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Murder of Isabelle Mesnage: Jacques Rançon, “killer of Perpignan station”, sentenced to 30 years in prison

Jacques Rançon was sentenced this Saturday, June 12 to 30 years of criminal imprisonment with a security sentence of 20 years by the Assize Court of the Somme for the rape and murder of Isabelle Mesnage in the summer of 1986.

The jurors followed the requisitions of the general counsel against the former 61-year-old warehouse operator, already sentenced in 2018 to life imprisonment for the rapes and murders of two women near the Perpignan station in 1997 and 1998.

“In Jacques Rançon’s mind, everything is sexual, violent sexuality”, had launched the lawyer general Anne-Laure Sandretto during his requisitions, on the fifth and last day of this trial.

Jacques Rançon had confessed in 2019 to having raped Isabelle Mesnage, a 20-year-old computer scientist found dead on the edge of a wood near Amiens, to have strangled her, then to have cut her penis and her breasts to erase her DNA. He had repeated his confession before the examining magistrate, before retracting by mail.

“We are not very surprised. The deliberation still lasted more than four hours. In such a case, it’s a small victory because it shows that the verdict has been discussed ”, reacted to AFP Me Gérald Brivet-Galaup, his lawyer, who had pleaded for acquittal. “Logic would like him to appeal”, he clarified.

Me Didier Seban, lawyer of the civil parties, informed him of his “Satisfaction” with “The idea that justice is finally done in a case which is now 35 years old”.

This Saturday morning, Anne-Laure Sandretto painted the portrait of a man “In reinforced concrete which has no emotional vibration”, “Unfathomable”, “Silent” and “Dangerous”, passing “From an ordinary life to a life of horror when he is unleashed by his impulses”.

Jacques Rançon, “killer of the Perpignan station”, confesses the rape and murder of Isabelle Mesnage

In front of an impassive defendant, his head lowered in his box, she detailed the list of “Charges”, in particular the place of the facts, ” hunting-ground “ of Jacques Rançon, close to his home at the time, a place he “Knows perfectly” and where he has “Already made two known victims”.

The Advocate General also noted the “Concordance” between Isabelle Mesnage’s disappearance and the accused’s schedule that day. As to “Operating mode”, she recalled the “Similarity of injuries” inflicted on Isabelle Mesnage, Moktaria Chaïb and Marie-Hélène Gonzalez, the two victims of Perpignan.

Confessions “suggested” according to the defense

Invoking “The spark of humanity” of Jacques Rançon, the defense had called on the jurors to “Stick to the facts” and denounced the media treatment of this file which “Oriented public opinion”.

“We would like to condemn Jacques Rançon on similarities, hypotheses. But we need certainties and not assumptions ”, launched Me Xavier Capelet, lawyer at the Perpignan bar.

According to him, his client has “Invented” confessions “Clearly suggested”. If he had committed this crime, “How can he show up for his date without a drop of blood on him?” “ at 5:00 p.m., a few minutes after the supposed time of the facts, he asked.

“There is something in him of the wild child, of the badly constructed child” But “Jacques Rançon does not lie. He is innocent ”, added Me Gérald Brivet-Galaup.

“The experts have said it: he is not a pervert, he does not take pleasure in the suffering of his victims”, he added, inviting the jurors to “Put aside the horrors of Perpignan” to rely on their “Intimate conviction”.

According to Me Corinne Herrmann, lawyer for civil parties, the sentence required by the prosecution is “Already very heavy for a first-time offender” since“It would be his first murder”. “I understand that the prosecution cannot apply for life imprisonment”, she reacted to the press, recalling that her clients are not in “A process of revenge” but of “Wish for justice”.

The investigation had stalled before ending in a dismissal in 1992. But it was relaunched in 2017 when this specialist in unsolved cases had requested on behalf of the family the reopening of the investigations and obtained success.

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