Murder or suicide? Five years after Pierre’s death, his family wants to reopen the investigation

Agnès Guepratte is under the Virey bridge (Manche) where her son Pierre was found dead on November 20, 2017. ©Thomas SAVALLE

Described as happy, laughing, in touch with life, Pierre Guepratte died at age 20. His body was found November 20, 2017under the bridge between Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouet and Virey (Manche), which straddles La Sélune.

Of the flowers embellish the Virey bridge recently. Agnès Guepratte has just completed a pretty fresco who pays homage to his son. In the middle of the bridge, we discover a frame with the photo of Pierre. There are also other faces: Mickaël, Christine, Margot, Karl, Medhi and Gwen. “These are all forgotten by justice”emphasizes Agnès Guepratte.

Pierre’s mother wants to create a place for families who feel abandoned by the legal system.

I come here every day.

Agnes Guepratte

His death remains a mystery

Five years later, the wound remains open for Pierre’s family. The official version evokes a death by suicide. Agnès Guepratte never believed this story. For her, he was murdered. “He didn’t kill himself. He had the joy of living, ”repeats the one who claims to be able to denounce people if the investigation is not relaunched.

During the hearing at the Caen Court of Appeal of Tuesday 29 March 2022, the Advocate General requested confirmation of dismissal. He considered that a resumption of the investigations would lead to the same conclusions, namely that Pierre ended his life. Tuesday, September 20, 2022, the investigating chamber will decide whether or not to reopen an investigation.

The detail of his morning

What really happened that day, there is soon five years ? In the morning, the young man, dressed in a black sweater and a thick sleeveless jacket, meets and talks with Corinne Gesbert, music teacher “I knew him from a very young age. That day, he explained to me that he wanted to do some oil changes in his father’s garage “, testified the music teacher, on December 19, 2018, in The Channel Gazette.

Pierre Guepratte was 20 years old when he died on November 20, 2017. The family considers that his death still remains unexplained.
Pierre Guepratte was 20 years old when he died on November 20, 2017. The family considers that his death still remains unexplained. ©La Gazette de la Manche

He had bought a leash

This young boy, frail and rather tall, bought a leash for his dog coming from the SPA. It circulates at bicycle and told his father that he should be back around noon. The parents are worried about not seeing him return. They then contact the gendarmerie of Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët.

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A little later in the day, one of the patrols saw a black mountain bike, located on the Moulin de Virey road at a place called La Guinguette. under this bridge, Peter’s body is found lifeless, in a sitting position with the dog’s collar around his neck.

“No traces of stigmata”

The relief arrive twenty minutes after the arrival of the gendarmes at 5:05 p.m. The emergency doctor from the SMUR of the Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët hospital center certify the death at 5:15 p.m.

In his certificate, the doctor indicates that “the examination did not reveal any traces or stigmata physical violence and that the cause of death appears to be hanging”. Pierre Guepratte is buried in the cemetery of Virey on November 24, 2017.

Pierre Guepratte was 20 years old when he died on November 20, 2017. The family considers that his death still remains unexplained.
Pierre Guepratte suffered from a language disorder. He was particularly vulnerable in his relationship to others. ©La Gazette de la Manche

An investigation opened after

Did anyone blame him? Did he have a bad encounter at some point? But why ? What would be the motive? These questions remain unanswered. “He had no enemy. I don’t see why anyone would want to hurt him,” said an anonymous source.

Under family pressure, a preliminary investigation for murder is open on January 15, 2018, by an examining magistrate and led by the gendarmerie brigade of Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët. Several people are heard.

An autopsy performed in 2019

“We want the autopsy of our son’s body,” said Agnès Guepratte, February 27, 2019. white march, posters plastered in the city. The mother threatened to start a hunger-strike. Pierre’s body finally left for the Forensic Institute of Caen on Monday May 20, 2019more than a year after the death of his son.

Why was such a medical examination not carried out as soon as Pierre died?

Agnes Guepratte

The autopsy did not nothing given. “The absence of traumatic muscular lesions in the neck was explained by the degraded state of the body at the time of the analysis”, wrote the forensic doctors, according to our information.

Pierre Guépratte died at the age of 20, in November 2017.
According to Pierre’s mother, “no trace of hanging was visible on our son’s body when he died. The people who came to the mortuary confirm this. » ©La Gazette de la Manche

The desecrated grave

Always amazing, since the loss of their son, the family has experienced reprisals. They received anonymous calls. First the sister, Léa. She allegedly received malicious calls from November 20, 2017, the day her brother’s body was discovered, to December 23, 2017.

On August 22, 2022, mother’s car was strafed with a pellet gun. Wednesday, May 15, 2019, shortly before the autopsy, the tomb of the young man is desecrated, the ruined flowers or stolen.

“The investigation was botched”

“The investigation was botched,” says Meriem Baba, the lawyer of the family, who are hopeful that the Caen Court of Appeal decide to reopen the investigation on September 20. “Nothing could be exploited. The scene of crime has been soiled. They returned all the belongings to the parents, without looking for a trace or a clue. It’s a mistake, ”says the lawyer. “They took no precautions. »

They made the suicide hypothesis a certainty.

Me Meriem Baba

During the hearing in the Court of Appeal, the Advocate General “recognized the faults of the gendarmes, but that we had to deal with. Then the investigating judge conducted a flawless investigation. Firstly, the lawyer would like a reconstitution of the facts. “The Guepratte family has experienced many malicious acts. They have always been minimized, ”says the lawyer.

Family and friends of Pierre Guepratte, near one of the billboards displayed in Saint-Hilaire for a week.
Family and friends of Pierre Guepratte, near one of the billboards displayed in Saint-Hilaire for a week in 2019. ©Florian Hervieux

No communication

The Gendarmerie of La Manche declined to comment on the matter.

Michael Giraudet, district Attorney of Coutances, recently arrived in the department. He did not follow this case. “I don’t know anything about this file, which was opened a very long time before my arrival,” says Michaël Giraudet. He cannot therefore “answer our questions”.

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Murder or suicide? Five years after Pierre’s death, his family wants to reopen the investigation