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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Actress struck by 'repeated blows'
Marie Trintignant
Marie Trintignant had been filming in Lithuania

An autopsy on French actress Marie Trintignant has showed she died from repeated blows to the head, a judicial official has said.

Ms Trintignant, 41, daughter of French film veteran Jean-Louis Trintignant, died on Friday after five days in a coma.

An official at the Paris prosecutor's office said: "She succumbed to a trauma from multiple blows to the face, which caused cranial trauma, and blows to various other areas, which confirms what doctors first concluded."

Her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, lead singer with rock band Noir Desir, is being detained by police in Lithuania on suspicion of beating her following a row.

He had been staying with the actress in a hotel in Vilnius where she was making a film.

Bertrand Cantat
Bertrand Cantat is being held for questioning

French investigators are expected in the Lithuanian capital next week to try to reconstruct a domestic drama that has shocked France.

But they will not have access to 39-year-old Mr Cantat, who is in the prison hospital due to his fragile psychological state.

He is now implicated in an inquiry opened by the French prosecutor into "voluntary violence that unintentionally caused death".

This is equivalent to him being formally investigated and means he can only be questioned by the French judge assigned.

The French justice ministry said it was optimistic that Mr Cantat could be extradited to France for a trial.

His Lithuanian lawyer, Virginijus Papirtis, said: "He has told me 10 times this was an unhappy accident."

French actress Trintignant dies
01 Aug 03  |  Europe
Coma actress arrives in France
31 Jul 03  |  Europe

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