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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Earl murder trial to open in Nice
By Caroline Wyatt
BBC News, Paris

The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury (file image)
The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury: a flamboyant multi-millionaire
The widow of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, is due to stand trial in Nice, alongside her brother, accused of murdering the earl.

Both deny the murder charge, saying the earl was killed by accident in the heat of an argument.

The flamboyant Anthony Ashley-Cooper was reported missing by his lawyer in November 2004.

The mysterious disappearance of the 66-year-old rich, playboy aristocrat gripped the Riviera.

Described by one friend as a philanthropist, Ashley-Cooper specialised in rescuing lap-dancers.

Retracted confession

He moved to France in 1999 and married for the third, and final, time in 2002.

His widow, Jamila M'barek, is a 45-year-old former nightclub hostess who is alleged to have murdered her husband because he was in the process of divorcing her for another, younger hostess.

According to the prosecution, Jamila was worried she might be cut out of her husband's will if he married again.

In April 2005, his body was discovered in undergrowth between Nice and Cannes, after his widow confessed to her involvement in his death, a confession she later retracted - claiming that her brother had killed the earl by accident during a drunken row.

Her defence lawyer is expected to claim that she had no motive for murder, as her past associations with rich and famous men meant she did not need her late husband's money.

How the body was found in a shallow grave

Mobile led police to earl's body
07 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl's body 'is found in France'
06 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl's relative to be extradited
14 Mar 05 |  Southern Counties
Profile: Earl of Shaftesbury
28 Feb 05 |  England

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