Justine Jotham, placed in pre-trial detention for the murder of her husband, Patrice Charlemagne, here in a photo dating from December 2019, during a rehearsal of the Semper Fidelis orchestra. MARC DEMEURE / PHOTOPQR / VOIX DU NORD / MAXPPP
The legal proceedings are progressing, even if questions remain in the case of the academic killed in Dunkirk (North). This Friday, his wife, Justine Jotham, was indicted for murder, that is to say premeditated murder, and placed in pre-trial detention, announced Charlotte Huet, the Dunkirk prosecutor, during a ‘a press conference.
The victim, Patrice Charlemagne, 51, died following several stab wounds received at his home in Rosendaël, a residential area on the outskirts of the city, on the night of September 17 to 18. His wife, born in 1986, alerted the police at 4 a.m. Monday, claiming that she had left the area with her 20-month-old daughter following the intrusion of burglars. At the same time, an investigation into intentional homicide was entrusted to the judicial police.
The burglary theory was quickly ruled out. “The technical and scientific findings at the crime scene as well as the medical-judicial examinations carried out on the victim and his wife revealed inconsistencies with his statements”, explained Charlotte Huet. Placed in police custody on Wednesday, Justine Jotham, who remains presumed innocent, admitted to having stabbed her husband. “My client is devastated. She has cooperated with investigators and will continue to do so, as she committed to doing.”added his lawyer, Me Charlotte Catrix.
“A demanding teacher”
While a source close to the investigation mentioned to Agence France-Presse “tensions in the couple” noted thanks to the analysis of smartphones, the Dunkirk prosecutor simply mentioned “first elements” Who “remain to be explored” concerning the motive, specifying that no complaint or hand in hand in the marital sphere had been reported to the public prosecutor’s office.
This tragedy had a strong impact on the Dunkirk community, as both the victim and the accused were well known in the region. “The atmosphere is heavy at the moment”, confides a student from the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale (ULCO), where Patrice Charlemagne and Justine Jotham both taught. This Friday, security guards were located at the entrance to the premises to prevent the passage of journalists, who had come in large numbers in recent days. “We try to manage the emotions of our staff, teaching team and students as best we can”explains Carl Vetters, vice-president of the university for communication and culture.
Patrice Charlemagne. PATRICE CHARLEMAGNE / LINKEDIN
A psychological unit was set up on Monday. In post since 1999, Patrice Charlemagne, associate professor of German with Dutch option, taught both languages within the technical marketing department of the IUT, of which he had been the director for several years. Carl Vetters remembers “from a demanding teacher”more “whose skills and enthusiasm were appreciated by the students” and that “managed to pass on to them his passion for languages”. For the university community, “the shock was double” after Justine Jotham’s confession, recognizes the vice-president. A doctor and lecturer in literature, the defendant also demonstrated “obvious teaching abilities”selon Carl Vetters.
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