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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 18:33 GMT
French tennis drug father jailed
Christophe Fauviau arrives at court in Mont-de-Marsan, France
Christophe Fauviau was devoted to his children's tennis careers
A French man who admitted drugging a number of his children's tennis rivals has been given an eight-year jail term.

Christophe Fauviau, 46, a retired army officer, was convicted of manslaughter after one of the players died in a car crash after being drugged.

Fauviau doped the drinks of at least 27 players during matches against his son and daughter between 2000 and 2003.

He said he had become obsessed by his children's tennis careers and asked the dead man's parents for forgiveness.

Tennis teacher Alexandre Lagardere, 25, had played Fauviau's son Maxime in July 2003 in a village game in which the prize was a leg of ham.

Selfish

Fauviau had put up to six tablets in Mr Lagardere's drink, making him so woozy that he crashed when he tried to drive home, the court heard.

On other occasions, his children's opponents - one as young as 11 - collapsed or felt ill during matches.

Police investigating Mr Lagardere's accident discovered an anti-anxiety drug called Temesta in the teacher's system and traced it back to Fauviau. They also heard evidence from the players.

Fauviau was charged with unintentionally causing death by administering toxic substances.

The prosecution at the trial in Mont-de-Marsan in south-western France, called him a selfish, manipulative liar for whom success for his children justified anything.

Fauviau said he realised that he had harmed people with his actions and that he was responsible for Mr Lagardere's death - a burden he would carry for the rest of his life.

Father's love

He said his intention was never to kill.

Mr Lagardere's parents told the court that their lives had stopped the day their son died and they still could not understand what possessed Fauviau to do what he did.

Tennis coach Pascal Lascerre, who trained the Fauviau children, told the BBC he was surprised by what had happened.

"Christophe Fauviau was very calm and also clever," he said. "It's a terrible story. I was really close to the family and I didn't know that he would be able to do that and it was really very strange for me."

Fauviau's children Maxime, 16, and Valentine, 13, were also apparently unaware of their father's actions.

Valentine, who is in France's top 10 for her age group, pleaded with the court to show mercy on her father, saying he did what he did out of love.

"My father never wanted to do anyone any harm. Alexandre's death really destroyed him," she told Le Parisien newspaper. "There are many parents who push their children and go a little mad because of tennis."




BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear more about Mr Fauviau's obsession to win



SEE ALSO:
Tennis father 'drugged rivals'
06 Aug 03 |  Europe


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