Janowski denied release

A court has rejected a request for release by Wojciech Janowski, sentenced to life for murdering Hélène Pastor and her driver in 2014. The 70-year-old had argued that he needed time outside of prison to prepare his 2020 appeal.

Wojciech Janowski

Wojciech Janowski claimed his innocence via videoconference last week from the Baumettes prison, where he has served five years of his life sentence. During his address to the court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence, the Polish businessman claimed his innocence in the murder of his mother-in-law and her driver. Both were fatally injured on 6th May 2014 in front of a hospital in Nice.

But the Advocate General had requested he remain in prison, arguing that the convicted murderer “continues his activity of scrambling his tracks.”

Just after the tragedy, Janowski confessed to police that he had ordered the double murder, but later retracted that confession. Since then, he has consistently denied the charges against him – including during his five-week trial at the Assizes in Aix.

Prosecutors argued that Janowski was facing serious financial difficulties at the time of the murder and had wanted to appropriate the inheritance that Hélène Pastor had assigned to her two children. She had an estimated fortune of 12 billion euros.

His lawyers at the time, Éric Dupond-Moretti and Luc Febbraro, had conceded before the court that their client was guilty of having ordered the assassination of Hélène Pastor, but not that of his driver Mohamed Darwich.

Al Hair Hamadi, who served as watchman during the ambush, also had his application for release denied last week.

The two men will be judged on appeal in March by the Assize Court of Bouches-du-Rhone.