In its verdict, the court was convinced of the guilt of the defendants. Sentences ranging from 12 to 20 years of imprisonment were pronounced Friday, April 2 at the Assizes of Cher against four men accused of the murder of the young Mathieu Hocquet in Vierzon in 1999, a “cold case” relaunched 19 years later thanks to an anonymous information . Defense lawyers do not rule out appealing.
Prosecuted for “kidnapping, kidnapping and arbitrary detention followed by death”, they faced life imprisonment. Bouchaïb Mohib and Driss Belkhouribchia were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Samir Berkani to 18 years (all three said they were innocent) and Cyril Bourguignon to 12 years.
The jurors did not grant Cyril Bourguignon the benefit of a law concerning returnees and which could reduce their sentence. The latter had admitted having driven a car which was to be used to abduct the victim.
On July 13, 1999, Mathieu Hocquet’s lifeless body was found, his head smashed, in a dead end along an artisanal zone in Vierzon. The autopsy had revealed that the young man had been massacred, before dying from “a subdural hematoma”, President Audrey Debeugny recalled Monday.
The investigators had initially followed a sexual trail, then local, but for lack of result the justice had pronounced a dismissal in 2005. The four defendants, now between 41 and 45 years old, were arrested and indicted in 2018, a few months after an anonymous information was received by the judicial police of Orléans.
The investigation was this time oriented towards a villainous motive. At the time of the facts, Mathieu Hocquet, then aged 22, worked in a fast food restaurant in Vierzon and, according to one advanced hypothesis, was attacked to recover the recipe of the establishment that employed him.