“There is a body wrapped in a tarpaulin”: at the trial of the death of Aurélie Vaquier, the story of an extraordinary investigation

“There is a body wrapped in a tarpaulin”: at the trial of the death of Aurélie Vaquier, the story of an extraordinary investigation

Le procès de Samire Lymani a débuté mardi 9 janvier devant la cour d'assises de l'Hérault. MIDI LIBRE – Y.P.

Samire Lymani has been on trial at the Hérault assizes since Tuesday January 9 for "murder of a spouse". He faces life imprisonment for having killed and buried his partner in Bédarieux. Aurélie Vaquier was found on April 7, 2021. The accused denies any involvement.

In the accused box, Samire Lymani, 41 years old, black sweater, angular jaw, the back of his head shaved, holds his head in his hands, his gaze downcast.

In front of him, on the screens of the Hérault Assize Court, President Sylvie Gossent, on the first day of the hearing, scrolls through the photos of the discovery of the body of Aurélie Vaquier.

The family of the deceased leaves the room. It was April 7, 2021, in Bédarieux: two and a half months after her mysterious disappearance, this 38-year-old Héraultaise was finally found.

Under boxes and other belongings, we can see a 20 cm platform, which interests the investigators during this third search of the couple's home.

"It had been decided on special means, dogs specialized in searching for human remains and a georadar", recalls, at the helm, adjutant Dugué, the director of ;rsquo;investigation.

Four "odor wells" are drilled below the carpet and the floor, in a concrete sarcophagus which appears, a mixture of sand and lime.

"We highlight the presence of a human hand"

The dogs react all the more when a wick comes out, with a reddish liquid, chasing the gendarme. We highlight the presence of a human hand. There is a body wrapped in a tarpaulin, the tattoos, of the name of her cat in particular, make us understand that it is indeed Aurélie Vaquier."

In the following image, the body appears, in its tomb, with pink slippers on its feet proving that the victim was killed in her house and that she was not gone to get some fresh air.

In the box, Lymani wipes the corner of his eye with a white handkerchief. And often looks up to the sky. He vigorously defends his position from the start of the trial, when the court asks him if he recognizes what amounts to feminicide.

"I am here to fight for Aurélie"

"Madam President, I am innocent as since day one! I'm here to fight for Aurélie and not against anyone in the room!", he says, scanning the audience.

The former soldier and truck driver met Aurélie Vaquier in the summer of 2020, during a shared accommodation. "The relationship began with a very strong friendship and led to deep love… There were arguments, but we had hope for better days and everything stopped, suddenly,” he says, referring to the discovery of the body. .

The accused also swears his innocence, but in a more indignant posture, at the close of the proceedings.
"I have nothing to do in prison, Madam Judge! I need to see my children,” he storms, “it’s been three years and we’re still at the same point!" 

The incidents in prison have just been mentioned, a fight with a fellow inmate, broken glass and a jet of water, because he was caught with 20 g of shit and a cell phone and sentenced to six months of detention.

"It deserved a reprieve", he says, sure of himself.

Between these projections, Lymani, like the jurors, was able to hear the gendarmes carrying out their investigations for more than four hours.

A long summary of the charges against the accused: from his strange attitudes, hasty departure and others, his lies, to his evolving statements, to the technical findings on the telephone. For the investigators, everything is overwhelming.

"No other credible leads could be brought to light"

"No other credible leads could be brought to light. Mr. Lymani is the main suspect and he may be involved in the death of Aurélie Vaquier, says Adjutant Dugué.

Enough to anger Me Mathieu Monfort, in defense, who takes up this list à la Prévert and emphasizes two supposedly weak points. First, the DNA print found on the tarpaulin in which Aurélie Vaquier was wrapped and which was not identified, opening the hypothesis of a third person responsible for the murder, as Lymani supposes.

What mobile ?

The criminal lawyer then asks the question of Lymani's motive, what would it be ? "A question of money ? A romantic reason ?"

"Indeed, there is no obvious motive that emerges", admits the gendarme.

But in the process, the second investigator from the Montpellier research section, who conducted the police custody hearings, gives a new account. He mentions the suspect's non-reaction when it is confirmed that the decomposing body is indeed that of his partner.

Above all, he underlines this detail which, for him, signs the guilt of a Lymani « lunar » during his testimony: "If we inform someone of the death of a loved one, there is necessarily a question that is asked: what did they die of?? Mr. Lymani did not tell us asked the question, perhaps he already had the answer." Continuation of the debates this Wednesday, January 10.

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