The man who ambushed and murdered a Walloon mayor in a local graveyard in an act of revenge over his father’s suicide has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The ruling closed the week-long trial of 20-year-old Nathan Duponcheel, who in 2017 murdered Alfred Gadenne, the well-loved mayor of the town of Mouscron, who had the habit of closing the gates to the town’s cemetery every night.
The court’s sentence was lighter than the 27-years originally requested by the prosecution, who found that Duponcheel’s actions had been “meticulously” premeditated.
“He set a trap for the victim, who had no chance of escaping,” Advocate General Ingrid Godart said, according to De Morgen. “[Duponcheel] meticulously prepared the facts for several months and hit out at a vulnerable person who stood with his back to him.”
On the night of the murder, Duponchee, who had just turned 18, ambushed the mayor at the local cemetery and slit his throat with a utility knife before calling the emergency services to the scene.
The investigation into the murder showed that Duponchee saw the Walloon mayor as responsible for the suicide of his father, who hanged himself when the accused was 15 years old after losing his job at the federal ministry of the interior, where he had worked for ten years.
“In my eyes, my father killed himself over his job,” Duponchee told the courtroom during his opening address at the start of the trial.
Gadenne’s widow, present at the hearings, said she hoped the sentence would make her husband’s killer reflect on his “despicable actions.”
“We accept the sentence and we hope [Duponcheel] will think about the horrible, despicable acts he committed,” she said, according to 7sur7.
The defendant’s sentence was reduced after the court recognised his age at the time of the events, as well as the trauma he experienced from his father’s suicide, as a mitigating circumstance, De Morgen reports.