The “killer of the Perpignan station” Jacques Rançon tried in Amiens for a “cold case” of 35 years

Already convicted of other crimes, Jacques Rançon appears this Tuesday for the rape and murder of Isabelle Mesnage, whose body was found in 1986.

The “Perpignan station killerWas he first a killer from the Somme? Sentenced to life imprisonment for the rapes and murders of two women, Jacques Rançon appears from Tuesday in Amiens for those of Isabelle Mesnage, a “cold case35-year-old. The 61-year-old former forklift truck operator will be tried for the rape and murder of this 20-year-old young woman, whose body was found on July 3, 1986 on the edge of a wood in Cachy, near Amiens.

«It really makes sense for families to have an answer, to know who did it, why. It is justice rendered for their daughter, even if (Jacques Rançon) is obviously less dangerous for society“Being already condemned, notes Corinne Herrmann, the lawyer of the civil parties, among which the elderly parents of the young computer scientist. It is thanks to the tenacity of this lawyer and her colleague Didier Seban that the case will be judged at the Assizes de la Somme, while the investigation ended in a dismissal in 1992.

In 2017, these specialists in unsolved cases demand the reopening of the investigations, in view of the similarities with the murders in Perpignan of Moktaria Chaïb and Marie-Hélène Gonzalez, whose bodies had undergone significant mutilation, in particular of the genitals.

Confessions then retraction

These murders dated back to 1997 and 1998 but the link with Jacques Rançon was not established until 2014, thanks to his DNA identified on a shoe from Moktaria. For these two cases, Jacques Rançon was sentenced in 2018 to life imprisonment with a safety period of 22 years. According to the intuition of the lawyers, the prosecution reopens the judicial information in the Mesnage file. “Everything happened really fast», Underlines Me Herrmann, praising the efficiency of the investigators and magistrates.

The body is exhumed, the lesions compared with those of the other victims, a job complicated by the advanced state of decomposition in which it was found. Placed in custody in Béziers, where he is serving his sentence, Jacques Rançon ends up confessing to the murder at the seventh hearing. He repeats his confession in front of the investigating judge … before retracting in a letter, saying he was pressured by investigators. Corinne Herrmann, who sees in him “the caricature of a «serial killer», who signs their acts with precise procedures», Assures to have been«amazed»By the similarities between the photos of the bodies of Moktaria Chaïb and Isabelle Mesnage. In addition to the operating mode, geography also seems to designate this Picard, who grew up a few km from Cachy.

Multiple convictions for assault and rape

At 16, he committed his first sexual assault – for which he was never prosecuted – in this area. Then, in 1992, a woman raped there at the threat of a knife, which earned her an eight-year prison sentence. During his trial in Perpignan, he was also accused of having attempted to rape a third woman and of having left a fourth for dead. His criminal record includes other convictions for assault on women and death threats and spousal violence.

In 1986, the man, who worked as an assembler of mobile balls, was in a relationship but often disappeared for long hours at night, according to his partner at the time. For his lawyer, Xavier Capelet, “Jacques Rançon’s personality will make it difficult for jurors to pronounce an acquittal“, more “prosecution and civil party may have gone a little quickly». «Our role will be to try to square things up and say what is or is not in this file.», He insists, describing a ransom«combative“, who “wants to defend himself“, Unlike the Perpignan trial he addressedvery dejected».

While the lawyer regrets that his client acts as “ideal culprit for many facts“, Me Herrmann insists on the need to”check all files in the region“, Where several murders of women remain unsolved:”maybe it’s her first crime, maybe notShe breathes.

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