A father has been charged with murdering
his own three-year-old son in France by
locking him in a washing machine and
switching it on.
Christophe Champenois, 36, allegedly put
the boy, Bastien, into the drum and started
a spin cycle, which fatally wounded him,
before the machine was set to wash the
body for up to an hour.
As Bastien screamed and begged for his
parents to let him out, his father calmly
surfed the internet, while his mother did a
jigsaw puzzle with his five-year-old sister
just metres away.
When Champenois removed the lifeless body
from the washing machine, he allegedly told
Bastien’s mother: “At least he won’t bother
Champenois has been charged with
aggravated murder, while Charlene Cotte
has been accused of complicity in their
son’s death on 25 November 2011.
Their trial started on Tuesday at the Court
of Assizes in Melun, a south-eastern suburb
Champenois has claimed he suffers from
alcoholism and illness causing memory
problems, telling the court that he cannot
remember the day of his son’s death.
He allegedly called emergency services from
the family’s flat in Germigny-l’Eveque on
the evening claiming the child had fallen
down the stairs and then accidentally
drowned in the bath, the Dauphiné Libéré
But when a neighbour arrived, the little
boy’s older sister Marie told them: “Daddy
put Bastien in the washing machine because
he was naughty at school.”
She repeated the statement to the emergency
services, unravelling her parents’ alleged
Hours before, Cotte had informed
Champenois that their son had been told off
at school for flushing a fellow pupil’s
drawing down the toilet.
The mother told the court that she saw her
partner put their son in the machine but
denied aiding him, claiming she tried to
stop Champenois but was shoved backwards.
The 29-year-old said her partner regularly
beat Bastien, once locking the boy in a
cupboard with his hands taped up so he
could not escape, Liberation reported.
The case has raised concern about child
protection policies in France after the
revelation that the family had been known
to social services for several years.
On the evening before Bastien died, his
father left a message for his social worker,
saying: “I’m going to throw (Bastien) from
the second floor, even if I get 15 years in
But the worker was on sick leave and did
not hear the threat until the boy was
The trial continues.