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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Earl's son welcomes jail terms
Nicholas Ashley-Cooper
The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury said his stepmother was an "evil person"

The son of the Earl of Shaftesbury has welcomed a French court's decision to jail his step-mother and her brother for murdering his father.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper's third wife, former nightclub hostess Jamila M'Barek, 45, had denied paying her brother Mohammed to murder her husband.

But the M'Bareks were each jailed for 25 years after being found guilty.

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 29, who is now the 12th Earl, said Ms M'Barek was "ultimately an evil person".

The M'Bareks had claimed the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, 66, who had homes in Hove and London, died during a drunken row.

His badly-decomposed body was found in a remote ravine in the Alps in 2005.

I believe that they got really what they deserved yesterday and I'm happy with the decision
Nicholas Ashley-Cooper

The earl's elder son Anthony died of a heart attack aged 27, soon after the discovery of his father's body - making his brother Nicholas the 12th Earl.

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, who sat in court throughout the four-day hearing with his mother Christina Cassell and aunt, Lady Frances Ashley-Cooper, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was pleased that the court had jailed the M'Bareks.

"I believe that they got really what they deserved yesterday and I'm happy with the decision."

The Earl of Shaftesbury and Jamila M'Barek
Anthony Ashley-Cooper and Jamila M'Barek were married in Holland

He said his father used alcohol to deal with a life-long depression brought about by a troubled childhood and the loss of his own father at an early age.

"I think he was extremely lonely and he put himself out there. For the last years of his life the women he was with, it was very clear that they were just using him and taking advantage of him. Jamila was exactly one of those people."

It was a "huge sadness" to him that his father had spurned the efforts of himself and his family to get him to face up to his problems, said Mr Ashley-Cooper.

Franck de Vita, Ms M'Barek's lawyer, he would launch an appeal.

"I am very said because I believed in Jamila and I was sure she was not guilty but maybe her attitude in the court is the catastrophe for her. It's not a good day for justice."

'Curse'

The prosecution said Ms M'Barek paid her brother 150,000 euros (105,000) to kill the earl, because he was in the process of divorcing her and denying her the chance to inherit valuable properties in France and Ireland.

The 66-year-old playboy aristocrat went missing from his hotel on the French Riviera on 5 November 2004. The body was found five months later.

Mr M'Barek, 43, admitted killing him, but said he strangled him "accidentally".

Ms M'Barek denied she had married the earl for money, saying she had always been prosperous and marrying him was a "curse".

On Friday, Mr Ashley-Cooper described Ms M'Barek as "manipulative and scheming, and ultimately an evil person".

He said he pitied them because they placed no value on human life.




SEE ALSO
Widow guilty of murdering earl
25 May 07 |  England
Earl 'turned to drugs and women'
24 May 07 |  England
Court hears of 'threats' to earl
23 May 07 |  England
Marriage to earl 'was a curse'
22 May 07 |  England
Earl's body 'is found in France'
06 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties

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