Rapist ‘swallows poison pill’ in court after being found guilty of sex attack

A man who kidnapped and raped a woman before she was killed 17 years ago tried to poison himself in court moments after being convicted.

Willy Bardon, 45, was on trial over the 2002 death of Elodie Kulik, 24, when he swallowed a pill containing pesticide, immediately after the verdict.

The Frenchman had just been sentenced to 30 years for rape and for kidnapping and holding a person against their will followed by death, but was acquitted of murder.

After taking the pill the man was rushed from the defendant's box in the Court of Assizes of the Somme, to hospital.

He was admitted to intensive care shortly after, it is reported.

He had allegedly told his family he planned to kill himself, if found guilty of the crime related to the 2002 attack.

The defendant remained adamant of his innocence throughout the trial, even protesting to the Kulik family that he had not been at the scene.

Elodie's father, Jacky, broke down in tears following the verdict, hugging his son Fabien, then his lawyers.

"Justice is made for Elodie," he said.

The courtroom witnessed Willy's dramatic move on the final day of a high-profile trial into the 2002 killing of Elodie Kulik – one of France' biggest cold cases.

DNA evidence and witness testimony had led police to Bardon before his conviction.

According to Amiens prosecutor Alexandre de Bosschere, analysis showed Bardon had swallowed a pesticide just seconds after the verdict was announced.

Mr de Bosschere said: “The condition of Willy Bardon was stabilised by the doctors during the night.

“We do not know how he managed to hide that.”

Elodie, 24, was abducted, raped and killed after her car was ambushed, during her drive home from a restaurant.

The bank manager attempted to call emergency services as she was dragged from her vehicle.

The audio recording from this phone call was used in the court case, eventually leading to Willy being charged.

Witnesses told the court that one of the male voices heard on the police call was identifiable as Bardon.

Elodie's partially charred body was found by a farmer on a disused airfield at Tertry on January 12, 2002.

The BBC reported traces of semen were found in a condom at the scene, along with four incomplete DNA sets and a fingerprint.

However, it wasn't until a decade later that these could be used as evidence.

In 2011, a new technique known as familial DNA searching was applied, leading police to conclude Grégory Wiart – who died in a car accident in 2003 – was one of the killers.

Willy was implicated shortly after this discovery. He originally came from the same village as Grégory, and several of the latter's relatives recognised his voice in the recording of Elodie's phone call to emergency services.

The accused continuously denied the voice was his and defense lawyers said there was none of his DNA at the crime scene.

An investigation has begun as to how Willy obtained the pill.

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