French policemen sentenced to seven years for rape of tourist

Two officers raped a Canadian tourist at the Paris police headquarters after a night of drinking.

    The court said it was 'convinced by the victim's steadfast statements' [File: Martin Bureau/AFP]
    The court said it was 'convinced by the victim's steadfast statements' [File: Martin Bureau/AFP]

    Two French police officers have been found guilty of raping a Canadian woman at the Paris police headquarters.

    Antoine Quirin, 40, and Nicolas Redouane, 49, were sentenced to seven years in jail on Thursday.

    Emily Spanton, 39, waived her right to anonymity in the case. She told the court she met the men at a bar on the night of April 22, 2014.

    She then agreed to visit the fabled police headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfevres, which features in Georges Simenon's Maigret detective novels.

    Spanton told the court that she had been excited to see the "36" and thought "there would be plenty of lights and people". There, Quirin and Redouane, both members of the elite BRI anti-gang unit, raped Spanton.

    The Canadian said she was raped by up to three men, but while DNA for a third man was found, he was never identified.

    "I just gave up; just wanted it to be over," Spanton said in her testimony. 

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    She told police officers she was raped as she left the police building, but said she was treated like a drunk and was urged to "go home".

    'Easy prey'

    Prosecutor Philippe Courroye, who called Spanton "easy prey" because she was drunk, had asked for seven-year prison terms for the officers, who kept their jobs with the police while awaiting trial.

    Courroye said the officers "were not policemen, but usurpers unworthy of their badges, acting in the same way as those they pursue".

    The court said it was "convinced by the victim's steadfast statements" that she was raped and "by scientific and technical" evidence.

    This evidence included the DNA of Quirin, who had initially said he did not have contact with the victim.

    Both men denied the rape and said Spanton consented to the sex. The men had also destroyed evidence, including text messages, videos and photographs, the investigators found.

    The officers, who faced up to 20 years' imprisonment for gang rape, denied the charge in their final statements. 

    "I realise that as a police officer I should never have brought Emily Spanton to the BRI offices," Redouane said, taking the stand just a few metres away from his accuser.

    "All my life I've had good relationships with women. I never, never, never assaulted, attacked or raped Emily Spanton."

    Quirin said it had been a "five-year nightmare" for him and his family. "Maybe I was unfaithful, but I have never raped a woman. I never raped this woman."

    Witnesses, however, described Spanton as looking happy when she entered the police headquarters, but distraught when she left and immediately accused the policemen of rape.

    Following Spanton's claims, police officers failed to close off the alleged crime scene and the two officers were allowed to return home without submitting to a breathalyser test, highlighting flaws in the investigation.

    The head of internal police investigations admitted mistakes had been made in the investigation. "Basic investigations weren't done," he told courts.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies