“I forgave the person, not their act”… Anaïs met her father’s murderer

February 2012. Pregnant with her first child, Anaïs was only 22 years old when she learned of the death of her father, Philippe Gletty. The body of this 48-year-old business manager was found riddled with bullets on a country lane, not far from Saint-Étienne. A few days later, the police arrested Bettina Beau. The one who was the victim’s secretary and mistress quickly confesses. On May 24, 2014, she was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Loire Assize Court.

Nine years later, Anaïs was able to meet Bettina Beau who was released from detention in 2021. She felt the need to understand the reasons for this action and to forgive its perpetrator. “I have lost a lot of weight since I managed to understand that he is a human being like everyone else,” she explains to 20 minutes. In Forgive*, a book, which comes out this Thursday, written with journalist Nathalie Mazier – a specialist in criminal affairs – she recounts her “upsetting encounter” with the woman who killed her father.

Why, after the trial, did you want to meet the woman who killed your father?

The trial was very frustrating. I was hoping to get some answers from him, especially understanding “why?” “. But we left with as many questions as answers. I always wanted to get to the end of things, it’s in my personality. So after that I wanted to meet her. It didn’t happen easily because it’s not customary for a victim to meet an accused.

They still put a lot of obstacles in the way. I asked my lawyer if I could go see her at the prison center. But the prosecutor objected. It took several years to manage to meet her. My first request was in 2014 and I saw it in 2023.

Unable to see her, you write her letters…

Yes, I wrote at home in notebooks. And February 27, 2016 was the 4th anniversary of my father’s death. Rather than keeping everything to myself, I decided to write him a letter and confide in him the ordeals I had just gone through.

We communicated by mail between 2016 and 2021 six or seven times. There were periods when we wrote to each other a lot, and others less. In one of her responses, she explains to me more or less the reasons for her action. It took me two years to digest what she told me.

And then in 2019, she offers you this measure of restorative justice. How did you prepare for this meeting?

The process really got underway in 2020. But there was the health crisis and the meeting could not be organized in a prison environment. We had to wait for her to come out of detention, it was a bit complicated. Restorative justice is not something trivial. There are several steps to follow, it is something that is well supervised and very prepared. I had four interviews before I could see her. With a facilitator, we put everything back together: why we want to meet her, what we want to tell her, what we don’t want to tell her, what we don’t want to hear.

We try to determine if this meeting can be beneficial for both or if there is a risk that one will harm the other. This approach must be constructive for everyone. Luckily we were on the same wavelength and it was able to go to the end.

When you meet her, you tell her that you forgive her. Was this important to you?

Forgiving does not mean agreeing with what happened, it does not mean condoning it. You can’t forgive someone for killing their father, it’s not possible. I just forgave Bettina, the person who was in front of me, not what she did which is unforgivable. I did it for myself at first, to get rid of this anger and to be more peaceful. It was useful to her too, so much the better, I want to say.

What I especially expected from this meeting was to find the human being again. What she did was monstrous and I couldn’t get rid of this image. It was therefore essential to do so in order to move forward.

Do you think the experience was also beneficial for her?

In her own words, it gave her back a part of humanity because ultimately, she too saw herself as a monster for a long time. It helped him to see the future more calmly.

Since you met her, do you feel like you’re getting better?

I have lost a lot of weight since I managed to understand that he is a human being like everyone else. She did something one day in her life, but it’s not just that. For me, it helped me move forward, put things into perspective. I don’t have any more answers to my questions than before, because she doesn’t have them herself. But in any case, it helped me turn the page.

Do you plan to see her again one day?

During our meeting, we said to each other that we would try to meet again outside the framework of restorative justice. Currently this is something that is not possible because she is prohibited from contacting the civil parties of which I am one. His sentence is coming to an end soon. We may meet again but that is not planned at the moment. In any case, it’s reassuring for me to know that she agrees to do it. If one day, I or my children have other questions to ask him, we can do so because the door remains open.

* “Forgiving: My heartbreaking encounter with the woman who killed my father”, by Anaïs Gletty and Nathalie Mazier, Mareuil editions, 207 pages, 20 euros

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