The essentials The body of Magali Blandin, the mother missing in Brittany since February, was found. Her husband, whom she divorced, confessed to the murder. The husband and his parents were charged and detained.
“A difficult, particularly complex investigation”, “an exceptional case”, “a criminal conspiracy”. Rennes Prosecutor Philippe Astruc spoke to the press that Saturday evening to announce that the body of Magali Blandin, a 42-year-old specialist educator who disappeared on February 12, 2021, had been found and that his husband confessed to it had murder.
The body discovered in the forest
Magali Blandin’s body was discovered in a forest near Montauban-de-Bretagne in Ille-et-Vilaine. This body is “definitely” the corpse of the mother of the family, but “the identity is not in doubt,” said the prosecutor. An autopsy should confirm this.
Husband confesses to killing his wife
Magali Blandin’s husband, Jérôme Gaillard, confessed to “the premeditated murder of his wife”. On Thursday February 11th, Magali Blandin is taking her children to school. Her husband is waiting for her on the stairs of his building. He beats her violently with a baseball bat and then hits her a second time, according to the attorney. Then he carries the body into the apartment, where he leaves it all day. Jérôme Gaillard returns to the accommodation the following evening to clear the evidence. Then he goes into the forest of Boisgervilly to dig a hole, put the body there and cover it with quicklime.
The Rennes Prosecutor Philippe Astruc. AFP photo
Jérôme Gaillard told investigators that in the autumn of 2020 they paid EUR 20,000 to Georgian relations under a contract to remove his wife. Members of the Georgian community and Jérôme Gaillard’s parents, aged 75 and 72, were arrested.
An attempt at blackmail
After Magali Blandin’s disappearance, Jérôme Gaillard was the victim of an attempt at extortion by Georgians. They claimed to have an audio recording indicating that he wanted to kill his wife. The Georgians demanded 15,000 euros from him in return for his silence. Jérôme Gaillard, feeling threatened, went to the gendarmerie on March 4 with his lawyer. The arrested Georgians deny any attempt at extortion. In this section of the attempted extortion, two men and one woman were charged with “attempted extortion by an organized gang”.
The gendarmerie had mobilized more than seventy soldiers to find Magali Blandin as soon as his disappearance was reported. It was a colleague of Magali Blandin’s who had reported the disappearance, herself warned by the children’s school.
Jérôme Gaillard’s hangars were used as a car repair shop. MaxPPP photo
Jérôme Gaillard and his parents in prison
Jérôme Gaillard was arrested on Thursday 18 March and taken into custody in the research department of the Rennes Gendarmerie. He was charged with “spouse murder” on Saturday night, as well as “attempted spouse murder” for originally ordering the murder of his wife through Georgian connections. His parents, suspected of being part of this “criminal conspiracy”, were also charged with “attempted murder” and “complicity in the murder of the spouse”. All were taken into custody.
A couple in divorce
The couple had been separated since September 3, 2020. Magali Blandin had rented an apartment in Montfort-sur-Meu near Rennes. The couple shared custody of the children. Magali Blandin had filed a complaint against her husband for domestic violence, dismissed one suit.
Magali Blandin lived in this apartment collective in Monfort-sur-Meu near Rennes. MaxPPP photo
Jérôme Gaillard, 45, is unemployed. He rents sheds to supplement his income. According to the public prosecutor, who was convicted of concealment in particular, his legal past is “not significant”.
The couple’s children are placed
The couple’s four children, ages 4, 7, 12, and 15, were sent to emergency care. They were attended to by a medico-social team that Saturday to announce the death of their mother and the imminent imprisonment of their father.