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  • Writer's pictureElsa Moreira

Guillaume Mingaud, a predator on the Internet

Updated: Jan 12

Hi guys, I hope that you’re doing okay and that you’re enjoying the spring !

Today, I’m going to tell you the story of a girl from Southern France who got tricked by a recidivist pervert.

Without any further ado, here’s the case of Guillaume Mingaud, also known as the Élodie Morel case !


Élodie Morel (source : Institut pour la Justice, Twitter)
Élodie Morel (source : Institut pour la Justice, Twitter)

It’s 2005. Élodie is a 29-year-old mother. She lives in Marseille with her husband Sylvain and her 4-year-old son. Life isn’t easy for her, she lives paycheck to paycheck, but dreams of a better life. She wants to be a model, and is even registered on a casting website.

In late April 2005, luck appears to be turning for her. She gets an exciting proposition for a photoshoot. Little did she know, that little proposition would change her life for the worst.

The ad

Everything looks ideal. A woman named Nicole Forestier is proposing €5000 for 5 days of photoshoots…for Rolls Royce of any brand ! Élodie is elated to be chosen. The contract is signed and a meeting is planned.

And that’s how, on May 2nd, 2005, Élodie leaves her house to go meet Nicole at L’Escale, a bar in the city of Aigues-Mortes. She kisses her husband and her son, not knowing that she will never see them again.

The meeting

When she sits at L’Escale, Élodie isn’t joined by Nicole, but by a man telling her that he is Nicole’s assistant. Apparently, Nicole has some urgent issues to attend to, but they can still go and spot the locations of the photoshoots. Élodie trusts him and gets in the car. She doesn’t know that the police is already looking for her and the "assistant".

The informant

On May 2nd, as Élodie was on the road to Aigues-Mortes, a man was calling the police. This man is Dominique Tarasco, an underground nightclub owner who regularly plays informant for the police. That day, he called with the biggest tip of his “career”: a friend told him that he intends to kidnap a woman for a human trafficking network.

Dominique gave all the information that he had, except for the name of his friend, so the police knew that the man was supposed to meet his victim at L’Escale in Aigues-Mortes, and that he was driving a green Seat Ibiza. They immediately went to the bar, but without any indication on who the man or his prey was, they could only look for the car, which they didn’t find. They called Dominique, and what he told them had dire consequences on the case : he had made a mistake. His friend wasn’t driving a green Seat Ibiza, but a grey Citroën ZX. Sadly, when the policemen got this information, Élodie and the “assistant” had already left.

Later in the evening, after eating dinner and heavily drinking, Dominique found himself at a police roadblock. He asked the officers if they had caught the ZX, but these policemen had no idea what he was talking about. At this exact moment, the ZX drove by with a woman in the passenger seat. Dominique tried to alert the officers, but with his alcohol level and the fact that they were uninformed about the situation, the police officers didn’t listen to him, and Dominique could only watch as the car drove out of sight, with Élodie inside.

The search

On May 3rd, Élodie’s mother and Sylvain can’t reach Elodie. Worried, they call the local hospitals to see if something happened to her. Nothing. The next day, Sylvain goes to the police station to report Élodie missing. The investigators don’t take him seriously, and think that she ran away with a lover. They still launch an administrative investigation, and send a report to all the police stations in the country. That includes the one in Aigues-Mortes, where the investigators immediately make the connection with Dominique Tarasco’s declarations. Dominique is brought in and interrogated. This time, he is told that if he doesn’t say who his friend is, he will be considered as an accomplice. Dominique faced with the prospect of possibly being jailed, finally gives a name: Guillaume Mingaud.


Guillaume Mingaud (source: Canal Crime, Youtube)
Guillaume Mingaud (source: Canal Crime, Youtube)

Guillaume Mingaud isn’t a nice guy. He is actually quite the opposite. Born in the 70s, he was convicted at 20 of raping two German tourists who were hitchhiking. After getting out of prison, he got sent back in several times for fraud, theft, and illegal possession of firearms, among other things. Between two stays in prison, he worked as a bouncer for Dominique Tarasco’s nightclub.

He is described as nothing short of terrifying, even by his friends.

Once the investigators know that he is the one behind Élodie's disappearance, they heighten their efforts to find them, not knowing that it is already too late.

Élodie's ordeal

Dominique Tarasco, after finally giving Guillaume’s name, agrees to set up a trap to catch him. He calls him and tells him that he has a job for him, and that they need to meet at the Mexicana, an abandoned nightclub in the town of Vauvert. Guillaume accepts, and tells Dominique that he will be there with a friend.

Police officers are immediately sent to the Mexicana and wait for the two men, who arrive at the end of the afternoon. During their arrest, Guillaume tries to run but is tackled. That’s when Élodie’s credit card is found in his pocket.

The man he came with is Richard Lignier, a local alcoholic with no history of criminality.

The two men are brought to the Vauvert police station, and their interrogation begin.

Richard states that he doesn’t know anything about Élodie Morel, and Guillaume says that he only stole her credit card after seeing it on a table at L’Escale. However, he quickly changes his story.

He admits to setting Élodie up with the casting ad, but only to steal her credit card, which he intended on giving back. Of course.

He explains that he pretended to be an assistant photographer and got Élodie to follow him to a deserted spot in the countryside, before asking for her credit card. She gave it to him, but didn’t give him the pin number, which angered him. He hit her until she gave the code to him, and locked her in the trunk of the car. He then went to a gas station to see if she had given him the right code. Once he saw that she had told him the truth, he drove to Richard and Francine Lignier’s house in Vergèze.

Richard et Francine Lignier (source: Canal Crime, Youtube)
Richard and Francine Lignier (source: Canal Crime, Youtube)

He explained to his two good friends that he had a contract with a human trafficking network and that he had to deliver a woman to a whorehouse. The woman was in the trunk of his car, and he needed their garage to keep her for a while. If they accepted, he would share the money he earned with them. The Lignier needed the money, since they didn’t have a stable job, so they accepted.

Guillaume spent the whole day of May 3rd with Élodie, who he had tied up with ties given by the Ligniers. He chatted with her, notably about children. He had three, and his smallest one was 4 years old, just like Élodie’s son. She told him about her son, and also about her life: her dream of becoming a model, the fact that she left her family home at 14 after her dad died, her financial struggles…

Apparently moved, Guillaume gave her a water bottle. It is the only time he fed her in any way, shape or form. After that, he went back inside the house to have dinner with Richard, Francine and their 13-year-old daughter. While eating, he told them that he had to get rid of Élodie, generating no significant reaction from the Ligniers.

After finishing his dinner, he drove Élodie to a secluded spot and told her that he would let her drive to a spot where he could safely free her. According to Guillaume, she tried to run at that moment, which enraged him, so he strangled her with a piece of rope that he had found on the floor.

After hearing this version of events, the investigators get a search warrant and go to the Ligniers’ house. Francine and the daughter are there, and casually eat dinner while the house is being searched.

The investigators quickly find Élodie’s belongings, including her cellphone, which Richard and Francine had gifted to their daughter. They also find a Colt gun, with blood on the butt of it. In the garage, they find the water bottle, the ties, cigarette butts and a strap.

This new evidence is analyzed: the blood on the Colt is Élodie’s, which proves that she was hit during her captivity. Her saliva is recovered on the water bottle and the cigarette butts. It contains several prescription medications, which proves that she was drugged, and Guillaume’s semen, which proves sexual assault. Finally, Élodie’s DNA is found on the strap, which suggests that she was strangled in the garage, and that Guillaume never intended to release her.

After 23 hours of detention, and after trying to make the investigators believe that Richard had killed Élodie, Guillaume finally admitted having committed the murder in the garage, and indicated where Élodie’s body was. However, he didn’t admit to any sexual assault.

Élodie was found on May 6th, 2005, in the trunk of a car parked near the Aigues-Mortes cemetary.

The trial

The first trial began in February 2008.

On the first day, Guillaume surprised everyone by telling the judge that Richard had committed the murder. Richard, shocked, had to be evacuated on a stretcher.

Throughout the trial, Guillaume explains that he was really charmed by Élodie, and talks about her like she was an old friend. He even says that he could have loved her for the rest of his life.

This doesn’t move anyone, and he is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 22 years. The Ligniers are sentenced to 6 years.

Guillaume appeals this decision, and the second trial begins on May 3rd, 2010. This time, he admits killing Élodie, but asks for a better distribution of the responsability between him and the Ligniers. His wish is granted: his sentence is lowered to 30 years, and the Ligniers’ is upped to 8 years. They are now free.

If Guillaume Mingaud doesn’t get parole in the coming years, his sentence will end in 2038. He will then be in his 60s.

And that’s how this case ends. Tell me what you think about this case in the comments or on r/Murder_Wine_Cheese. If you can, please make a donation so I can offer you better content.

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