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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Trintignant lover under investigation
Bernard Cantat
Cantat said he felt "responsible" for Trintignant's death
A leading French rock singer has been put under investigation by the French authorities, in connection with the death of his lover, actress Marie Trintignant.

Bertrand Cantat, who is in custody in Lithuania and is already under investigation by local prosecutors, was questioned for the first time on Thursday by a French judge, Nathalie Turquey.

He is suspected of accidentally killing Ms Trintignant.

The Associated Press news agency quoted a Lithuanian prosecutor as saying that Mr Cantat will probably stand trial in Vilnius in the middle of September.

Bertrand is not seeking to evade his responsibilities - his life no longer has any meaning
Lawyer Olivier Metzner
Romutis Jancevicius said that extradition was not being considered, despite the existence of the separate French inquiry.

The singer with the Noir Desir group was arrested after Ms Trintignant - who was filming in Lithuania - was admitted to hospital in a coma suffering head injuries on 27 July.

She was pronounced dead in Paris five days later.

Mr Cantat, who arrived for questioning at Vilnius prosecutor's office in handcuffs and with a jacket over his head, has admitted slapping his lover.

His lawyer, Olivier Metzner, said on Wednesday that the singer felt responsible for the death.

"Bertrand is not seeking to evade his responsibilities," he said.

"He never thought that it could end this way. I have the feeling that... his life no longer has any meaning."

Witnesses

Asked by journalists on Thursday if Mr Cantat was still saying that he only gave Ms Trintignant a slap, he replied: "He never said that. He never said he only slapped her."

Nathalie Turquey
Turquey has been in Vilnius since Monday
After the meeting, he said his client had given an account of his "extraordinary" year-long relationship with Ms Trintignant, and "why, that evening there, things had unfortunately degenerated".

Judge Turquey was present on Wednesday as the Lithuanian authorities questioned two witnesses.

A British man occupying a hotel room next door to the couple's said he heard them arguing on the evening of 26 July, shortly before the incident took place, but did not understand what was said.

And a Lithuanian assistant director on the set of the film, Andrius Leliuga, described the couple's behaviour prior to the argument.

Meanwhile toxicology tests have shown that Mr Cantat had no drugs in his system on the night in question.

Life support

Ms Trintignant had been in Lithuania making a television film with her director mother Nadine Trintignant when the incident happened.

Marie Trintignant
Trintignant died after five days in a coma
She had been staying in a hotel with Mr Cantat, who fronts the popular band Noir Desir, and her 17-year-old son Roman.

She was admitted to hospital where she remained for several days before being flown back to France, where she was kept alive on a life-support machine.

Doctors performed two operations on her brain but were never hopeful of her chances of survival.

Under the French legal system, placing Mr Cantat under formal investigation is a step short of pressing charges against him.


SEE ALSO:
Festival honours dead actress
13 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Hundreds mourn French actress
06 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Actress' boyfriend is 'suicidal'
05 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
French actress Trintignant dies
01 Aug 03  |  Europe



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