading, he lit a lighter, igniting it in the space of a split second. The drama was played out under the horrified eyes of the mother of the victim and the little girl of the former couple, separated for about a year.

Wiem Haj Amor had managed to get out of his clothes on fire with the help of a neighbour. She suffered third degree burns over 30% of her body, mostly on her back, neck and arms. She confided during the trial to still today have many physical and psychological consequences of the attack.

More details to come…

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