Who killed Catherine Burgod, the postwoman of Montreal-la-Cluse? Who could blame this 41-year-old mother pregnant with her third child? A cautious woman with no history, whose body, with 28 stab wounds, was found on December 19, 2008 at her workplace. At the time of the opening of the court, the mystery remains intact.
“Unknown from the post office,” as the journalist Florence Obena calls him in her book on the case, has still not revealed his identity. According to the prosecution, the motive would have been villainous and the booty would have amounted to almost 3,000 euros. On Monday, only one suspect will appear before the jury Aina. This is Mamadou Diallo.
This is the latest twist in a case that has been in the news for over a decade. Another twist in a convoluted case in which the former hope of French cinema has long been the number one suspect.
Gerald Thomassen, “petty criminal” turned suspect number 1.
Days after the tragedy, investigators quickly become interested in Gerald Thomassen, a former drug addict. Beaten by life, who had his moment of glory in 1991 when he was awarded the César Award for Best Male Hope for his role in The Little Criminal. Since then, the man has become a rarity on the big screen. He drowns his misfortune in alcohol and leads a disorderly life.
Having settled in Montréal-la-Cluse since June 2007, he lives in an apartment called “La Grotte”, a semi-recessed studio whose main window overlooks the sidewalk located in front of the post office. Here he spends his days with his stoned buddies Tinten and Rambouille.
Investigators have no evidence against him, and his DNA does not match the DNA taken from the crime scene. But the man is intriguing. In the village, we see him crying at the postman’s grave. We hear him, completely drunk, tell or imitate how the victim was killed. He talks too much, messes around with strangers. He is known for his strange behavior, excessive anger, aggressiveness, violence towards his former partner. But physical evidence is lacking. Confession too, until June 24, 2013.
On this day, the actor, put on wiretap, calls his brother. Completely drunk and under the influence of drugs, he repeats “at least 30 times” that he killed the postwoman. Two days later, he is charged and then imprisoned.
In 2016, the cards are shuffled. Thomassin is released after the expiration of his pre-trial detention. The investigation, now entrusted to two investigating judges from Lyon, begins on new grounds. A second suspect, thought to be Thomassin’s accomplice, is charged before being exonerated. The gendarmes are trampling. But in 2017, a new twist.
The DNA of another man, 29, matches that found on the mailman’s duffel bag. He is completely unfamiliar with the justice services, although an ex-girlfriend filed a complaint against him for the theft of a credit card. Case closed without further action.
The man, named Mamadou Diallo, works as an ambulance driver and has nothing to do with the two previous suspects. He is described as “calm, helpful, non-violent and hard-working”. In the year of the murder, he was in an apprenticeship, but then again, his former bosses are formal. The toddler was “polite”, “punctual”, “cute” and “always smiling”. The profile does not match. But the DNA belongs to him. Placed in police custody, the suspect hesitates in his version of events and eventually confesses that he went to the post office on the day of the tragedy to buy a train ticket. It was there that he would have discovered the body of Katherine Burgot, touched it before stealing the day’s recipe and cleaning up.
“I was 18 years old, and at that age. I realize I shouldn’t have done this,” he admits to the police. At the time, I was in a panic, but I could never kill anyone, I just wanted to buy a ticket. »
The mysterious disappearance of Thomassin
Since then, the man has maintained his innocence. He admits he stole the money, but claims he was afraid of being wrongly accused of murder. On August 29, the investigating judge decides to arrange a confrontation between the three defendants, Gerald Thomasen, his alleged accomplice, and Mamadou Diallo, who is now the prime suspect.
But Gerald Thomassen, who is about to be rehabilitated, will not appear. However, he had made arrangements the day before to return to Lyon. Exiled to the Charente-Maritime, he had to take a train and correspondence to Nantes. The actor sat well in the first column, he was even fined for traveling without a ticket. But when he arrived in Nantes, he disappeared from the radar. No one has seen him since August 28, 2019. Two months later, a criminal case was initiated on the fact of “abduction of a person and forcible detention.” The investigation turned up nothing.
In June 2020, the Investigation Chamber of the Lyon Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal order issued against him. So he’s definitely exonerated on the case. The verdict is expected April 4th.