The victim’s family recounts “the ordeal” of life without him

At the end of the day this Monday, after the cold and objective findings of experts in forensic medicine and toxicology, the floor is given to the family of the victim, Philippe Monguillot, the bus driver who was fatally attacked by two young men on July 5 2020 in Bayonne. On the stand, his “four girls”, as he liked to call them, oscillated between happy memories and still-deep pain. The bus driver was severely beaten after an altercation against a backdrop of refusal to wear a mask, he fell heavily after a final punch and succumbed to his injuries five days later.

Wyssem Manai and Maxime Guyennon have been on trial before the Assize Court of Pyrénées-Atlantiques since Friday and until Thursday for willful violence leading to death without intention of causing it.

“My strength is my three princesses”

Véronique, the victim’s wife, is the first to take the stand. In a floral dress, the fifty-year-old speaks in a trembling voice of meeting the man who would become her husband and their “simple and happy” family life with their three daughters. We feel in her voice the pleasure of summoning the memories of this loved one: “He was beautiful, he was mine,” she says. They were going to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary on October 26, 2020. A date so important to her that she has had it tattooed since the tragedy on her wrist, above two hands hugging each other. The day before the attack, they had celebrated together, at a restaurant, the end of an eight-year procedure linked to defects in the subdivision where their house is located. “In a year, I will be retired and we will buy a camper van to go on a trip,” he told her at the time, says Véronique Monguillot, who was delighted with this prospect.

“Since he is no longer here, it has been a daily ordeal. I’m looking for him, the widow says tensely. I don’t do anything with my life anymore, it’s survival. » She says she forgets to put out her cigarette before putting it in the trash or leaves her wallet at home and realizes it at the store, she can no longer concentrate. So much so that the doctor declared her unfit to work after this trauma. She was followed by a psychologist for two and a half years and still contacts her for remote sessions, if necessary. Otherwise, she confides going to “scream and cry in the forest”, the one where they were going to walk together. “My strength is my three daughters, my three princesses,” she remembers.

Each of them wanted to place a sheet of notes in front of their eyes at the bar. The oldest, Mélanie, 27, is a beautician and paints the portrait of an “always fair” dad who passed on values. She refuses psychological support, thinking that it is better to get through it alone. To cope, she goes “for hikes when things aren’t going well”.

“The suffering of my mother and my sisters terrifies me”

Manon, a 24-year-old student, welcomes the “unconditional support” of her parents for her and her sisters’ choices. She describes a very difficult mourning, described as “pathological” by a professional. “I had a lot of nightmares, I had dark thoughts,” she told the Court. I always saw the images of Dad in the coffin.” She also talks about the difficulty of continuing to have a social life. “I withdraw myself too much, I have lost a lot of friends,” believes the young girl. Each of us suffers and we say bad things to each other… The suffering of my mother and my sisters terrifies me. »

Marie, 21, is the sportswoman of the family. She proudly announces that she is going to sign a permanent contract in a sports company. “He watched what we were doing in class, while trusting us,” she remembers. As long as we were doing something we loved, he supported us. » He gave her a surfboard on which she is proud to now stand. On the day of the tragedy, she met her father at a bus station around 6:30 p.m. shortly before the attack which took place around 7 p.m. “I’m making my last trip and I’m coming back,” he told her.

During the confessions of this family, which insisted on showing Philippe Monguillot alive for a few moments in the eyes of the Court, the two accused kept their heads lowered.

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