“The jurors of the assize court will have to position the cursor of horror”

“The jurors of the court will have to position the cursor of horror. ” The tone is set. Dominique Versini, lawyer for the Dorier family, does not hide the feeling that animates him on the eve of the trial which opens this Tuesday before the Rhône Assize Court. “I think that this file has the specificity of positioning the savagery of France and the disintegration of society,” he continues. The folder ? That of the death of Axelle Dorier.

On July 19, 2020 at 3:38 a.m., the body of the young 22-year-old beautician was found lying in the gutter, a few steps from the ancient theater of Fourvière, in Lyon. After being dragged 807 meters, his stomach against the asphalt and his clothes caught in the metal elements positioned under the car that hit him.

Youcef Tebbal, the driver of the vehicle, and his passenger Mohamed Yelloule will be tried for four days for “violence with the use or threat of a weapon resulting in death without the intention of giving it” and “non-assistance to anyone in danger”. “Let them assume and tell the truth”, retorts Dominique Versini, not convinced by the explanations provided so far.

“He never wanted to kill Axelle”

The first ensures from the beginning that he was panicked. “He never wanted to kill Axelle”, pleads his counsel David Metaxas. That evening, he and his cousin had made an appointment on the heights of Fourvière to four young girls, met via the Snapchat application. While leaving, the latter accidentally crushed the dog of a friend of the Dorier family. “At that time, there was a group of about twenty individuals [Axelle, ses frères jumeaux et leurs amis] quite tipsy who took the girls to task very violently. They hit the car, they tried to extract the driver manu militari, ”says the lawyer, adding that Youcef Tebbal had tried to intervene. “And then it backfired. The group of assailants attacked him. »

Sensing the threat coming, the young man would have tried to leave the place, according to the version presented by his defense. A version disputed by the entourage of the victim, evoking a passage in force and verbal aggression.

Having gone the wrong way, the boy turns around and goes back to the Parc des Hauts. “There, individuals threw themselves on his vehicle, one hit his windshield, which cracked it. He completely panicked, ”unfolds David Metaxas. The following ? Axelle would have stood in front of her car to block it, would have put her foot on its bonnet. “When Youcef accelerated, he grabbed it but he didn’t realize it. He simply saw a group of individuals. He was scared and he tried to leave. »

“Those who say that it was simply two North Africans or two young people from the suburbs who attacked Axelle, a Frenchwoman who hadn’t asked anyone, that’s not true. She deliberately stood in front of the vehicle as a group of twenty people tried to lynch them. We have to put things in their context, ”insists Me Metaxas, deploring the political recovery of this tragedy.

Axelle’s blood found on the driver’s shirt

The jurors will have the difficult task of unraveling each thread of this nightmarish night. How did the driver not feel, when driving, the body of the victim hanging under his Golf? “Youcef’s car hit two sidewalks. He thought he broke his bumper or had engine trouble. Pursued by about twenty individuals, in a panic, he fled without realizing, ”replies his lawyer.

After reversing, during which Axelle’s body fell off, then rolling over it, the driver would have understood by glancing in the rear view mirror that it was a person. “He gave himself up two hours later to the police. When he realized what had happened, when he saw the blood on his bumper, he drove his car to the police station. Is this the reaction of a murderer or an assassin? “raises David Metaxas, recalling that his client has no convictions in his criminal record.

On the other hand, his driving license had been withdrawn from him on January 18 of the same year, we learn in the file that 20 minutes was able to consult before the hearing. And it wasn’t the first time. Is this the reason why he would have sought to quickly flee the scene? Or because he possessed cannabis, as some witnesses have pointed out? Another disturbing element: during his hearing in police custody on July 20, the person concerned “returned on his previous statements”, affirming that he “had felt something under the car” but that he had not stopped only once, not “noting anything below”. Except that the investigators highlighted the presence of Axelle’s blood on Youcef Tebbal’s shirt. “This demonstrates that, contrary to his statements, he must have necessarily approached his body under the car, no doubt to detach it”, observes the prosecution in the order for reference.

“Contradictory Statements”

The accident experts are also categorical: “It is impossible that the body detached from the vehicle when it starts forward again after its reversing maneuver. It is also impossible not to have seen the victim when he hit her. “Despite an impact on the windshield, the vision was perfect,” they point out. “Almost all of the witnesses indicated that the young woman, perfectly visible, yelled at him to stop, which he did. If he doesn’t see her, why stop there? All the witnesses agree that she falls and that Youcef Tebbal restarts with a bang, carrying the still living body of Axelle Dorier under his vehicle”, observes the prosecution again pointing to the “contradictory and fluctuating statements” of the two accused during their interrogations.

If the investigators do not dispute the fact that Youcef Tebbal and Mohamed Yelloule “found themselves surrounded by a group of people who struck the body”, they also put the violence of these blows into perspective. “The findings did not reveal the presence of significant damage,” they point out in their report, undermining the thesis put forward by the defense.

The verdict is expected Friday. The driver incurs twenty years of imprisonment and the second accused, five years.

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