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  • Writer's pictureElsa Moreira

Bérenger Brouns, the butcher

Hi guys, I hope you're doing well. It took me some time, but I'm back with a new case !


I have a little question for you. When was the last time you went to the butcher ? How did you feel there, having a little chat with the guy behind the counter ? Good, right ? But did you know for sure that they only shed the blood of animals recently ?

Today, I'm going to tell you the story of Bérenger Brouns.


Bérenger


Bérenger Brouns
Bérenger Brouns

I would like to tell you the details about Bérenger Brouns' life, but we don't know much about him. We only know that he was an angry child whose parents were separated.

He grew up poor, but worked hard and managed to make his way into the middle class.

In 2005, at 43 years old, he owns several stores in Paris, including an Italian butcher shop in the Saint-Martin market.

He is also married with 2 children. His life should be near perfect, but it isn't. The angry child grew up to be an angry adult, and both his family and coworkers often end up on the wrong side of his fits. He even attacks clients sometimes, both verbally and physically.

However, he is also very affectionate. He showers his family with love...and takes good care of his mistress, Christelle.


Christelle


Christelle Leroy et Lucas (source : Faites Entrer l'Accusé)
Christelle Leroy and her son Lucas (Source : Faites Entrer l'Accusé)

We know more about Christelle Leroy. She grew up in Montreuil with 4 siblings, and also has a temper. Very soon in her life, she starts rebelling. She skips school a lot, and starts working at 16. When she becomes of age, she starts dating men. They are often older, and often married. One of these men is Yvan. Christelle ends up pregnant with his child, so he leaves his family to be with her. However, the honeymoon phase doesn't last long. Christelle wants to be a stay-at-home mom, but Yvan doesn't agree. Christelle's family gets involved, and she finally decides to terminate the pregnancy, ushering in the end of the couple.

A few years later, Christelle meets Gilles, a fishmonger who is 16 years older than her. Gilles leaves his wife and children for her, and this time the honeymoon phase lasts a little longer. Long enough for little Lucas to be born in october 2000. Sadly, longer doesn't mean forever. Christelle thinks that Gilles isn't affectionate or generous enough, and regularly leaves to go to nightclubs. The couple separates in 2004, and Christelle and Lucas move in with Christelle's mom. The young mother wants to get back on her feet and soon finds a job in an Italian butcher shop in the Saint-Martin market. That's where she meets Bérenger Brouns.


The romance

When Bérenger meets Christelle, it's love at first sight. They almost immediately become a couple, despite Bérenger's marital status. Actually, it's not even a problem, since Bérenger's wife knows about Christelle and accepts the relationship as long as Bérenger doesn't leave the family (I won't judge even though it's tempting).

Bérenger does almost everything for Christelle. He finds her an appartment, pays the rent for that appartment, buys her a scooter, jewelery, fur coats...He would buy her the moon if he could.

However, everything isn't sunshine and lollipops for the couple. They fight a lot, sometimes even at work, and 4-year-old Lucas has a lot of trouble accepting Bérenger.

During the first year of the relationship, Christelle becomes pregnant with Bérenger's child, but faced with the reality that he won't leave his family, she prefers to leave him and have an abortion. This separation is temporary though, and Bérenger manages to win Christelle back with letters in which he tells her that she is his oxygen, that she has left a mark on his heart, etc. She gives him a second chance, for better and for so much worse.



The tragedy

On Sunday, February 20th 2005, Bérenger accompanies Christelle to her appartment after work, around 2pm. The couple has another fight, but this one is different. It's more violent. Christelle ends up in her bathroom, where Bérenger joins her to continue fighting. Little Lucas sees everything and starts crying. That's when Bérenger hits him. Christelle slaps Bérenger, and everything spins out of control. Bérenger strangles Christelle to death, before killing Lucas and the family dog, Mabelle.

After that, he takes Christelle's phone and leaves to go see his wife like nothing happened.

The following night, he comes back and takes the bodies to the Saint-Martin market. Once in the back of his shop, he puts his apron on and starts working. He cuts up the bodies into several pieces, which he puts in different trash cans. He puts the heads in two buckets and covers them with cement, before throwing them into other trash cans.

Once he is done, he goes back to his life. Just like that.


The investigation

On February 22nd, Christelle's mom is waiting for her daughter to come with her grandson for a visit. But time passes, and no one shows up. Things become even more disturbing when Lucas' father calls, saying that Christelle didn't bring Lucas for a visit like they had planned. That's very strange, because Christelle never cancels plans without at least calling.

Christelle's family goes to the police, but the investigators don't take them seriously. Christelle is known as sometimes unpredictable and we are in the middle of a school break, so for the police she probably took Lucas on a trip.

On February 23rd, it's Bérenger who calls saying that he can't reach Christelle. He has a key to Christelle appartment, and offers to take Christelle's mom and sister there.

As soon as the two women see him, they think he is suspect. He looks nervous, and he has two scratch marks on his face. He tries explaining that some glass fell on him, but they don't believe him, especially because Christelle told them that he could be violent.

When the trio enters the appartment, everything is there. The coats, the bags, Christelle's cigarettes...there are even wet clothes in the washing machine.

Christelle's mom and sister manage to convince some investigators to come see the appartment, but they find nothing suspect enough to launch a true investigation.

That's when Christelle's mom decides to go to the media. Only the newspaper Le Nouveau Détective is interested in the story, and the journalist Nicolas Deliez comes to the appartment, where he finds blood on the front door. He tells the police about this discovery, and an official investigation finally begins.

When Bérenger is interrogated, he explains that he dropped off Christelle at her appartment around 2pm the day she disappeared. Yes, the couple had a little fight, but that's it. He seems truly worried, to the point where even Christelle's family starts believing him.


The school break ends, and Christelle and Lucas are still nowhere to be found. The investigators question everyone again, and Bérenger continues to pretend that he doesn't know anything. However, his house of cards is starting to crumble.

On April 4th, the investigators find out that Christelle's phone pinged off a tower near Bérenger's house around 10pm the day she disappeared.

Ten days later, they discover that Christelle's appartment has been emptied by Bérenger. The butcher explains that the landlord wants to rent out the appartment to someone else, and that Christelle and Lucas's things are in a hangar in the Saint-Martin market. The investigators go through the hangar, and find a paper stating that Christelle had made an appointment to the gynecologist. She was pregnant.

The investigators interrogate Bérenger again, but this time he is much more nervous.

On June 7th, him and his wife are placed in detention. During the first audition, he continues to feign ignorance, but changes his story a bit : yes, he dropped off Christelle, the couple fought and he left, but then he came back to get something and saw Christelle outside, alone. She asked for money, and he left again. The investigators don't believe a word of what he says.

They let out his wife due to lack of evidence, and face Bérenger with the phone records. That's when he confesses everything. He explains that he became enraged, that he wasn't himself. He explains everything methodically, including what he did with the bodies, which will sadly never be recovered.


The trial

Bérenger Brouns' trial begins on February 23rd, 2007. Bérenger is as cold as ever, explains everything without any emotion, and even talks about what he will do when he gets out of prison. Christelle's family, on the other hand, is broken. Christelle's mother passes out twice in the courtroom. Even one of Bérenger's daughters collapses. His wife, on the other hand, defends him and says that he wasn't himself. On Tuesday, February 27th 2007, Bérenger Brouns is sentenced to 30 years of prison, without any obligatory prison time, which means that he can get parole anytime.

Bérenger doesn't appeal this decision, and becomes a model prisoner, waiting to be released and move to a place where they know nothing about this case. His wife continues to support him, and regularly visits him.

Without any bodies to bury, Christelle and Lucas' family installed a plate on the family vault in the Montreuil cemetary.


That's how this case ends, sadly. I hope that Bérenger never gets parole and does his 30 years, that would be at least some justice.


Tell me what you think about this case in the comments or on r/Murder_Wine_Cheese. Watch some kitten videos to relax, and I'll see you with the next case !



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