French murder suspect emerges from coma after swallowing poison

AMIENS, France (AFP) – The suspect for the rape and murder of a young woman in northern France almost two decades ago was slowly emerging from a coma while under guard in hospital last Saturday after he swallowed pesticide in an apparent suicide bid following his conviction.

Willy Bardon, on trial over the murder of Elodie Kulik in 2002 in a case that has attracted strong interest in France for years, ingested the substance at the courthouse in the northern city of Amiens late on Friday.

He is “progressively emerging from a coma” but is still in critical condition, prosecutor Alexandre de Bosschere told AFP.

“The product ingested… is a pesticide called Temik. It’s an extremely dangerous product… which affects the nervous and cardio-vascular systems,” he said.

Bardon, 45, is under round-the-clock police surveillance in hospital.

He had been sentenced to 30 years in jail for kidnapping and holding a person against their will followed by death but was however acquitted of murder.

The prosecutor said Bardon had swallowed a pesticide in the seconds after the verdict was announced at court in Amiens at the climax of a 13-day trial.

“We do not know how he managed to hide that,” said de Bosschere, adding that the defendant would have been searched before entering the court.

Bank employee Elodie Kulik, 24, was kidnapped, raped, strangled and her corpse then burnt in January 2002 in Tertry, 20 kilometres from Saint-Quentin in the Aisne region.