Husband who beat and strangled wife to death before burning body in woods jailed

A man has been convicted of murdering his wife – after initially trying to cover his tracks by reporting that she was missing.

Frenchman Jonathan Daval has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for the brutal murder of his wife, Alexia.

The 36-year-old finally confessed to beating and strangling his wife before burning her body in the woods in a case that has shocked France.

The charred remains of 29-year-old Alexia were discovered under branches in October 2017 near the town of Gray-la-Ville in eastern France.

Daval had tried to get away with murder by claiming his wife had gone jogging and would never come back.

He eventually confessed to his crime three months after the murder occurred, admitting to attacking his wife during a heated argument, slamming her face against a concrete wall and strangling her.

He went on to deny that he had set her body on fire, but later admitted that he had too.

The Guardian reports that the Frenchman showed no emotion when his verdict was read in court, but had muttered “Sorry” as he sat in the document looking at his wife’s parents.

Isabelle Fouillot, Alexia’s mother, told reporters after the conviction: “It is a very good decision, exactly what I hoped for, at the height of our suffering.

“Then we can turn a page.”

Asked by the judge in the trial on Monday whether he admitted to being “the only person involved in his wife’s death”, Daval replied, “Yes.”

The brutal murder shocked members of the public – with a march of 10,000 men taking place in Gray-la-Ville for a silent march in memory of Alexia at trial.

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French authorities announced last week that 125,840 women were victims of domestic violence in 2019.

While a further 146 were murdered by a partner or ex-partner over the course of the same year – an increase of 25 people since 2018.