What sentence for William Vincent, this 53-year-old Sénonais suspected of having murdered André Kerckhove, in June 2018, in Saint-Sérotin? Judged since Wednesday June 15, 2022 by the Paris Assize Court of Appeal, the fifty-year-old faces life imprisonment. During the appeal trial, he provided few answers to the court and to the civil parties. Yes, “it was he” who fired, yes it was indeed a “punitive expedition” and he was accompanied to the scene by a friend with whom he “set his mind”. Nothing or almost, on the other hand, on what forged his conviction that André Kerckhove is a pedophile.
premium Assassination of André Kerckhove judged on appeal in Paris: William Vincent admits having led “a punitive expedition”
“An Endless Nightmare”
“It only exists in his head, it’s a pipe dream. William Vincent is a paranoid lost in his rantings,” argued Advocate General Rémi Crosson du Cormier, head of the Paris Assize Court. For him, the jurors will have to find “the balance between suffering and horror”, in a case “terrifying, abominable, holding delirium and the fantasies of an obsessional.” In view of the facts “materially established” and “acknowledged by the accused”, he requested thirty years of criminal imprisonment with two-thirds security. A sentence equivalent to that pronounced at first instance on June 4, 2021.
The verdict will be the epilogue of an “endless nightmare” for the family of the victim, sullied by the “ignominy” of William Vincent, who had convinced himself that the retired horticulturist, allegedly associated with a pedophile network, wanted to kidnap his daughter. “The house was sealed for two years, it was ransacked and looted. We couldn’t even recover our memories,” explained André Kerckhove’s son. “He’s ready to say anything. He smears my father’s memory, that’s the worst thing to say, it has to stop!” Added his sister, describing the victim as “charming, intelligent , cultivated and invested in the associative environment.”
I’ve been dreaming about my grandfather for four years and they’ve been nightmares for four years. Or when I approach him, he disappears.”
Her granddaughter, now 22, remembers. “He had just turned 70 and I was 18. We were supposed to have a big party with the whole family on June 30, 2018.” Three days after the discovery of the body. “I’ve been dreaming of my grandfather for four years and they’ve been nightmares for four years. Or when I approach him, he disappears” she explained in tears, but with great dignity , in front of the court. “Thanks to your decision, they will be able to raise their heads a little, André Kerckhove will become “Dédé” again and we will keep a bright memory of him”, pleaded Me Archibald Celeyron, the lawyer for the civil parties.
premium Assassination of André Kerckhove judged on appeal in Paris: was the accused a victim of incest in his childhood?
“He lost himself”
Me Florian Grigis tried to shed another light. He portrayed William Vincent as “a good father, a citizen like everyone else who had lovers, a daughter, and who could be anyone’s troublesome cousin”. And to wonder about what led the 50-year-old to “attack on the most sacred value: life.” “If no one can pierce this shell, it’s because you have to judge a man who may have lost himself. No man comes to earth to do evil. Everything finds an explanation”, pleaded the lawyer. Explanations that could be related to his childhood, he who suffered “an emotional and educational deficiency”. Or in his way of life, “alone, in his caravan”. And where for him, “the danger is the others”. One thing is certain, “he wanted to give his daughter the life he hadn’t had”.
Verdict. Left to deliberate around 1:30 p.m. this Friday, June 17, 2022, the Paris Assize Court of Appeal will deliver its decision in the afternoon.